Target will now allow transgender people to use the bathroom and fitting rooms in accordance with their gender identity and not their biological sex.
"Inclusivity is a core belief at Target. It's something we celebrate. We stand for equality and equity, and strive to make our guests and team members feel accepted, respected and welcomed in our stores and workplaces every day," the company said in a statement on Tuesday.
Target has been in the news for its policies on gender sensitivity. Last year, it said it would cease using sex-based signs for toys. Similar changes were to be made in Home and Entertainment, where they said, "suggesting products by gender" was unnecessary.
"But we never want guests or their families to feel frustrated or limited by the way things are presented... in the kids' Bedding area, signs will no longer feature suggestions for boys or girls, just kids. In the Toys aisles, we'll also remove reference to gender, including the use of pink, blue, yellow or green paper on the back walls of our shelves," the retail chain said in a press release last year.
Public reaction to Target's new policy was mixed.
One customer commented that "bathrooms are biological, not social," while another one said, "Thank you, Target!"
Target's decision comes as the several states are contemplating passage of bathroom laws, including the state of North Carolina, which has passed an ordinance that requires people to use bathrooms in conformity with their original sexes in all government facilities, which includes public schools.
"Recent debate around proposed laws in several states has reignited a national conversation around inclusivity. So earlier this week, we reiterated with our team members where Target stands and how our beliefs are brought to life in how we serve our guests," Target said.
"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 continued.
Target is based in Minnesota, where a Republican state senator reportedly proposed a bill to limit bathroom access by biological sex.
The store is also known to have offered benefits to same-sex couples, and publicly came out in support of gay marriage in 2014.