Photo: Amy Palm

I am a man. I’m not that frequent of a shopper in Target’s stores. I am, first and foremost, a conscious consumer who generally isn’t loyal to big-box stores. Their recent reiteration in policy as to who they will allow to use each restroom concerns me—I mean, it’s important to me that I can use some sort of bathroom if I really need to, just like anyone else. They stated in their blog post, “We believe that everyone…deserves to be protected from discrimination and treated equally.” and “…you’ll always be accepted, respected, and welcomed at Target.” As a supporter of free markets, I fully support their right to do whatever they choose to as a company, so long as it isn’t encroaching on anyone else’s rights. As a critical thinker, though, I also completely understand why they would disregard some people’s irrelevant and unfounded fears for the sake of the safety of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals.

I know that everyone wants to feel some sense of security, peace-of-mind, and non-vulnerability. I know that even heterosexual people struggle with having to use public bathrooms because they’re often unkempt and enclosed and generally sort of creepy. I also know that, as of September 2012, a Gallup poll showed that approximately 96.6% of Americans don’t identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. This means that we have a majority in this country who would probably find it difficult to empathize with the unique experiences of others who are actually in the minority.

Let’s also look at a couple of other statistics, taken from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law and the U.S. Department of Justice:

7 in 10 transgendered people will be the victim of denial of access to bathroom facilities, verbal harassment, or physical assault in their lifetime.

9 in 10 people who sexually molest a child know the victim personally, so it’s more likely that Uncle Bob would cross-dress and expose himself to Little Susie than a stranger. In that case, Target’s policy change wouldn’t have mattered anyway.

If anyone is allowed to “claim” an identity of a gender not their own, they still don’t have the legal ability to harass or assault someone else. There’s not a single circumstance in history where a person got away with raping a child just because he or she claimed transgendered status.

We’ve taken the FEELINGS of A RANDOM BLOGGER into account and in one careless post suggested to the entire country that the safety of a vulnerable class of people is of no concern to some of us.

I have questions:

How can you ensure that the people entering the restrooms of the opposite gender are not, indeed, of the “gender persuasion” they are currently claiming to identify with? Should we start having genital checkpoints at the door of every bathroom in America? Would this be sufficient enough?

Are you willing to always accompany your young children into a public bathroom to prevent any kind of sexual assault, or is it just the fear that people posing as transexuals might do something?

Why can’t a man hell-bent on raping children or harassing women pose as a woman already and go into a Women’s restroom for whatever devious purposes? Do you actually believe that the sign is stopping them? Isn’t a Women’s-Only Bathroom (i.e. a Man-Free Bathroom) sort of like a Gun-Free Zone?

How should someone handle an instance where a young boy in a Men’s bathroom sees a man’s private parts and it has to be explained a) why he saw this man’s genitals and b) why no one else was accompanying the young boy to the Men’s bathroom in the first place?

And, lastly:

WHY should anyone be willing to forego the physical safety of an actually-threatened group of people just to appease the inconsistent and poorly-argued opinions of even a large mass of people?

I’ve often “boycotted” a company based on my disagreement with their views or policies. However, I would never refuse to use a company just because a pseudo-compassionate movement suggests I should.

Target, you haven’t lost me as a customer. Not necessarily. I’d just suggest that you keep maintaining the cleanest bathrooms you can, regardless of who ends up using them.

[Read the original blog post that this mirrors here.]


  1. I read the letter that you responded to and… wow. The lack of understanding is astounding.

    The fear that someone “could” identify as another gender just so they could do just that is just absolutely wrong and nothing more than paranoia.

    As much as this person claims that she does not have an issue with transgender people but with people who may claim to be, I think this type of paranoia could spill over and affect transgender people anyway.

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