Target: Transgender shoppers welcome in bathrooms, fitting rooms

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As state legislatures across the nation debate laws mandating people use restrooms based on the gender on their birth certificates, Target reiterated its policy to allow transgender customers' and employees' use of the bathroom or fitting room befitting their gender identities.

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"Inclusivity is a core belief at Target," the company said in a statement posted on its website Tuesday. "We believe that everyone -- every team member, every guest and every community -- deserves to be protected from discrimination and treated equally."

The company's statement came in response to laws like North Carolina's controversial House Bill 2, also known as the “bathroom bill.” The legislation requires people use public restrooms and locker rooms based on the gender on their birth certificates. Critics say the law is discriminatory. Supporters say it's common sense.

“Everyone deserves to feel like they belong,” Target said its statement. “You'll always be accepted, respected and welcomed at Target.”

Several well-known companies have denounced the bill, although Target appears to be the first major retailer to outline its bathroom policies in response, The Washington Post reported.

The policy is not new, a Target spokeswoman told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

“It's a restatement of policy,” spokeswoman Molly Snyder said. “It's just us being very overt in stating it.”