A backlash is growing against retail giant Target Corp. after its announcement this week that it will allow men or women who claim to be transgender to use whichever bathroom or changing room they choose while shopping or working at their stores.
After two days of a social media firestorm, forces are now gathering to #BoycottTarget over its bathroom policy.
On Tuesday, April 19, the retailer put out a statement welcoming transgender people to its stores, saying it celebrates “inclusivity,” insisting the company “strive[s] to make our guests and team members feel accepted, respected and welcomed in our stores and workplaces every day.”
The retailer added, “We welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity.”
The day after the department store chain’s announcement, the backlash began. By Thursday, many were flooding Facebook and Twitter with missives urging people to boycott the retail giant, with many of the posts linking to a new effort launched by the American Family Association (AFA).
AFA launched its effort on Thursday because, it said, Target “would allow men to use the women’s restrooms and dressing rooms in their stores.”
AFA added that Target’s policy tells a sexual predator he “can simply say he ‘feels like a woman today’ and enter the women’s restroom … even if young girls or women are already in there.”
“Clearly, Target’s new policy poses a danger to wives and daughters,” AFA warned. “We think many customers will agree. And we think the average Target customer is willing to pledge to boycott Target stores until it makes protecting women and children a priority.”
In the meantime, thousands of potential Target customers are warning the chain they will no longer shop there.
Facebook users posted thousands of complaints on Target’s own Facebook page. Customers like Mark Spence were adamant:
Angela DeVivo Piazza also urged her friends to “unlike” Target’s Facebook page as an added jab at the retailer:
According to even the most generous assessment, the number of transgender Americans amounts to only 0.3 percent of the country, meaning that less than half-a-percent of the nation claims to be transgender. A review of the 2010 census data says only 1 in 2,400 Americans change their name from one sex to the other.
Twitter users were equally incensed by Target’s announcement:
— Cathy Knowlson (@Ckbeme) April 21, 2016
— JewishPrincess (@LuvRedWhiteBlue) April 21, 2016
And many, like Jordan Cook and others, worried for the safety of women and children in Target stores:
— Linda Rizzo (@rizzole9) April 20, 2016
— ProperGander News (@BamaStephen) April 21, 2016
I wonder how safe women shopping at Target are going to feel when a man follows her and her small children to the bathroom!? #BoycottTarget
— Jordan Cook † (@jayyleighcook) April 21, 2016
This is not the first time the chain waded into gay-friendly and left-wing issues. On its corporate website, there are many posts and announcements celebrating the LGBT lifestyle.
Furthermore, last year, Target was a corporate sponsor of the “Out & Equal” conference, a summit aimed at forcing corporations into adopting gay-friendly workplace policies.
The company was also praised by gay groups for its “It Gets Better” campaign meant to boost the status of homosexuality in the U.S.
In addition, Target raised the ire of many with its decision to re-engineer its kids’ sections when in August of 2015 the chain announced it was eliminating “gender specific” labels and store signage for kids’ clothing and toy sections.
This is not the only issue Target has taken on. Nearly a year before, the company demanded that customers “not bring firearms” into stores, despite legal concealed-carry laws saying gun owners may do so.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.