Target boycott: What are you really fighting for?

Target boycott: What are you really fighting for?

If you’ve been living under a rock, you might not have heard about the boycotts against Target happening across the country in the last few weeks. And if that’s the case, let me enlighten you.

Essentially, the issue is that the American Family Association (an officially classified hate group) wanted Target to retract their transgender bathroom policy. What they would prefer is that Target insist that customers use the bathroom of the sex they were assigned at birth. (i.e. If it says ‘female’ on your birth certificate, then you must use the women’s bathroom.) As an inclusive corporation, Target refused to discriminate against their customers by denying their sexual identities. And over the last few weeks, I have had people throw seemingly valid arguments at me as to why this rule change would make sense. But if you dig even slightly deeper, the logic dissipates.

“Allowing men into women’s bathrooms puts women in danger.” There is absolutely no evidence to back up this scare tactic, given that transgendered people have been using public bathrooms since they invented public bathrooms and it has not caused a problem so far. Men pose a threat to women on a daily basis, but probably least likely while they’re pooping.

“If you send men and women (read ‘penis’ and ‘vagina’ here) into the same bathroom, where is the privacy?” Well, I don’t know how often these people actually use public bathrooms, but they almost always have these fancy things called stalls. With doors! If there is a transgendered person with the opposite genitalia as you, you will in all likelihood never notice because we all still do our business in as much private as necessary.

“I don’t want my little girl being in the bathroom with some grown man who identifies as a woman.” If they understood the concept of sexual reassignment surgeries/hormonal injections, then they would realize that asking transgendered men (born as women) to use the same bathroom as their little girl is actually much more threatening in terms of potential attacks. With steroids and hormone injections, a transgendered person who was born a woman will be as physically strong as any man. They’re also asking young transgender girls (born as boys) to use the bathroom with fully grown men, which doesn’t seem to be deemed as much of a threat. And it’s interesting to note that all of these supposedly harmful men have always used the bathroom with their little boys, and no one is worried.

“If we let transgendered people use the wrong bathrooms, a pedophile could dress up in drag and molest my child while they are in the bathroom.” This is the most frequently stated and most ridiculous of the arguments for this boycott. First of all, 75% of all child molestations happen by someone your child knows well, not by a stranger in a bathroom. Secondly, transgendered people have been using the bathrooms of their self-identified gender for decades and no one has noticed. Thirdly, the majority of sexual assault crimes are a man dressing up as a woman – he will just do it as a man, out in public.

“I don’t understand what it is like to be transgendered, it scares me, and I just want it to go away.” While this argument isn’t based in logic, it’s the only genuine concern behind this boycott. Because instead of trying to be empathetic to how these people would feel being forced to use the bathroom of a sex with which they don’t identify, they throw around scare tactics and hateful stereotypes. All this does is engender more hate, more violence. Before we judge and exile others for something we don’t fully understand, let’s take a step back, reevaluate our fears, and ask ourselves: does this really matter to me? Does this really affect me? Because it really affects them.

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