Apparently, the State of Texas is taking sides in the Target transgender bathroom showdown. Target made national news on April 19 when it, the nation’s second largest retailer, announced a new bathroom policy; a policy that Target claims protects the rights of transgender employees and customers. Under the new Target bathroom rules, transgender customers (or any customers, since Target has erred on the side of multiple customer requests) can use the public bathroom they feel most comfortable using, regardless of their biological gender.
The new Target bathroom policy spawned a nationwide backlash and boycott of the retailer, with well over a million people having signed a pledge to stop spending their money at the Target.
The boycott against Target, which spawned the hashtag #BoycottTarget, was started by the American Family Association. In late April, one of the organization’s most prominent members responded to the Target bathroom policy and subsequent boycott with the threat of potential violence, saying she would be taking her gun into Target bathrooms in the future, because it “identifies as her bodyguard.”
“Nearly everyone has a mother, wife, daughter or friend who is put in jeopardy by this policy. Predators and voyeurs would take advantage of the policy to prey on those who are vulnerable.”
Now, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is expressing his concerns about the policy. As Fox News reports, he spelled out those concerns in a letter to Target’s CEO, a letter that Fox News got its hands on.
“It is possible that allowing men in women’s restrooms could lead to criminal and otherwise unwanted activity.”
“As chief lawyer and law enforcement officer for the State of Texas, I ask that you provide the full text of Target’s safety policies regarding the protection of women and children from those who would use the cover of Target’s restroom policy for nefarious purposes.”
He reportedly told Target that the chain is free to create transgender bathroom policies as it sees fit, but that he doesn’t believe that his constituents in Texas necessarily “welcome such policies.”
“The voters in Houston recently repealed by a wide margin an ordinance that advanced many of the same goals as Target’s current policy.”
Paxton has said that he has one question for Target with regard to their transgender bathroom policies. Namely, how does Target plan to keep women and children safe in their stores if they are allowing biological men to share bathrooms and changing facilities?
“If we save one child from illegal or inappropriate activity, it’s worth it.”
So far, Target has declined to comment on the #BoycottTarget intiative and has stood behind both its transgender bathroom policy and its employees adherence to said policy. Despite this stonewall of silence, a spokesman for the American Family Association, Walker Wildmon, says that he is hopeful that the retail chain will respond to the Texas AG’s questions about its transgender bathroom policy.
“What he’s asking in this letter is exactly what we’ve been asking Target to answer. What about women and children? What about men who pretend to be women and go into these bathrooms just so they can prey on women?”
The AFA claims to be on the side of women and children’s safety when it comes to the Target transgender bathroom policy. However, it’s recently been reported that the super-conservative group has done some questionable things in protest of Target’s new transgender bathroom guidelines.
Just last week, it was made known that the AFA has been covertly and deliberately sending men into the women’s bathrooms at Target stores in order to “test” the Target transgender bathroom policy. The conservative activist group couldn’t verify that every man it had sent into Target bathrooms that could be in use by women or small children was vetted, background checked, and posed no threat.
The new Target transgender bathroom policy was implemented on the heels of a South Carolina state law that would prohibit people to use a public restroom that was not intended for the gender listed on their birth certificate.
Target Corporation saw its sales grow both in the forth quarter of 2015 and cumulatively for 2015. There’s been no word yet on whether the #BoycottTarget initiative has cut into the chain’s first quarter 2016 sales. If Target does lose money due to its transgender bathroom policy, we’ll know later in the fiscal year.
Until then, it’s likely that the Target transgender bathroom policy will continue to garner media attention, particularly because it happened during the 2016 election cycle.
What do you think? Is Target correct in giving customers and employees access to the public bathroom they feel most comfortable using? Or, as the Texas AG implies, does the Target transgender bathroom policy put women and children at risk?
[Image Courtesy Of Scott Olson/Getty Images]