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Bathroom battles

Target makes restrooms transgender-inclusive

Matt Olson, Copy Editor

Last Tuesday, Target announced a new transgender-inclusive restroom policy as a response to recent transphobic legislation, particularly North Carolina’s much-maligned “bathroom bill,” but the move has put the popular retailer in the self-appointed American Family Association’s crosshairs.

Target’s new policy allows for transgender individuals to use the restrooms and fitting rooms of their choices. Conservative groups like the AFA have used the opportunity to ignite ire in the hearts and minds of the nation’s most backwards residents and stoke support for their transphobic cause. A petition to boycott Target, started by the AFA last Wednesday, had, by Monday, drawn more than 500,000 signatures.

Those behind the boycott warn that women and children will be endangered by sexual predators, but whether they mean that transgender individuals will be predatory or that predators will pose as trans individuals remains unclear. Regardless, the argument is illogical and dehumanizing – trans individuals are not some scary, sexually deviant “other,” but people who do not identify with their respective birth genders. The only thing trans people want to do with the bathroom of their choice is to use it.

One of the chief problems with groups like the AFA is their use of the terms “American” and “family” to narrow down the definitions of what those words could mean. In the eyes of the AFA, the ideal American family for which they have become associated is heterosexual, cisgender, Christian and probably white. Groups like these use fear and hatred to garner support in the name of being righteous and wholesome.

Target deserves commendation for its contribution to acceptance and inclusivity in the American market- and workplace. Detractors may view the new policy as an opportunistic attempt to gain publicity and support, but the company has maintained its strong stance in the wake of public backlash. With luck, Target’s new approach will usher in a new wave of businesses’ implementing trans-inclusive policies.

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