Over one million people have signed an online petition calling for a boycott of Target stores after the chain announced it would allow people to use the restroom corresponding with their gender identity. The petition, organized by the evangelical American Family Association, notes that in order for men to gain entry to a women’s bathroom, all he needs to do is say he “feels like a woman today.”
“We believe that everyone—every team member, every guest, and every community—deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally,” Target’s official statement reads. “Consistent with this belief, Target supports the federal Equality Act, which provides protections to LGBT individuals, and opposes action that enables discrimination.”
“Target’s policy is exactly how sexual predators get access to their victims,” the petition counters erroneously. “And with Target publicly boasting that men can enter women’s bathrooms, where do you think predators are going to go?”
Thus far, the only reported male invasions into female bathrooms have been perpetrated by outraged men in protest of the new policy. So, yeah, if the AFA’s constituents are the perverts the AFA is referring to, I guess they have a point.
In a Monday interview with Breitbart News Daily, the AFA’s director of government affairs Sandy Rios said that the organization’s noble activists have already tested out the law by going into Targets around the country and attempting to gain access to women’s restrooms.
“I think there’s no question that when you say that there are no barriers in the bathroom, and that if men or women feel like they are men or women, the opposition of however they are equipped, and you have no restrictions, the net effect will be that people will not be stopped,” Rios said. “We already have people testing this, going into Targets and men trying to go into the bathrooms. There is absolutely no barrier.”
Indeed, there are at least two circulating YouTube videos that show conscientious male-identifying men either seeking permission to use or actually using the women’s bathroom in a Target. Trigger warning: the second video contains powerful audio of the man’s fragmented urine stream.
And then there are more videos—arguably more irritating as a category—showing the earnest brother/father/son (always male) who takes it upon himself to go into his local Target and confront a manager about the indefensible law. The managers roundly deflect: they have no control over the corporate policy, nor are they willing or able to discuss the concept of gender with a man combatively wielding a Samsung Galaxy.
USA Today reports that the boycott has taken an actual toll on the superstore chain:
Before Target made its policy public last week, 42% of people said they would consider shopping there the next time they needed something. As of Wednesday, that number had dropped to 38%, which YouGov CEO Ted Marzilli says is a “significant” shift.
While that figure could continue to fall, the backlash that Target’s position has sparked isn’t “catastrophic,” Marzilli says. To put the issue in perspective, when Target suffered a data breach that compromised tens of millions of customers’ credit card numbers and personal information in 2013, YouGov’s measurement of brand perception for the company, based on what consumers see and hear, fell roughly 60 points. In the past two weeks, Target’s brand perception has fallen just eight points.
“I don’t think it’s a statement that people aren’t in favor of equal rights for transgender people,” Marzilli said. “It shows people just kind of demonstrating that they’re uncomfortable, or uncertain about how comfortable they are are, with mixed public restrooms.”
I have to say, I have no problem with the policy (obviously), but I do have a problem with a heavy-streamed mactivist (male activist) peeing next to me to make a point.
Image via Target.