Thousands threaten to boycott Target over transgender bathroom policy

Posted April 28

The American Family Association, a conservative Christian advocacy group, claims to have gathered more than a half million signatures of people promising to boycott Target stories over the company's policy allowing employees and guests to use the bathroom that matches "their gender identity."

According to USA Today, "The petition started by the American Family Association (last week) raises concerns that Target's inclusive stance on transgender rights encourages sexual predators and puts women and young girls in danger, because "a man can simply say he 'feels like a woman today' and enter the women's restroom."

That's an issue that has been raised legislatively by several states. North Carolina has a law that mandates individuals use the restroom matching the gender on their birth certificates. Several other states have such proposals pending, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Related legislation was vetoed in South Dakota and failed in Mississippi, Tennessee and Virginia, according to the group.

According to the NCSL, "Seventeen states have considered legislation in 2016 that would restrict access to multiuser restrooms, locker rooms, and other sex-segregated facilities on the basis of a definition of sex or gender consistent with sex assigned at birth or 'biological sex.'” It also noted "a handful of states considered bathroom bills in 2015, including: Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Texas and Wisconsin. None of these bills were enacted. Arizona also introduced a bathroom bill that failed to pass in 2013."

Today reported the North Carolina law has prompted an economic backlash and "has led to everything from billion-dollar companies withdrawing investments from the state to Bruce Springsteen canceling a show in Greensboro in protest of the law."

A Target blog post last week put the retailer, headquartered in Minneapolis with 1,793 stores in the United States, front and center in the debate. "In our stores, we demonstrate our commitment to an inclusive experience in many way," the company wrote. "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."

In addition to the petition, CNN Money quoted one commentator from Indianapolis: "That means I won't be using your bathrooms or dressing rooms in the future. May have to rethink some other things too."

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