Target Corp. will stick with its policy of allowing transgender customers to choose the bathroom they wish to use, chief executive Brian Cornell said this morning. He added the company is adding more family restrooms in its stores, an option for people who worry about the mixing of sexes in bathrooms.
Cornell made the remarks during an appearance on CNBC’s Squawk Box program. He noted that more than 1,400 of the company’s 1,800 stores already have family restrooms. In the next few months, Target will be put them in the rest of its stores.
“We want to make sure we provide a welcoming environment for all of our guests,” Cornell said. “One that is safe, one that is comfortable.”
On April 19, the Minneapolis-based retailer announced that transgender customers could use the bathroom and fitting room that aligns with their gender identity. With the statement, it became the first major retailer to take a public stance.
The move came after North Carolina passed a law restricting public bathroom use to one’s biological sex, which prompted businesses outside the state to pull back on work in North Carolina. It also led to questions about policies at businesses that attract masses of people.
Target’s move has been blasted by some activists, including the American Family Association, and some Republican politicians. Those critics say the policy allows men to enter women’s restrooms. Last week, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton publicly disclosed a letter he sent to Cornell seeking “the full text of Target’s safety policies regarding the protection of women and children from those who would use the cover of Target’s restroom policy for nefarious purposes.”
This morning on CNBC, Cornell said the company received “quite a bit of feedback” on the issue.
“We took a stance,” he said. “We’re going to continue to embrace our belief in diversity and inclusion, just how important that is to our company. But we’re also going to make sure our focus on safety is unwavering.”
He noted Target took a lot of criticism in the 1960s when it was one of the first to use retailers to use black models in its advertising.
“Back then, it wasn’t well received,” he said. “We had a lot of tough feedback. But sitting here today, we know we made the right decision.”
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