Walgreens will allow employees and customers to use bathrooms based off their own gender identity.
The new policy was announced by the drugstore chain, directly to employees, on November 21 and was made public in a story the Los Angeles Times did on Jessie Meehan, a cisgender woman.
‘All individuals have a right to use restroom facilities that correspond to the individual’s gender identity, regardless of the individual’s sex assigned at birth,’ the new policy states, according to the Huffington Post.
Jessie Meehan – a cisgender woman – claims she went into a Walgreens in Hollywood, California, and was told that she had to use the men’s restroom
LA Times’ feature on Jessie Meehan tells how the woman felt she was discriminated against at Walgreens in Hollywood, California, last year during Pride.
Meehan asserted that she was ‘very surprised and shocked’ when a sales associate demanded that she use the man’s restroom because she looked like one.
‘I’ve been discriminated against my whole life based on my appearance, based on looking too male,’ added Meehan in a video released by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California on Monday.
She wrote a letter to the chain offering to train them adequately but when she didn’t hear anything from them in two months, Meehan contacted the ACLU. A lawyer from the ACLU sent a letter to Walgreens and conversations led to policy to be enacted in all 8,100 stores
‘[This is] the first time that I actually said something about it, did something about it. I can imagine thousands of people that don’t do anything about it when they feel bad about themselves.’
Meehan, who does not identify as trans, made it to a ACLU booth at Pride after the ordeal.
She also wrote a letter to Walgreens offering to train staff but when she didn’t hear anything after two months, Meehan contacted the ACLU again.
‘All individuals have a right to use restroom facilities that correspond to the individual’s gender identity, regardless of the individual’s sex assigned at birth,’ the policy reads
ACLU staff attorney, Amanda Goad, reached out to the chain to help shed light on the California law, which ‘protects every person’s right to access restrooms based on their gender identity in workplaces, schools and business establishments,’ according to the Los Angeles Times.
She claims that discussions with Walgreens prompted the company to change policy in all 8,100 stores across the country.
‘Everyone needs safe restroom access, and California law protects every person’s right to access restrooms based on their gender identity in workplaces, schools, and business establishments,’ Goad detailed in a statement on the ACLU website.
‘It’s important for businesses to make sure their employees understand that requirement, just like Walgreens is now doing, because Jessie Meehan had the courage to stand up for her rights.’
Walgreens has a 100 per cent rating on the Human Rights Campaign’s 2016 Corprorate Equality Index, but they aren’t the first company towards inclusive bathrooms.
In 2016, Target adopted a similar policy that angered some conservative groups.