MINNEAPOLIS (ChurchMilitant.com) - The stock price of Target is dropping following an April announcement from the retail giant stating it will allow men to use female restrooms and vice versa.
The declaration, released as a post on the company website late last month, announced the department store chain would now welcome "transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity." This move, according to the post, is done in the spirit of "inclusivity," which the corporation claims is a "core belief at Target."
"We believe that everyone — every team member, every guest, and every community — deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally," the post continues. "In our stores, we demonstrate our commitment to an inclusive experience in many ways."
The move was met immediately with much backlash from several organizations, including the American Family Association (AFA), which formed a petition calling for a boycott of the retail giant, arguing the policy "is exactly how sexual predators get access to their victims." The AFA is calling on individuals to "shop elsewhere" until "Target makes the safety of women and children a priority." Since its launch last month the petition has garnered over 1.1 million signatures.
The announcement from Target is also beginning to leave a financial impact with the corporation. Within a few days of the decision the value of Target stock dropped 5 percent in value, a loss estimated to cost shareholders nearly $2.5 billion. Additionally, research from international market research firm YouGov notes a 4 percent drop in the "percentage of consumers who would consider buying items at Target the next time they want to go shopping at a department store."
Despite news of the financial losses, several other major corporations are following suit and announcing they will allow self-described transgendered individuals to use the restroom of their choosing. Starbucks, Barnes & Noble and Hudson's Bay Company — parent company of Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue, among others — publicly stated last week employees and customers are free to use whichever bathroom corresponds with their believed gender.
A spokeswoman for Starbucks affirmed the Seattle-based coffeehouse chain will be "looking into additional opportunities to have more gender-neutral signage in our restrooms where jurisdictions allow it."
Barnes & Noble, the largest retail bookseller in the United States, confirmed both transgender employees and patrons "are allowed to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with."
Hudson's Bay Company likewise maintained its belief in "each person's right to self-identify."
The decisions from each of the corporations come in the wake of multiple laws passed in several states requiring individuals to use restrooms that match their biological sex.
The Catholic Church has clearly maintained its position against the push for gender identity rights, with Pope Benedict XVI proclaiming in 2012 the "profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious."