Your friendly neighborhood Target store has taken a very bold step in the name of fairness and inclusivity. As they explain in their official corporate statement: “…we welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity.”
Why? Because “We believe that everyone—every team member, every guest, and every community—deserves to be protected from discrimination and treated equally.”
This ill-advised policy change will end up hurting them badly in the long run in ways they never anticipated, and not just because of the mushrooming boycott against them. There are five significant reasons their new potty policy will leave them with a massive mess to clean up in every store and with their very strong brand.
1. Single-Sex Bathrooms Weren’t Discriminatory Yesterday
Target’s move is a solution to a brand new and manufactured problem. They made this change because, in their own words, they want employees and customers to be “protected from discrimination and treated fairly.” This obviously means employees and customers faced discrimination and unfairness prior to this policy. Of course, that’s not good.
But consider that earlier this year—prior to their potty policy change—Target received a glowing 100 percent rating from the Human Rights Campaign on its Corporate Equality Index, which rewards a company’s adherence to “a new era of corporate equality, one that includes standards for basic workplace protections” for gay, lesbian, and trans employees.
At the time HRC bestowed this perfect rating upon Target, Target had the same bathroom policy that we have at Focus on the Family. As of this year, HRC did not even require such bathroom inclusiveness as a basic standard of LGBT equality in the workplace. Nearly all of HRC’s other 100 percent-rated companies “discriminate” against trans employees and customers in their bathroom policies, essentially holding the same policies that North Carolina does: Home Depot, IKEA, Hyatt Hotels, Kellogg Co, Macy’s, McDonalds, Office Depot, Shell, Starbucks, Walgreens, Walt Disney, and Wells Fargo, to name a few. This fluorescent inconsistency demonstrates the subjectivity and trendiness of the issue.
2. Target Is Solving No Real Problem
Honestly, how many Target stores have ever had a real problem with transgender people feeling discriminated against, bathroom-wise, prior to this change? It would likely take less than one hand to count them. This is because there is no real problem.
Target’s spokeswoman, Molly Snyder, unwittingly gave the practical, common-sense solution to anyone feeling uncomfortable using the facility that aligns with his or her biological gender. In response to the negative publicity their new policy has earned, Snyder sought to allay safety concerns, telling USA Today that Target stores “have single-stall, family restrooms for those who may be more comfortable with that option.”
Of course, these are those larger, single-use facilities that anyone can use without question, regardless of sex. Isn’t that essentially a transgender facility? But trans activists have said they would not be satisfied with a separate but equal potty. So this is not actually about the basic right to relieve basic bodily functions, but cultural acceptance.
In fact, one leading transgender activist admits public bathrooms are seldom an actual problem. On a recent WGBH public television talk show, he explains (at 4:06), “I am a transgender women, and visibly so. I am six foot, four; it’s easy to tell that I’m trans. And I have been using public restrooms successfully all over the country for nine years now, without any trouble.”
3. Some Men Will Exploit This Policy to Cruise Women’s Restrooms
Advocates pushing such bills respond to the warning of danger these policies create for women and children by casually but duplicitously explaining there is no instance of a trans person molesting a child in a bathroom. Such reassurance is no assurance ,as it intentionally misses the point. Such policies—and this is now true for Target—say any restroom is open to any person. Any man will be able to enter and occupy any woman’s restroom, and all he has to do is explain that he is indeed a woman. But this is not altogether true.
After their policy change, a Target customer wanted to clarify that as a man, he could use the woman’s bathroom under their new policy with no explanation. A store manager told him emphatically (at 2:09; although the video has since been removed, retrieved audio is here) that he most certainly could. When the customer asked what he should do if women complained about him being there, the manager simply said they should be told to come speak to him and he will explain the policy.
The same policy exists at Planet Fitness, where a man can and did use the woman’s locker room because he chose to. When a woman complained to the staff about a man undressing in the women’s locker room, she was the one who was corrected and her membership taken away. Planet Fitness’ official corporate policy explains, “Our gender identity nondiscrimination policy states that members and guests may use all gym facilities based on their sincere self-reported gender identity.” But only if they’re sincere.
This Seattle man demonstrated the danger of such laws when he entered a woman’s locker room at the city pool and started to undress. When mothers and girls expressed alarm, he told city officials that he had a right to be there under Washington’s new gender non-discrimination law. The authorities investigated the man’s seemingly outlandish claim and found he was correct.
There are plenty of stories where sex offenders have used this and similar substantial loopholes for their own twisted purposes, here, here and here. In fact, one of the key leaders working to degender Charlotte, North Carolina’s bathroom policy was a registered sex offender, convicted for molesting boys.
4. Target Is Risking Its Primary Clientele
Target’s policy puts mothers and their children—the chain’s primary customers—at significantly heightened risk. A wise mother will no longer be able to let her daughter use a Target restroom by herself, and she will be put on high alert for her own safety and dignity while there. This will obviously make her next Target shopping experience less enjoyable, if she even goes.
Target has foolishly told its core customer base their right to safety, modesty, and security must take a back seat to the feelings and politics of 0.2 to 0.3 percent of our nation’s total population.
5. Gender Identity Is Subjective
At its root, this new policy mess Target created for itself is rooted in this bald truth: Gender identity does not exist in any objective or quantifiable sense. There is simply no physiological, legal, medical, or physical-appearance criteria that a transgender person must meet to be properly distinguished as such. That “reality” exists solely in the mind of the individual making the claim.
This is unmistakably clear in HRC’s own definition of gender identity: “One’s innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both or neither – how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves.”
What Target has created with their new policy and its expansive subjectivity is a pretty good description of madness. It will end up blowing up in their face.