Our Opinion: Target boycott is a product of fear, ignorance
Target has adopted an enlightened, humane policy related to transsexuals. Naturally, the unenlightened and inhumane want the corporation to suffer for it.
The retail giant, which has a store in the Berkshire Mall, last week announced that transgender individuals can use bathrooms that match their gender identity. "Inclusivity is a core belief at Target," said the corporation in a blog post. "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."
This benign and thoughtful policy offended right-wing extremists harboring fantasy visions of evil transgender people skulking ladies' rooms across the nation. In urging a boycott of Target, the American Family Association hysterically declared that "Target's policy is exactly how sexual predators get access to their victims."
No, that is not "exactly how sexual predators get access." In fact, there is no incident on record of a transgender person or faux transgender person in disguise abusing anyone sexually in a rest room. Sexual predators are real, unfortunately, but this is not how they prey on victims.
Transgender Americans are an unlikely group to find itself in the middle of the latest American culture war. Transgender people are few in number and are victims of society's biases, not victimizers. (See Nicholas Kristof's column on the next page.) Passage of a North Carolina law discriminating against transgender people ignited a backlash against this callous prejudice, and now we're seeing the inevitable backlash against the backlash.
Target is one of many U.S. corporations that have demonstrated a social conscience in the wake of the North Carolina law and similarly discriminatory efforts elsewhere, and they are to be applauded for it. The non-reaction to the bathroom-fixated Senator Ted Cruz's fear-mongering of transgenders in the final days of his failed Republican presidential campaign suggests this is not exactly an issue that inflames Americans.
While, according to news reports, individual Target stores have been afflicted by extremists ranting about the evils of transgenders and men invading women's rooms to prove that it can be done, the corporation should be able to survive the boycott attempt. America is a better nation than its cruel, fearful members would suggest it is.
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