Right-Wing Anti-LGBT Activists Are Sending Men Into Target Bathrooms to 'Test' the Store

Do you know how many reports of transgender people assaulting others in bathrooms there have been? The grand tally stands at none, a number also expressed as zero, zip, nil, nada. Yet several jurisdictions and states—North Carolina most notoriously—have passed “bathroom bills,” and a number of others have pending legislation targeting trans people and restroom access. In response to the ginned-up scaremongering at the heart of these laws, Target issued a message stating it “welcome[s] transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity.”

Now, anti-LGBT activists have appointed themselves restroom guardians, and have been going into bathrooms in the company’s stores to "test" the store's vigilance. Among the greatest ironies of this story is that these bigots claim they’re trying to protect women from trans people, yet they’re overwhelmingly men. In other words, a bunch of dudes, in the misguided name of safety, are invading women’s bathrooms. As if having a random guy in the bathroom while you go isn’t a bajillion times worse, more invasive and something far closer to harassment than having a trans woman in the stall next to you. It’s utterly ridiculous.

Sandy Rios of the American Family Association, the group that’s leading the Target boycott, went on “Breitbart News Daily” to spew a bunch of stuff that makes no sense but helps fuel the hysteria of those who’ve taken up the anti-LGBT agenda.

“Target’s actually lying,” show host Stephen Bannon states. “They’re not an inclusive company at all, are they? They’re trying to exclude people... that are decent, hard-working people that don’t want their four-year-old daughter to have to go into a bathroom with a guy with a beard in a dress.”

“I think there is no question that when you say that there are no barriers in the bathroom and that if men or women feel like they are men or women, the opposite of however they are equipped, and you have no restrictions, the net effect will be people will not be stopped,” Rios said.

“We’ve already had people testing this,” she added, “going into Targets and men trying to go into bathrooms. There is absolutely no barrier. And so 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.” 

Listen to the recording, courtesy of Right Wing Watch, below.

This is all balderdash, of course, and if only the right-wingers were half as concerned about actual sexual assaults against women, we might make real headway against rape culture. Instead, groups like Rios’ are adding fuel to a horribly misinformed movement that has led to 12 bathroom bills being currently considered in multiple states.

As if that isn’t bad enough, they’ve inspired others to step up their harassment game as well. A Chicago NBC news outlet reports on a man protesting Target’s welcoming bathroom policy and causing so much "panic among store employees and customers” that the police were called. And a Tennessee woman captured this video of Christians storming a local Target store and berating everyone inside with anti-LGBT nonsense. “It’s time to repent,” the man shouts in the video below. “It’s time to get right with god. Rip up your Target cards. It’s time to get rid of the rainbow! The rainbow belongs to god, not you!”

Lambda Legal offers a page full of questions and answers about the bathroom debate (if it can be called that when one side is shouting down a bunch of facts and statistics proving their cause has no basis) and information on your rights where your most private time is concerned, whatever your gender. And if you’d simply like to push back on the anti-LGBT discriminatory laws popping up all over the country, visit the National Center for Transgender Equality, which is doing great work on that front. 

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