The so-called “bathroom controversy” continues, and the latest point of interest in the debate involves retail giant Target’s recent declaration on behalf of those who seek to choose, based on “gender identity,” which bathroom to use in the company’s stores. Target posted a message on its website last week announcing that the store would now “welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity. …Everyone deserves to feel like they belong.” To the uninitiated, “gender identity” does not refer to the gender one actually is, as determined by the biological plumbing that characterizes his or her person. Instead, gender identity refers to the idea that one may see himself or herself as a being a member of a gender that is actually different from that which is otherwise defined by his or her physically-represented gender, and that, in this case, a person may choose to use the bathroom of the gender he or she sees himself (or herself) as being. The bottom line is that this means men who choose to see themselves as women will be permitted to use the women’s rest room at Target, and vice versa.
A targeted (no pun intended) public response to the retailer’s announcement has been engineered by the conservative action group American Family Association. The group is urging a boycott of Target, with group president Tim Wildmon saying that Target’s new policy “poses a danger to our wives and daughters,” and that what it is now allowing “is exactly how sexual predators get access to their victims.” Already, there are hundreds of thousands of signatures on an associated AFA petition, the #BoycottTarget pledge. The AFA has proposed that Target, rather than allowing anyone to use either of the existing bathroom options that he or she chooses, add a “gender neutral” bathroom to its stores, but there is no sign as yet the retailer has any interest in such an idea.
By Robert G. Yetman, Jr. Editor At Large