- Walgreens is going to allow transgender staff and customers to use bathrooms that match their gender identity in all of its 8,100 stores across the United States.
- Considered the second largest chain of pharmacy stores in the United States, Walgreens announced the change after a complaint filed last year for failing a transgender woman in letting her use the bathroom.
- Jessie Meehan asked for legal advice from American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) because she was not allowed to use a women’s only bathroom in store even when she identified herself as a woman.
Walgreens is set to implement a guideline that would allow transgender customers and staff to access restrooms that match their gender identity according to transgender latest news by The Independent posted on February 9.
Use of facilities
The company’s announcement read, “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.”
This update on its internal policies regarding treatment of transgender individuals would bring the company within the bounds of state legislations on creating an inclusive space for transgender people with the use of bathrooms in business establishments.
Considered the second largest chain of pharmacy stores in the United States, Walgreens announced the change after a complaint filed last year for failing a transgender woman in letting her use the bathroom.
Jessie Meehan claimed that the company was prompted to revise its guidelines and implemented the change because of her. She asked for legal advice last year because she was not allowed to use a women’s only bathroom in Walgreen store even when she identified herself as a woman.
Details from NBC News narrated that Meehan was about to attend LGBTQ pride festival celebration last year in Los Angeles.
On her way, she stopped at a Walgreens store and after buying $20 worth of purchase, she requested an employee to open a bathroom for her. The employee refused and insisted that she use the bathroom for men. When she escalated the issue to the manager, the manager agreed with the employee.
Meehan alleged that the company’s action was discriminatory.
“I am a woman. I identify as female,” Meehan said. “She can’t tell me which one to use. It’s illegal to do that.”
She sought help at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and reported the incident, including the argument with a Walgreens manager regarding the issue.
ACLU, through staff attorney Amanda Goad, sent a letter to the company to clarify its business practice and whether it violates or conforms to the California state law. Specifically, it quoted the part of the legislation stating, “[The state] protects every person’s right to access restrooms based on their gender identity in workplaces, schools and business establishments.”
Despite dealing with it all her life, Meehan said that this was the first time she ever spoke against discrimination on the basis of her appearance.
Both Goad and Meehan believed that their action and Meehan’s courage to speak out prompted the company to update its store guidelines in all of its 8,100 branches.
ACLU, on other hand, commented on its 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.”