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Retail store makes change to bathroom, fitting room policies

Posted on Wednesday, April 27, 2016 at 9:44 am

General Manager/Editor Ron Schott

General Manager/Editor Ron Schott

Several Target customers shared their opinions last week on Social Media after the retail store created new bathroom and fitting room policies to assist people claiming to be transgender. The reason for their decision lines up with their support and belief in the Federal Equality Act.
This act asked Congress to include sexual orientation and gender identity in banning discrimination in areas of employment, housing access, access to credit, public education, and accommodations.
“Inclusivity is a core belief at Target,” a statement on their website said entitled ‘Continuing to Stand for Inclusivity.’ “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.”
Since the announcement, the reaction has been mixed among those who oppose this decision to those who are in support of Target’s efforts.
The opposition has already collected more than 550,000 signatures an online petition hosted by the American Family Association to boycott the retail store over its new policy.
This group says the policy “endangers women and children by allowing men to frequent women’s facilities.”
The number one concern cited is safety as there is concern the decision could result in an increase of sexual violence against women, men, or children in public bathrooms.
The AFA believes Target should instead have single occupancy unisex bathrooms for transgenders and others who want to use the bathroom alone. From reading many Social Media posts on this issue, it appears many in the opposition don’t fear transgenders in this policy change. More appear to be concerned with criminals pretending to be transgender for the sole purpose of gaining access to a bathroom to be in position for a crime.
Meanwhile, many supporters feel the opposition’s stance is overblown.
Some point to stories where, under the current set-up, criminals are already assaulting people in bathrooms of the opposite sex. Most supporters say they have no problem with the policy and that transgenders should be treated equally. By choosing the bathroom they want to associate with, the move will help transgenders receive their desired acceptance of who they are by others. The point of this editorial is to make you aware of an issue that isn’t going away. Not many people on both sides of the issue have discussed the fitting room policy change.
Outside of Target, states like North Carolina have recently passed a law that blocks transgender individuals from using public bathrooms that match their gender identity. It also stops cities from passing anti-discrimination ordinances to protect gay and transgender people.
Some North Carolina residents have sued the state for this new law. The NBA is threatening to move the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte (though my problem with this is the Hornets are in the NBA Playoffs right now. I guess that’s okay.)
The presidential candidates are also being asked about the issue.
I’m only writing this to let readers know that this issue isn’t going away.
The Target policy and proposed state laws will be discussed for the remainder of this year. The issue will dominate the headlines for some time to come and readers will have to decide which side of the fence they support.
I personally see points from both sides of this issue. In the situation with Target, this law is a positive for those in the transgender community looking for acceptance.
As a father though, I’m even more concerned about letting my kids go into a bathroom by themselves. We were already cautious about this but now am even more cautious for my daughter specifically as she gets older.
As I’ve told some folks on Social Media, my cause for concern is not about a person who identifies as a transgender.
My concern is for those using the label to access a bathroom of the opposite sex to do harm to others.
The policy is so vague. Basically, I could walk up to a women’s bathroom in Target now and just walk in. If someone asks me, I could say this is the bathroom in which I identify. Part of me wishes stores like Target would have just left their policy as it was. That choice doesn’t fix anything but it also doesn’t open up a can of worms that may never be shut if more retail stores follow in the near future.
What is definite is this issue will be discussed for the rest of this year and through the presidential election. You may get tired of reading about it already but I tell you it’s not going away anytime soon.