Target – the sixth biggest retailer in the US – has faced criticism and calls for a boycott after announcing that trans customers and staff were welcome to use the restroom of their choice.
Target posted a notice about the policy in mid-April. It said that the policy was not new but that it was publicizing the fact following the passage of anti-LGBT legislation in states such as North Carolina.
The American Family Association has since launched a petition urging people to boycott the store. It says it has had over 1.2million signatures.
Target have stood firm, with a spokesperson telling Gay Star Business: ‘We certainly respect that there are a wide variety of perspectives and opinions. As a company that firmly stands behind what it means to offer our team an inclusive place to work – and our guests an inclusive place to shop – we continue to believe that this is the right thing for Target.’
However, in the same way that Target’s policy is not actually new, the retailer is far from being the only major corporation in the US that has a trans-friendly restroom policy.
Below are other well-known names that believe in providing a welcoming and inclusive environment to all their customers and staff.
Toys’R’Us clarified earlier this week to NJ.com that its restroom policy was similar to Target’s: ‘Per federal guidelines on this specific issue, Toys’R’Us allows customers and employees to use whichever restroom is consistent with their gender identity.’
The pharmacy emailed the following statement to NJ.com: ‘CVS Health has long supported efforts to improve the lives of LGBT Americans by advocating for equal rights and embracing the rich diversity of our colleagues, customers and suppliers. It is part of our culture to make every individual feel equally valued, respected and appreciated.’
Starbucks scored 100 on the HRC’s most recent Corporate Equality Index. Many of its restrooms are gender neutral, and it recently told USA Today that it was ‘looking into additional opportunities to have more gender-neutral signage in our restrooms where jurisdictions allow it.’
Saks Fifth Avenue
A spokesperson for Hudson Bay & Co. (HBC) – parent company to Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor, recently told USA Today: ‘HBC respects and affirms each person’s right to self-identify and access facilities that reflect their gender identity.’
Barnes & Noble
The bookseller told USA Today, ‘As a company, Barnes & Noble treats all employees and customers with dignity and respect. For our transgender employees and customers, that means that they are allowed to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with.’
Supermarket chain Kroger scored 95 on HRC’s most recent Corporate Equality Index. It’s the second biggest retailer in the US, according to 2015 figures from the National Retail Federation. It has not responded to our request on its restroom policy, but it recently announced that it would cover medical costs for trans staff who wish to undergo transition treatment, and some branches have introduced unisex toilets to avoid people having to choose singe sex facilities.
Walgreens scored the top mark of 100 on the most recent Corporate Equality Index from the Human Rights Campaign. One of the Indexes scoring criteria is that organizations provide ‘Gender transition guidelines with supportive restroom/facilities, dress code and documentation guidance’.
In a statement to NJ.com it said: ‘As an employer, Walgreens has been recognized for its inclusive practices. In line with that, we support transgender customers and employees using a bathroom that is consistent with the gender with which they identify.’
Responding to a request for comment, IKEA said that it had no formal policy and left it to customer discretion. A spokesperson said in an email to Gay Star Business: ‘Reflecting the company’s strong commitment to diversity, equality and individuality, IKEA has a proven record of standing for LGBT inclusion and against LGBT discrimination. At IKEA, we work actively to create an inclusive environment for all of our customers and coworkers.
‘We do not have unisex or gender neutral restrooms in our U.S. stores at this time nor do we have a formal policy or approach regarding restroom use. Our stores both have multiple gender-specific and single-use-family restrooms for customers to use at their discretion.’
A rising trend across employers
Deena Fidas, head of HRC Foundation’s Workplace Equality Program commented, ‘Affirmative guidance for restroom and facility use aligning with gender identity is a rising trend across employers. This year’s HRC Corporate Equality Index reported more than 300 major businesses with affirming gender transition guidelines for their workers.’
At the time of going to press, the US’s other biggest retailers – namely Walmart (1), Costco (3), Home Depot (4) and Lowe’s (8), had not responded to our request for comment on their specific restroom policies.