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Has Target added urinals to a women’s restroom in California?
That’s the claim in a Facebook post that’s been shared more than 14,000 times as of April 26, 2016, one week after the mega-retailer announced transgender customers are welcome to use bathrooms that match up with their gender identity at their stores nationwide.
Target is the latest corporation to announce the policy, just as state legislatures have debated or approved so-called "bathroom laws." Those laws, including one signed by the governor of North Carolina in late March, would prohibit transgender people from using restrooms that do not correspond with the sex listed on their birth certificate.
Target’s policy has led to mixed customer reviews. Some have cheered it, while more than half a million people had signed a boycott petition by American Family Association, a conservative Christian activist group, as of Tuesday. The group contends the policy encourages sexual predators and puts women and young girls in danger.
We know the policy alone is controversial. But we wondered whether Target had taken its stance to an even more contentious level by installing urinals in a women’s store restroom? That’s the claim in the popular Facebook post by a user named Kathleen Crawford:
"It's true. ..I'm in the women's bathroom at a Target north of LA...they actually took out a stall for women in order to accommodate the ones who have giblets...yes, these are urinals...for men...and so the war on women progresses. …"
The allegation inspired outrage on some conservative blogs, where it was taken as fact.
It shouldn’t be.
The Facebook post includes a photo of two urinals wrapped in plastic inside a restroom with a red wall. It shows no evidence of where, exactly, the photo was taken.
When we contacted Target, a corporate spokeswoman called the claim on Facebook "inaccurate."
"We have not made any changes to the restrooms," the spokeswoman, Molly Snyder, said in an email. "We have not added any urinals to any women's restrooms nor do we have any plans to do so."
She said the company never had past plans to do so.
So what’s going on with the photo?
It’s hard to say for certain.
We reached out to the person who posted it on Facebook, but we haven’t heard back.
The myth-busting website Snopes.com also checked out the Facebook post and found it False. It said the "picture has nothing to do with Target's restroom policy. The image was not taken in a women's restroom at a Los Angeles Target store (rather a men's room that was undergoing repair or refurbishment)."
Snopes.com did not say how it found out where the photo came from. Snyder, the Target spokeswoman, said she did not know its source.
If Target had made this change, we’d expect more than just one photo to surface.
We reached out to the woman on Facebook, and we'll add her response should we hear back.
A popular Facebook post alleged last week that Target installed urinals in a women’s restroom in California.
Target representatives told us the claim is "inaccurate," and that the company has no plans to change its restrooms, and never did. Best we can tell, the Facebook post is a one-off picture that hasn’t surfaced in any other form (other than the thousands of people sharing it).
So stop that! This claim rates Pants on Fire.
Facebook, Shared post, April 22, 2016
Snopes.com, "Target of Protest," April 25, 2016
Interview, Molly Snyder, Target spokeswoman, April 26, 2016
USA Today, "More than 500,000 boycott Target over transgender bathroom policy," April 26, 2016
CNN.com, "Target takes stand on transgender bathroom controversy,"April 20, 2016
RightWingNews.com, "**BREAKING UPDATE** Target ALREADY Installing Urinals In Women’s Bathrooms- Customer Claims With THIS Proof!," April 25, 2016
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