Earlier this month, the national retail chain Target released a statement affirming their support for transgender individuals who might be concerned about where they can use the restroom while shopping in one of their stores. And that policy has caused one southern town to pass a specific ordinance making the practice illegal.
“We believe that everyone—every team member, every guest, and every community—deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally,” read a statement from Target, released on 4/19. “In our stores, we demonstrate our commitment to an inclusive experience in many ways. 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.
Meanwhile, in Oxford, AL, which is home to a Target location in a local shopping center, has taken steps to rebuke the policy. This past Monday the town’s City Council convened and unanimously passed their own policy which would make it a crime to use a bathroom aligned with gender identity and not birth gender.
According to the Anniston Star, Council President Steven Waits released a statement defending the policy saying it was put in place “not out of concerns for the 0.3 percent of the population who identify as transgender,” but “to protect our women and children.”
Those caught violating the city policy could face a $500 fine and up to six months in jail.
Waits said he had received an “overwhelming” amount of support for the new bathroom law after Target made their announcement.
Noticeably absent from the policy is how it will be enforced.
Alabama’s history with LGBTQ rights falls in line with Oxford’s move – after marriage equality was legalized nationwide last summer, at least 11 counties shut down marriage license offices instead of offering them to same-sex couples.