(WTVM) - A social media post that has gone viral by claiming urinals were installed in a California Target location has been debunked - but continues the debate about the retailer's gender equality policies.
The fact-check and debunking website Snopes.com says the post created by Facebook user Kathleen Crawford is indeed fake.
The post, created on April 22, shows urinals in what is allegedly the women's bathroom at a Los Angeles-area Target store.
"It's true," Crawford's post begins. "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."
Snopes clarifies that the urinals were in a men's bathroom that was undergoing renovations. Snopes also lists a response from Target in regard to the post, where they state their urinals will never be placed in the women's restroom.The retailer also clarifies that gender-equal facilities is not new to Target policy.
"This isn't a new policy, we've had this in place, and no changes to signage is planned. And there has never been a plan for urinals in the women's restroom that is 100 percent untrue!" the post said. "The policy states: 'We welcome team members and guests to use the facilities - restroom or fitting room - that correspond to their gender identity. [If available]: We also offer a single-stall, wheelchair-accessible, bathroom for guests who need more space or who are more comfortable with that format."
In their April 19 policy announcement, Target said their decision to abide by and support the Equality Act was in keeping "inclusivity" as "a core belief at Target."
"We believe that everyone - every team member, every guest, and every community - deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally," the announcement said.
Shortly after their announcement, the American Family Association, a Christian-based activist group, started the #BoycottTarget social media campaign and petition.
The group believes that the store's policies open up a gateway for male sexual predators to potentially assault unsuspecting female victims, AFA President Tim Wildmon wrote on April 21.
"Clearly, Target's new policy poses a danger to wives and daughters. We think many customers will agree," Wildmon said. "And we think the average Target customer is willing to pledge to boycott Target stores until it makes protecting women and children a priority."
The AFA is also encouraging disappointed customers to call Target's customer relations department to voice their disdain. Many others have gone to social media, with a few #BoycottTarget posts going viral.
As of Thursday, the petition has more than 971,190 signatures.
Target says this isn't a new policy for them and many other retailers also have family restrooms where fathers with daughters, mothers with sons, parents with elderly parents, etc., can enter in the restroom or changing room with their loved one.
In March, an Athens, GA Kroger location placed signs on for their unisex restrooms, listing the reasons for the change.
"Kroger stores with unisex bathrooms are designed to serve our customers in all the ways stated on that sign: parents with young children, parents with disabled children, adults with aging parents, the LGBTQ community and for any other reason such an accommodation might be more convenient. We are proud to serve each and every customer that walks in our doors," the grocer said in a statement.