I just learned that the American Family Association, a conservative, Christian, pro-family nonprofit organization, is calling for a boycott against Target due to the company's recent statement about encouraging its customers to use the bathroom for the gender with which they identify.
This makes me think of a few things right off the bat...
- It is not necessarily Target's responsibility to protect women and children, it's their responsibility to create an excellent and safe customer experience for all its customers. So far, I'm fairly certain transgendered females have, in fact, used the women's restroom at Target, and I haven't heard of any issues of an associated danger.
- The boycott sites fear of predators taking advantage of Target's bathroom policy as the motivating factor for being angry with Target. Bad people are going to do bad things whether there's a law against it or not, and women's bathrooms aren't inherently safe because they have a picture of a woman on the door.
- Security in the women's bathroom was never guaranteed before Target stated it would be inclusive of transgendered folk. If you're afraid of being preyed upon, learn self-defense, be aware of your surroundings, and travel with others. There are so many better ways to combat that fear than boycotting the store.
What I keep coming back to, though, is this quote that's been going around lately, "When you're accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression." Meaning, in this case, when LGBTQ are welcomed to use the restroom that makes them feel most comfortable (like heterosexual people have had the privilege of doing for years), some heterosexuals are going to get angry.
I'd like to call out the AFA and the Christians who've signed the petition. If what you're really upset about is the higher risk of women and children being preyed upon in the Target women's bathroom, just don't have your women and children go to the Target women's bathroom. I know women and children can be unpredictable, but there is some planning and preparation you could do ahead of time to help avoid the bathroom situation. If needed, you could even ask to be accompanied by a Target associate if you think it would make you feel safer. Something tells me this fear is not what's motivating your call to action, though. I believe you are more angry over transgendered folk being treated with dignity and respect. If that is the case, you are not following the example set before you in the life and commandments of Christ.
Jesus showed radical counterculture mercy to outspoken sinners and unexpected contempt for those who thought themselves above wrongdoing. His reactions to the Samaritan woman at the well, Zacchaeus the cheating tax collector, Mary with the alabaster box of oil, and then the rigtheous men of the town who condemned her Mary should give us all cause to ponder our thoughts and actions before we accuse or praise anyone.
From what I've read and seen, many in the LGBTQ community have had a bad relationship with the Church. Acting out of anger that the LGBTQ community is finding more freedom and inclusion is not the way to help rebuild those bridges. Christ wooed us with His grace when we didn't deserve it. He loved us before we loved Him. We are His messengers in this world, and hatred and fear are not a part of His message. Click here if you need a refresher on what His message does include.
Honestly, I think Target is closer to the WWJD mark on this one. As they said in their statement, "Everyone deserves to feel like they belong. And you’ll always be accepted, respected and welcomed at Target."