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Target Corp announced that it would be spending over $20 million to add private bathrooms in each store it has by 2017, after protests by customers of the store’s policy to allow individuals who are transgender to use the bathroom that corresponds with the gender they identify with.
The majority of the almost 1,800 Target locations already have unisex or single-occupancy bathrooms, but this adds the option to another 277 of its stores before November and to 20 remaining ones during the early months of 2017, said the company in prepared statement on Wednesday.
The CFO at Target Cathy Smith said this move was in response to the feedback received from its customers that voiced displeasure over the bathroom policy of the company. She added that customer discontent did not have any material impact on company sales.
Brian Cornell the CEO promised to roll out family restrooms during the early part of 2016 and he defended the stance by the company on diversity.
Protests began at Target locations after the company announced during April that it welcomes guests as well as Target employees who were transgender to use fitting rooms or restrooms that corresponded to the gender they identified with.
The company released its announcement after legislation was enacted in North Carolina requiring people who are transgender to use public bathrooms that correspond to the gender of that person that appears on their birth certificate. It became one of the nation’s first states to enact such a law.
Following the law being enacted, many businesses promised the withdrawal of their investment in North Carolina. The NBA relocated its scheduled All-Star Game in protest by cancelling it in Charlotte for the 2017-18 season.
The American Family Association claims that over 1.3 million people signed a petition online to boycott Target stores as a way to protest this issue.
The petition says that Target policy was a danger to mothers and daughters and requested Target offer bathrooms that were single occupancy.
An AFA spokesperson said on Wednesday that the group was not satisfied with the response by Target calling the new policy a bathroom free-for-all.
If the overall majority is uncomfortable, said the spokesperson, they will needed to use the single stall restroom. He insists that individuals who are transgender must be required to used the single stall restrooms if they are not comfortable using the bathroom that corresponds to their birth certificate.