After Target stores recently stood up for the rights of transgender people regarding the use of their bathrooms, they received backlash from hundreds of thousands of people who signed a petition promising to boycott the company. A shocking occurrence this week may have proved that the issue of transgender people and public bathrooms has not cooled off.
According to local Illinois news WGNTV, a bomb was set off at a women's bathroom at a Target in Evanston, Illinois, on Wednesday. Authorities are investigating whether or not the small explosion was detonated in protest to Target's decision to allow transgender people to use the bathroom of the sex they identify with.
Fortunately, the bomb was small and caused only minor damage. Commander Joe Dugan explained that the explosion happened shortly after 4 p.m., and no one was inside the women's bathroom at the time. The culprit reportedly manufactured a bomb using a plastic bottle, but did not fill it with deadly projectiles like nails or tacks. Nobody was injured by the bomb, but it seems possible that an activist wanted to send an angry message about Target's stance on the transgender issue.
The exact policy that has caused so many people to turn against Target is their decision to openly welcome "transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity." This announcement came in response to the controversial HB2 "bathroom bill" backed by Pat McCrory in North Carolina, which forces transgender people to use the public bathroom of the gender they were born with.
The bathroom bomb is only one of many examples of activists protesting the policy with frightening public antics. According to Mic, many videos have been published online showing people protesting Target's transgender policy, including individuals yelling and berating Target employees and customers. Another common tactic has men dressing up as women to demonstrate how easy it would be a for a predator to exploit the inclusive transgender policy as a way to abduct, molest, or spy on young girls.
However, transgender allies have pointed out there are virtually no reported instances of this happening, and transgender people have been using the bathroom of the gender they identify with for years. Also, under the HB2 bill, male predators would be able to prey on young girls even more easily. Without even needing to put on a disguise, criminals could enter the women's bathroom claiming to be a trans man who has been forced to use the women's bathroom -- then gain the same access as a man in drag would have in a Target bathroom.
To read more about the transgender bathroom bill, click here.
Target insisted that the safety of their customers and employees is their top priority and would not allow criminal or predatory behavior in their bathrooms under any circumstances.
"We have zero tolerance for any illegal or unsafe behavior in our stores," said a Target representative.
According to the Chicago Tribune, since the bomb was small and the damage was limited to a single stall in the women's bathroom, police determined it was safe for Target to remain open for the rest of the day.
What do you think? Did someone set off the bathroom bomb to protest Target's policy on transgender individuals? Do you believe transgender people should be allowed to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with, or were you one of the people who signed the petition against Target? Leave your thoughts below.
[Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images]