Target to Install Single-Stall Restrooms Amidst Pressures From Hate Groups
“SOME OF OUR GUESTS CLEARLY ARE UNCOMFORTABLE WITH OUR POLICY, AND SOME ARE REALLY SUPPORTIVE.”
The company will be investing $20 million to install the restrooms in their locations by the end of the first quarter 2017. “Some of our guests clearly are uncomfortable with our policy, and some are really supportive,” said Target CFO Cathy Smith regarding their transgender bathroom policy in a conference call with reporters. Smith would not directly admit the move was due to the pressures from anti-transgender groups, saying they have been planning it since May 2016.
Taking much of the credit for the pressures is The American Family Association, a non-profit hate group with 2 million followers who are boycotting the retailer. They produced a petition expressing outrage over Targets restroom policy that was signed by 1.4 million people. AFA President Tim Wildmon released a statement on the groups website stating “(the) AFA has met with Target on two occasions, once at their corporate headquarters and once at their annual shareholder meeting. We still believe Target doesn’t value the safety of families because they’ve refused to reverse this dangerous policy. Consequently, since Target refuses to address our concerns, the boycott will continue.”
Sales at Target for the second quarter in 2016 are down 11.6% compared to the same period in 2015. In an interview with the Washington Post, Smith said, “It’s difficult to tease out one thing that’s driving results.” She added that based on the evidence the team has today, the impact of the bathroom issue has “really not been material.” Target says that most of their stores already have single-stall restrooms that are considered gender neutral.
The LGBT community originally applauded target’s April announcement in support of transgender rights in their restrooms. Many now see the move as pandering to the aforementioned hate organizations though the neutral bathrooms provide safe accommodations for genderqueer, bigender and gender non-conforming individuals. The retailer claims their transgender policy is still in effect, however they seek to accommodate all of their customers.