The Walgreens drugstore chain has drawn criticism from conservative groups after it adopted a new policy that would allow customers to use bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity.
According to The Los Angeles Times, the decision came after a Walgreens store on Sunset Boulevard had told Jessie Meehan, who is not transgender, that she could not use the women's restroom because she looked liked a man.
Meehan, who had visited the store while she was on her way to an LGBTQ Pride festival, was told by a store manager that it was store policy to restrict access to a bathroom based on customer's appearance, although another manager later admitted that there was no such policy.
"I had to go so I didn't put up much of a fight and used the stall while the men used the urinals next to me. This in itself was very humiliating for me and I felt extremely uncomfortable," Meehan said in an email to the drug store chain.
Meehan later took her complaint to an L.A. chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, which had threatened legal action against Walgreens.
Walgreens had decided to change its restroom policy at all 8,100 stores nationwide, saying, "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 American Family Association (AFA) decried the bathroom policy change, saying men will now be allowed "full and unrestricted access to women's restrooms in all of its 8,100 stores."
The conservative group has launched a campaign asking people to sign a petition to urge Walgreens to "immediately reverse its dangerous policy that allows men unrestricted access into women's restrooms."
The AFA is also asking its Walgreens customers to complain about the new policy and is asking people to call the drugstore chain's corporate office to raise their concerns.
Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C., expressed his fears that the new bathroom policy could pose a threat to the "privacy and safety of women and girls."
"The threat may not be from people who identify as transgender, but predators who pose as transgenders to exploit these policies," he added.
Sprigg asserted that the drugstore chain may suffer financially as a result of the new bathroom policy.
"Walgreens should have taken a lesson from Target when they made a point of announcing their pro-transgender bathroom policy which was devastating to their bottom line in terms of their stock price," he said.
Target had been a subject of a massive boycott organized in 2016 by the AFA after it made a similar decision to allow men to sue women's restrooms and changing rooms at its locations nationwide.