By Linda Bentley | May 4, 2016

Target facing massive boycott while stocks tank over transgender policy

‘Inclusivity is a core belief at Target. It’s something we celebrate’

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – On April 19 Target announced, “[W]e 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,” responding to a law passed in North Carolina that shot down a Charlotte ordinance providing special protections to LGBT people in places of “public accommodation.”

The American Family Association (AFA) followed up on Target’s announcement by calling for a boycott of Target and stated, “This means a man 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.”

Meanwhile, a man video recorded his trip to a Target store during which he asked a store employee if it was OK for him to use the women’s restroom since he felt “uncomfortable” using the men’s room.

The employee said it was perfectly alright and if anyone gave him any trouble about it to come and see him.

AFA stated, “Target’s policy is exactly how sexual predators get access to their victims. And with Target publicly boasting that men can enter women’s bathrooms, where do you think predators are going to go?”

However, AFA didn’t just ask people to boycott Target, it also proposed a common-sense approach and reasonable solution to the issue of transgendered customers: a unisex bathroom. It said, “Target should keep separate facilities for men and women, but for the trans community and for those who simply like using the bathroom alone, a single occupancy unisex option should be provided.”

That solution would not only benefit the transgender community but would also benefit fathers shopping with young daughters and mothers shopping with young sons.

Target decided instead to double down on defending its policy and stated it continues to “stand for inclusivity” in light of proposed laws in several states that require people to use the restrooms matching their biological gender.

Target stated, “Inclusivity is a core belief at Target. It’s something we celebrate. We stand for equality and equity, and strive to make our guests and team members feel accepted, respected and welcomed in our stores and workplaces every day.”

As of this writing, over 1,147,000 people signed AFA’s pledge to boycott Target, citing the store’s policy “endangers women and children by allowing men to frequent women’s facilities,” and pledging: “Until Target makes the safety of women and children a priority, I will shop elsewhere.”

The number of people who have pledged to boycott Target continues to increase substantially by the minute.

And while Target chose to double down rather than budge on its policy, its stock fell from $84.10 a share on April 19 to $79.36 a share on Friday, a loss of $4.74 per share, representing a $2.5 billion loss in stock value, only 10 days after announcing its transgender policy.

The National Health Interview Survey measuring Americans’ sexual orientation reported in July 2014 that 1.6 percent of the population identify as gay or lesbian and 0.7 percent identify as bisexual.

An April 2011 report by the Williams Institute estimated 3.8 percent of Americans identified as gay/lesbian, bisexual or transgender; with 1.7 percent as lesbian or gay, 1.8 percent as bisexual and 0.3 percent as transgender.

So, Target has enacted a policy that caters to 0.3 percent of the population (that may or may not be Target customers) at the expense of the safety of millions who shop at Target regularly.
But it’s not just Target, other corporations have since jumped on the transgender-catering bandwagon.

Last week, USA Today reported Starbucks, Hudson’s Bay Co. (HBC) – parent company to Lord & Taylor and Sacks Fifth Avenue – and Barnes & Noble all stated employees and customers in their stores are welcome to use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify.

HBC spokeswoman Tiffany Bourré told USA Today, “HBC respects and affirms each person’s right to self-identify and access facilities that reflect their gender identity.”

Mary Ellen Keating, a spokeswoman for Barnes & Noble, said, “As a company, Barnes & Noble treats all employees and customers with dignity and respect. For our transgender employees and customers, that means that they are allowed to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with.”

Starbucks said it was “looking into additional opportunities to have more gender-neutral signage in our restrooms where jurisdictions allow it.”

Target is now investigating who may have posted the warning signs in the women’s restroom at its Keizer, Oregon store that read:

“Attention Ladies: Target Corp. has publicly announced that men may now use the women’s restroom (and vise versa), no questions asked. Please be cautious. Report suspected hidden cameras. Report loitering or peeping individuals and especially use your good judgment about sending children or teens into the restroom alone.”

Target claims the policy isn’t new and only recently announced it publicly in response to legislation passed in North Carolina and now several other states requiring people to use the restroom that corresponds with their biological gender.