A conservative group protesting Target’s transgender-friendly bathroom policy claims it’s sending men into women’s restrooms at stores across the country to test the rule.
According to the Huffington Post, it’s not clear whether Target knows of any protesters posing as transgender in its stores or whether this has even occurred.
But YouTube videos show men doing just that and challenging store employees face-to-face about the policy.
On Monday, a report of an “active shooter” at a Target store in Bradley, Ill., turned out to be a man protesting the bathroom policy and causing a disturbance, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Sandy Rios, director of governmental affairs for the American Family Association, said Monday that the group is concerned that women and children could be victimized by men who enter female restrooms while falsely claiming to be transgender.
“I think there’s no question that when you say that there are no barriers in the bathroom ... the net effect will be that people will not be stopped,” Rios said on the conservative radio show “Breitbart News Daily.”
“We’ve already had people testing this, going into Targets and men trying to go into bathrooms. There is absolutely no barrier.
“The chief concern, even more than just, I think, trauma, certainly for little girls of having men dressed like women coming in their bathrooms, the chief concern of the American Family Association is the predators who will take advantage.”
Said radio host Stephen Bannon: “Decent, hard-working people ... don’t want their 4-year-old daughter to have to go into a bathroom with a guy with a beard in a dress.”
The group launched a nationwide boycott last month after Minneapolis-based Target announced that transgender customers and employees in its stores can use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity.
The announcement came amid growing controversy in several states about whether people should be required to use public bathrooms that match the gender on their birth certificate.
“Given the specific questions these legislative proposals raised about how we manage our fitting rooms and restrooms, we felt it was important to state our position,” Target said in its statement.
“In our stores, we demonstrate our commitment to an inclusive experience in many ways. Most relevant for the conversations currently underway, we welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity.”
North Carolina’s new law preventing transgender people from using bathrooms that align with their gender identity has led to a flood of protest.
Corporations such as Deutsche Bank and PayPal have put expansion plans on hold. Entertainers, such as Bruce Springsteen and Ringo Starr, have canceled appearances in the state. The NCAA threatened to move tournaments scheduled in the state elsewhere.
Backlash also affected the state’s venerable High Point Market, the largest home furnishings industry show in the world. Several large buyers, including Williams-Sonoma, which owns Pottery Barn and West Elm, did not attend the fair last month.
The AFA started a Target boycott in response and now claims to have more than 1 million signatures. USA Today reported that the boycott has had some affect but any long-term fallout seems unlikely.
Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder told USA Today the company doesn’t comment on whether sales and traffic have declined outside of earnings releases.
The AFA’s #BoycottTarget campaign on Twitter has met with mixed reviews.