May 26, 2016
On April 19, 2016 the retail store Target announced that it would provide gender neutral bathrooms and also allow men and women to use the same fitting rooms. The following day, nearly one million people protested the decision, pledging to boycott the store. The store's new policy is part of a trend spreading across the country to accommodate 1 percent of the population. Starbucks and Barnes and Noble have also announced that their customers may use the bathrooms according to the gender of their choice.
On June 3, 2013, a woman in Nashville, Tenn., complained to the manager of the restaurant that she encountered a burly man dressed like a woman in the ladies' room. The manager blithely told her that she could use the men's room. On June 23, 2013, the Colorado Civil Rights Division decided that a 6-year-old boy who identifies himself as a girl should be allowed to use the girls' bathroom. The division held that not to allow him to use the girls' bathroom would create a hostile environment for him. On April 19, 2016, a teenager in Virginia, who was born a girl but now identifies herself as a boy, won the right in the 4th Circuit Court to use the boys' bathroom.
In several states, activists are advancing their agenda that people should have the right to use public lockers, fitting rooms and restrooms on the basis of the gender that they say they are. Lawmakers are divided. On March 23, 2016, North Carolina passed House Bill 2 into law. The new law requires transgender people to use bathrooms according to their sex marker at birth and not according to their own choice of gender identity. Immediately, there was a backlash. Entertainers such as Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Jimmy Buffet and Beatle Ringo Starr canceled their shows. The protesters insist that the rights of transgender individuals are being cast aside.
Even President Obama has entered the battle over gender identity. On Friday, May 13, 2016, his administration issued a sweeping directive from the Departments of Education and Justice. It mandated that every public school district in the country allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that correspond to the gender that they themselves choose.