Since April, when Target announced it would allow transgender people to use the appropriate bathrooms and conservative Christians reacted like this a human rights violation of the worst order, the American Family Association has been promoting a boycott of the store:
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. 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?
It’s bullshit, of course. Predators aren’t suddenly going to appear just because Target chose to accommodate transgender shoppers. A crime is still a crime. The only difference is that some shoppers will now get to pee without worrying that store managers will come after them.
We’re used to conservative Christians spreading harmful, damaging lies about people they disagree with. Even the predator myth wasn’t new — Christians have long directed those comments at gay men. And to their credit, Target refused to budge. Hell, before their policy went into effect, trans people were using the appropriate bathrooms and no one said anything… because they had no idea and it didn’t matter.
But after lower-than-expected earnings in the second quarter of this year, Target announced yesterday that it would install single-stall bathrooms in all of its stores. Most would have them by this November; the rest, by 2017. It’s an investment that will cost approximately $20 million, and it would essentially eliminate the Christians’ problem since anyone irrationally freaked about about using an all-men or all-women bathroom could now pee in private. (Obviously, trans people could use these bathrooms, too.)
The trans-inclusive policy would still remain in effect, though, and that’s why the AFA is still furious:
Walker Wildmon, assistant to the AFA president, said that Target’s latest move is not sufficient to fully protect customers.
“This doesn’t completely answer our concerns,” said Wildmon.
This is the problem with negotiating with groups like the AFA. Nothing will appease them in cases like these unless it involves demonizing innocent LGBT people. Even though their concerns have been directly addressed, they’re now shifting the goalposts. They won’t rest until trans people only pee where Christians tell them to. Even gender neutral bathrooms aren’t enough.
It’s worth mentioning that Target’s lower second quarter earnings aren’t necessarily due to the boycott. I do most of my shopping online and I’m not alone; big box stores are just a waste of time for people like me unless there’s some emergency. Most stores like Target are suffering for the same reasons.
Not that the AFA will even consider that possibility.
“We’re confident that our boycott has played a significant role in Target’s financial results that came out today,” Wildmon insisted.
Target says that’s not true at all. But we know conservative Christians never let facts get in the way of a good persecution narrative.