A transgender woman was arrested after allegedly taking photos in a women’s changing room at Target, the Idaho Falls Post Register is reporting.
A customer said she was in the women’s changing room at the Target in Ammon, Idaho, on Monday when she noticed someone reaching over a wall with a cell phone and snapping pictures of her changing clothes. The victim confronted the suspect, who fled the store on foot.
Using store security footage and interviewing witnesses, police were able to identify and track down Sean Patrick Smith, 42. Smith, who also goes by Shauna Patricia Smith, is biologically male but identifies as a transgender female.
Smith was taken to jail and charged with one count of felony voyeurism, which is punishable by up to five years in prison. It is unclear, as of this writing, what stage of undress the victim was in when she was photographed.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Target became the subject of intense controversy earlier this year when the company announced a policy that encourages individuals who identify as transgender to use the bathroom they are most comfortable with, rather than the one that corresponds to their biological sex assigned at birth.
“In our stores, we demonstrate our commitment to an inclusive experience in many ways. Most relevant for the conversations currently underway, we welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity.”
The backlash against the policy was immediate and intense, and the American Family Association and other conservative groups threatened to boycott the store. Men making no attempt to present as female began going into Target restrooms to “test” the policy. And in one case, a small bomb detonated in a Chicago-area Target bathroom, according to Raw Story.
— FrancesFlynnTho (@FrancesFlynnTho) July 3, 2016
Nevertheless, as recently as May 20, Target reported that the controversy hadn’t hurt sales at the retailer, according to the Advocate.
In response to the Target transgender policy, at least one community — Oxford, Alabama — passed legislation forbidding businesses from allowing individuals to use any bathroom other than the one that corresponds to their biological sex assigned at birth. The controversial law was later repealed, according to CNN.
Conservatives, such as former Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz, have long argued that allowing transgender individuals in bathrooms, locker rooms, and dressing rooms of their choice opens the door to perverts using the guise of being “transgender” to gain access to individuals of the opposite sex — particularly children — at a private and vulnerable moment.
“Grown adult men — strangers — should not be alone in a bathroom with little girls. And that’s not conservative. That’s not Republican or Democrat. That’s basic common sense.”
LGBTQ advocates say that concerns about perverts in bathrooms are overblown and that if anyone is going to be victimized in a bathroom, it’s likely to be a transgender individual. Such individuals, advocates say, face harassment, intimidation, and abuse for using the bathroom that corresponds to their biological sex, a claim backed up by a study by the Williams Institute and reported by Think Progress in 2013.
“Transgender and gender non-conforming people can find themselves in danger in the gendered spaces in our built environment. Until public policy and public administration can meet the challenge to address this problem and rethink our reliance on gender segregation in our built environment, the onus will always be on the individual to try to navigate these spaces safely.”
Police are trying to determine if Smith, the transgender woman who was caught taking pictures of a female in a Target changing room, may have illegally taken pictures of any other female shoppers.
[Image via Northfoto/Shutterstock]