Retail giant Target Corp. has announced that it will continue to allow transgender customers and employees to use the bathrooms and fitting rooms of their preference in light of the recent debate around gender-segregated public facility laws.
"Inclusivity is a core belief at Target. It's something we celebrate. We stand for equality and equity, and strive to make our guests and team members feel accepted, respected and welcomed in our stores and workplaces every day," Target wrote in a statement released on its corporate website Tuesday.
"We believe that everyone - every team member, every guest, and every community - deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally...Consistent with this belief, Target supports the federal Equality Act, which provides protections to LGBT individuals, and opposes action that enables discrimination."
The federal Equality Act was presented to Congress in July 2015, and seeks to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 "to include sex, sexual orientation and gender identity among the prohibited categories of discrimination or segregation in places of public accommodation." Target has praised the bill, calling it an "important milestone" for the LGBT community.
Last month, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory controversially announced the state decided to pass HB2, or the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, making it illegal for cities to expand upon state laws in order to allow transgender people to use public restrooms based on anything other than their biological sex.
"This political correctness has gone amok," he said. "If you have the anatomy of a man, we firmly believe you shouldn't use the women's restroom, showers or locker facility."
Speaking to the Star Tribune, Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder said that the company "Statement of Inclusivity" is simply a restatement of its values in light of questions it has received from customers and employees regarding HB2 and its implications.
"It's a restatement of a policy," she said. "It's just us being very overt in stating it."
"In our stores, we demonstrate our commitment to an inclusive experience in many ways," the company added Tuesday. "Most relevant for the conversations currently underway, we welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity."
This is not the first time Target has publicly stood for the LGBT community: In June, the company introduced its "Pride Manifesto," stating its commitment to promoting inclusivity and "taking pride in who we were all born to be."
Last year, the company announced it had decided to back away from gender-specific signage and go "gender neutral" in its stores by eliminating the colors blue and pink in displays and signage and getting rid of the words "boys" and "girls" on clothing and toys wherever possible.
At the time, evangelist Franklin Graham criticized the move and accused Target of "forgetting who has made their stores strong."
"It's not gender-neutral people out there-it's working American families, fathers and mothers with boys and girls they love," he wrote.
"What's next? Are they going to try to make people believe that pink or blue baby showers are politically incorrect? I have news for them and for everyone else-God created two different genders. Jesus said, 'Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female' (Matthew 19:4). You can't get any clearer than that."