If there’s one thing Target’s bathroom policy has done is inspire transphobic religious fanatics to come into the store and shout their beliefs at the top of their lungs. It’s understandable that their compeitor, Walmart would want to avoid it.
According to the New York Daily News, the Arkansas-based retailer has refused to reveal it’s position on the bathroom issue to shoppers and staff. Reporters inquired with Walmart’s media relations team for the first time last Tuesday when a Connecticut woman said that she was harassed in a Walmart bathroom after being mistaken as transgender. Walmart never responded to the ordeal the woman went through despite national attention to the story.
Kevin Costello is a New Jersey civil rights attorney who is representing a trans woman in a case against Walmart. He called the company’s silence on the issue “disturbing.”
“It’s disturbing because it’s an easy answer,” he said.
No large-scale retailer has come out like Target has.
“In our stores, we demonstrate our commitment to an inclusive experience in many ways,” Target said in a statement on its website. “Most relevant for the conversations currently under way, we welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity.”
Aimee Toms, the Connecticut woman who said that she experienced harassment in Walmart when she was mistaken as trans, said that she thinks Walmart is staying mum to avoid the Target-style backlash.
“Walmart is damned whether they do or they don’t,” she told the NYDN.
“If they speak out, depending on which position they take, they’ll either have supporters or nay-sayers boycotting and signing petitions.”
However, Jessica Levin from the activist group Making Change, thinks Walmart’s attempt to protect itself sends a dangerous message. “Walmart’s silence on this is more than just silence. It’s giving bigotry a free pass.
“It’s the number one retailer in the country and it could set the standard for what other retailers do.”