Thousands Pledge To Boycott Target For Transgender Bathroom Policy

Target is now the target of an online petition which seeks to boycott the company after announcing this week that transgender employees and customers can use restrooms and fitting rooms that correspond to their gender identity.

The American Family Association, on Wednesday, started a "Boycott Target Pledge" on their website, which earned 340,000 supporters in its first three days. After four days, the petition has reached over 400,000 signatures.

Target did not expect to receive such strong reaction from so many people as the company reportedly wanted to create an "LGBTQ-friendly" atmosphere in their establishment. However, the policy has loopholes. The bathroom policy Target is trying to implement would also allow men to use bathrooms in its stores intended for women.

"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," wrote the American Family Association worried that sexual predators would take advantage of the policy.

"#BoycottTarget has resonated with Americans," American Family Association president Tim Wildmon wrote.

Target became the first national retailer to express their stance on the transgender bathroom policy after North Carolina passed a bill that prohibits transgender people from using public bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity. The State orders people to use restrooms that correspond to the gender listed on a person's birth certificate.

The AFA said the retail company is unwittingly exposing women and children to danger: "Target's harmful policy poses a danger to women and children. Predators and voyeurs would take advantage of the policy to prey on those who are vulnerable. It's clear now that many customers agree."

Target weighed in on the issue of transgender restroom policy on Tuesday with a lengthy statement on its official Facebook page: "Recent debate around proposed laws in several states has reignited a national conversation around inclusivity. So earlier this week, we reiterated to our team members where Target stands and how our beliefs are brought to life in how we serve our guests."

The retail company also said the policy aims to foster inclusivity as they wanted to make every person, no matter their gender, feel accepted. "Inclusivity is a core belief at Target. It's something we celebrate. We stand for equality and equity, and strive to make our guests and team members feel accepted, respected and welcomed in our stores and workplaces every day."

Target also stated one of their goals is to make their stores a safe place for every person.
"We believe that everyone—every team member, every guest, and every community—deserves to be protected from discrimination and treated equally. Consistent with this belief, Target supports the federal Equality Act, which provides protections to LGBT individuals, and opposes action that enables discrimination."
Right after this announcement, angry customers began questioning the company's policy, which prompted AFA to start a petition to boycott the store. This is not the first time that Target got caught in the middle of gender equality issues.Back in 2010, the discount retail giant reportedly donated $150,000 to MN Forward, a group that supported Tom Emmer, a Republican candidate for governor in Minnesota. Emmer was said to be against same-sex marriage.

The move put Target in a very compromising situation as the gay community liked their brand, but were at odds with the retail chain for supporting an anti-gay politician. The gay community boycotted Target prompting it to withdraw support for Emmer.

Today, in its effort to encourage inclusivity and progressivism, Target is having a hard time balancing their stance on transgender bathroom policy and the safety of its customers.

[Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images]