Target Transgender Controversy Provokes Change

In this Aug. 23, 2007 file photo, a sign marks the entrance to a gender neutral restroom  at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vt. For opponents of transgender rights, a favorite line of attack is to oppose policies that would allow people to choose whether to use a mens or womens bathroom based on gender identity.

AP Photo/Toby Talbot

In this Aug. 23, 2007 file photo, a sign marks the entrance to a gender neutral restroom at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vt. For opponents of transgender rights, a favorite line of attack is to oppose policies that would allow people to choose whether to use a men’s or women’s bathroom based on gender identity.

On March 23, North Carolina passed a law–House Bill 2 or The Public Facilities & Security Act– preventing transgender people from using the restroom in which they identify with, but instead the restroom of the sex that appears on their birth certificate. Not only that, but the bill also prohibits local government from enacting larger anti-discrimination laws.

Since the passing of House Bill 2, numerous celebrities, teams, and corporations have distanced themselves from the state, with one of the most prominent being Target. The company spoke out, saying that all customers and employees are welcome to use the facilities that correspond with their gender identity.

In an open letter posted to Target’s corporate website, Target stated, “We believe that everyone—every team member, every guest, and every community—deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally.”

The statements released by the company have sparked quite a bit of controversy. Many are outraged about what they view as Target’s appalling behavior; in fact, the American Family Association has created a petition to boycott the store, racking up just over a million signatures.

Although there are some groups opposed to Target’s statements, others have given their full support vowing to shop with the company more often because of it.

The letter on Target’s website went on to say, “We regularly assess issues and consider many factors such as impact to our business, guests and team members. Given the specific questions these legislative proposals raised about how we manage our fitting rooms and restrooms, we felt it was important to state our position.”

It is no question that, nationally, this has become a major topic of dispute, but it is also an issue that has been discussed within the walls of our very own school. In order to meet the needs of all students, AVHS has installed a new unisex restroom. The single-stall facility is located on the second floor near the chemistry rooms, and it is open for anyone to use.  

We are hopeful to have additional single-stall unisex restrooms on the first floor.”

— Principal Degenaar

“We began getting requests a couple years ago,” said Principal Steve Degenaar about the new unisex bathroom. “It has become a soft issue for that group (Gay Straight Alliance) that there should be a restroom for a transgendered person to use.”

After receiving several of these requests, Principal Degenaar decided that this was something that needed to be addressed. After meeting with lawyers and other officials, it was decided that this was something that could and would be done.

The single-stall unisex bathroom provides a space for not only transgender students, but all students to use when they would like more privacy. However, it is important to know that all faculty possess a key to the bathroom and will be able to access it if need be.

We also spoke about the future plans for AVHS, and how we can strengthen this push for more equality within the school. “We are hopeful to have additional single-stall unisex restrooms on the first floor,” said Degenaar.

It may take a few years before AVHS is able to add more unisex bathrooms, but one is definitely better than none.

With all of the controversy happening around the country, it is nice to know that AVHS is at the forefront of accommodating the needs of all students.