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Target's Bathroom Agenda Prompts Call for Boycott

04-22-2016
Target, LGBT, transgender, bathroom law
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Target has entered the debate over which restrooms transgender people should use, causing some conservative organizations to call for a boycott of the retail chain.

"In our stores, we demonstrate our commitment to an inclusive experience in many ways. Most relevant for the conversations currently underway, we welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity," the retail company said in a statement.

The move led the American Family Association to call for a boycott of Target.

"This means a man can simply say he 'feels like a woman today' and enter the women's restroom...even if young girls or women are already in there," AFA President Tim Wildmon wrote. "Target's policy is exactly how sexual predators get access to their victims."

"And with Target publicly boasting that men can enter women's bathrooms, where do you think predators are going to go?" he asked.

"Clearly, Target's new policy poses a danger to wives and daughters," Wildmon continued. "We think many customers will agree. 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 move prompted ridicule from some, while others have registered doubt about the effectiveness of such boycotts.

"When it comes to basic rights and dignity, if being on the wrong side of history is your jam, by all means, do your thing," Salon staff writer Mary Elizabeth Williams wrote. "But just forgive us if the rest of us find you totally, laughably irrelevant. Good luck with that Target boycott, though!"

Dr. Russell Moore, with the Southern Baptist Convention, discussed boycotts in 2012 after a pro-family organization urged boycotting Starbucks when the company voiced support for same-sex marriage as a core value.

"But we don't persuade our neighbors by mimicking their angry power-protests," Moore wrote. "We persuade them by holding fast to the gospel, by explaining our increasingly odd view of marriage, and by serving the world and our neighbors around us, as our Lord does, with a towel and a foot-bucket."

The AFA does offer a compromise in the debate over Target's transgender policy.

"One solution is a common-sense approach and a reasonable solution to the issue of transgendered customers: a unisex bathroom," Wildmon wrote. "Target should keep separate facilities for men and women, but for the trans community and for those who simply like using the bathroom alone, a single occupancy unisex bathroom option should be provided."

Salon's Williams somewhat agrees.

"Unisex bathrooms and gender neutral are a reasonable - and increasingly viable - option in many places," she wrote. "But let's be real - does the AFA seriously think that Target stores across America should have to go to the trouble of installing brand new bathroom facilities based on its own totally incorrect ideas about trans people?" she wrote.

The issue concerning which bathrooms transgender people should use entered the forefront after North Carolina passed a law requiring transgender people to use the bathroom that matches the gender on their birth certificate.

Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump made headlines when at first he spoke against that law, suggesting the state should "leave it the way it is."

He then changed his stance in an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity.

"I think that local communities and states should make the decision," Trump told Hannity. "And I feel very strongly about that. The federal government should not be involved."

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory's campaign responded to Trump's initial comments.

"Gov. McCrory has always said that North Carolina was getting along fine before the Charlotte city council passed its unneeded and overreaching ordinance," he said. "Now that it has been overturned, businesses can adopt their own policies - like Target has - instead of being mandated to allow men into women's restrooms by government."

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