Target showed that it is on the side of progress once again. Last year Target desegregated the toy aisles, and this year it’s creating inclusive bathroom policies. Target’s recent blog post announced the changed the bathroom policy in its stores. It reads: “transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity.”
While those who seek equal rights for all are celebrating, of course some people are being sticks in the mud about Target’s new policy and are threatening to boycott. The most insistent about this boycott has been the conservative-Christian-activist group American Family Association.
Its argument is that allowing transgender people to use whichever bathroom they choose opens up safety issues for children also using the bathroom – specifically young girls are now apparently at risk of rape.
At a glance, this argument supposes that all trans men are rapists, or are sexually deviant and therefore are perverse.
The first problem with this is assuming that transgender people are somehow perverse and more likely to rape or sexually assault people.
Do you know where this argument was used last? To justify lynchings after the Civil War. Black men were perceived as “sexual predators” who preyed upon women and children.
See the Scottsboro Boys and the 1932 Supreme Court case Powell v. Alabama, or the trial of Emmett Till. Historically America has unjustly slain people for the supposed “sexual protection” of white women and children.
So let’s back away from the argument that transgender people are sexual predators. It is dangerous.
There are no statistics to back up the supposition that trans men are more likely to commit sexual assault. In fact, according to the Office for Victims of Crime, one out of every two transgender people will face sexual violence in their lifetime – making transgender people more than twice as likely as cisgendered women to encounter sexual violence. Cisgender is term for people whose gender identity aligns with the gender they were assigned at birth.
The second problem with that is that we do not make laws that restrict freedoms based on perceived sexual deviance.
This kind of thinking would say that since most reported rapists are men, men shouldn’t be allowed to be in inherent “female spaces” like tampon aisles or bra shops.
This argument would ban all men from entering places that children frequent, you know, for “safety.” This is rape culture – that women and children should be afraid of men because men hold the capacity to rape – as if women were not capable of rape as well.
This issue is multifaceted and requires understanding of personal freedoms. We cannot let the fear of what others are capable of doing dictate the rights of all.
We cannot restrict anyone’s freedom to go where they please with the supposition that we are all innocent until proven guilty. We do not make preventative laws based on perceived misconceptions that impair the constitution-given right to inhabit the spaces in which we choose.
Stop using children to validate your intolerance. This was never about bathrooms – just like it was never about water fountains. This is about the collective ignorance of a loud group that wishes to stomp on the rights of others. Your uncomfortability does not necessitate the ostracization of those that are different than you.
Stop signing petitions under the guise of “protecting the children.”
We all use the same bathrooms at home.
Stop caring about other people’s genitalia. It makes you look a little weird when you go around accusing people of being in the “wrong” bathroom. So shush.
Your hissy fit makes you look weird and your argument only adds to the transphobic nature of our society that results in the ignorance that ends up inciting violence against the trans community.
Work to be inclusive. Work to be better. Be like Target. Or else suffer at Wal-Mart.