You Have No Idea How Much This Hurts Me

images

I’ve only boycotted one store in my entire life; a shop in Highland Park, IL:  I was looking for a formal dress to wear to a black-tie function Mike and I were attending at a higher-end dress shop. I wandered around the small shop for about 10 minutes while the sales associates were huddled together. They looked at me a few times, but made absolutely no effort to help me, or even ask if I needed help. So I left; but not before letting them know that I was in the market for two formal gowns and they lost not only my sale that day, but I would never set foot in that place again. A couple years later, one of my aunts was coming to Chicago to look for several formal dresses and this shop was on her list to look. She had the financial means to buy the whole shop!, let alone a few gowns, but I told her we wouldn’t give them her business. That may have been spiteful of me, I’ll admit. But I took a stand by letting them know their lack of employee attentiveness would not be rewarded.

But today, I’ve made the difficult decision to boycott Target.

I was actually tempted to a couple months back when they made the decision to remove gender-specific signage in their stores ~ including children’s clothing and bedding. It bugged me a bit, but I didn’t know if that was a big enough cause to object to. Their corporate explanation was a teeny bit more understandable, although I felt the real motivation was the protection of the small portion of the population that identifies itself as LGBT. But I let it go.

I can no longer let it go. I have written a letter to Target Corporate Headquarters to inform them of my decision. And if they lost me as a customer alone, they’re losing some income, let me assure you! Target is where I do 95% of my grocery shopping. I have a Target Debit Card, and appreciate the 5% discount it brings. I have the Cartwheel app on my phone for additional sales and specials. I really love shopping at Target. But I can’t stand by anymore because of their shift of policy regarding bathrooms and gender identity. This is from their website:

Target (NYSE:TGT) will allow transgender visitors to its stores to use the bathroom and fitting room that best aligns with that person’s gender identity.

The statement comes on the heels of North Carolina’s move to restrict public restroom use to the gender listed on a person’s birth certificate. The measure has sparked a national debate with several companies and celebrities announcing opposition and joining in a boycott.

Target is the first national retailer to take a position and issue a statement.

“Inclusivity is a core belief at Target. 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,” read a statement posted to Target’s website.

“We regularly assess issues and consider many factors such as impact to our business, guests and team members. 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 recently announced a new line of gender-neutral furniture for kids, removed gender-specific signage in the toy department and launched a summer marketing campaign that celebrates women of all body types.

I’m not angrily boycotting. I don’t have hate for anyone. I have no problem with every public building having gender-neutral bathrooms for those whose gender identity does not match the genitalia they were born with. But I have a real problem with a man freely allowed to use the restroom with myself, my daughters and my granddaughters inside. Until Target wants to ‘stand for equality and equity’ for the likes of me: a heterosexual woman who has no hate in her heart towards any human being, but simply prefers to keep public restrooms separated by a person’s anatomical identity, I will be forced to take my business elsewhere.

This can be huge and it can get ugly. I genuinely hope it doesn’t. But I don’t believe that we can stand idly by and get frustrated and complain, without being willing to take some proactive measures. This really hurts me. If you will, pray about it and see if you’re led to join me. I won’t be making a huge social media tirade about it; I’m simply going to take a strong, firm stand for what is right in my eyes and God’s eyes.

 

Share

Comments

  1. Debra Els says:

    Very well written Kim!! Thank you and I support you 100%.

  2. Pastor Charlie M Carter Jr says:

    I agree, and also believe (real) females should have privacy, and feel safe.

  3. Jodi Kindle says:

    I agree. And I’m sure they won’t be the only one. But they’re a great place to start and lead by example with. Thank you for writing and sharing this.

  4. Caroline Swartwood says:

    I just made the same decision this week after reading the information from their website. I’ve unsubscribed from their email list and deleted the app. The target card will be out of my wallet. Privacy is now compromised and potential safety issues are left wide open.

  5. Lindsey says:

    Kim, thank you for taking a stand. I love how you included that you are not doing this out of spite or anger, because that is exactly how I feel. It’s not a decision based on bitterness, but a longing to hold true to a conviction. I pray more and more that we as believers stand strong together in the days ahead and encourage one another to uphold God’s values just as you are.

  6. PAMELA HOUSTON says:

    ABSOLUTELY!! I DID THE SAME!

  7. Laura says:

    I agree with you Kim 100% percent. Maybe we should have all private single used bathrooms. It would be safer…for all.

  8. Nina Brooks says:

    Kim
    I agree with you 100%. Target will no longer have my business.

  9. Joshua Hook says:

    Kim, I appreciate you sharing your opinion. This is a complex issue. Many individuals who identify as transgender undergo surgery and hormone therapy to align their physical appearance with their gender identity. Because of this, my sense is that forcing a transgender male who was born a female to use the women’s bathroom, as you suggest, would likely be even more uncomfortable for you.

    I was also curious if you have any family members or close friends who identify as transgender. Part of the reason for my shift to being more compassionate to the rights of transgender individuals had to do with hearing the stories of struggle, pain, prejudice, and even acts of violence that transgender individuals experience. We live in a culture that is binary about gender. Transgender individuals are often on the outside looking in, struggling to fight for even their basic human rights. If you don’t have a personal connection, one film that I think does a good job portraying the experience of a transgender individual is ‘Boys Don’t Cry.’ Also, this is a helpful article by Mark Yarhouse, one of the leading Christian researchers on transgender issues (http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2015/july-august/understanding-transgender-gender-dysphoria.html).

    On a related note, I was curious what bathroom you would suggest intersex individuals use. Sometimes I have found that Christians who are opposed to transgender rights do experience compassion for intersex individuals. It can be a starting point to recognize that gender isn’t always the simple issue that we (luckily) experience it to be.

  10. Kim says:

    You’re absolutely right, Joshua; it’s very complex. My opinion is this: if an individual has had surgery and therapy to align their physical appearance, I believe they would use the restroom their physical appearance ‘matches’. I do not have family that has identified as transgender, and believe me, I have compassion! My solution would be to build more gender neutral/unisex bathrooms.
    When we were in California, Human Resources would hold informational meetings every year; the evolution of this issue was that a man or woman can determine on a DAILY basis, which gender they identify with that particular day, and their rights are covered in choosing a different bathroom each day.
    My main concern is this: how is this policed? If I were a heterosexual pedophile, or had a perverted sexual dispensation, the first thing I’d do is dress as a ‘transgender’ and use the opposite restroom. There’s really no end to the potential issues that could arise. I believe Target, in an effort to appease such a minute part of the population, has overlooked the rest of us and left loopholes in the policy that could quite easily put many at risk. As I stated, this doesn’t come from a place of hate or outrage, it’s simply an attempt to not stand idly by. With an eye on how the interpretation of the law has evolved in California, I believe it’s important to take a stand.

  11. Joshua Hook says:

    I want to honor the fears that some folks have for their safety and security, and I also want to acknowledge that as a man, I probably experience less risk in this type of situation. So I want to make sure I listen to the opposite perspective.

    I do think it may be important to remember that if someone is the type of person that would commit a sex crime, they probably have little regard for the bathroom rules that are already in place. My hunch is that changing the bathroom rules to be more accommodating to transgender individuals would not increase the number is sex crimes that occur in public bathrooms, but I’m open to the possibility I may be wrong if there is research that I don’t know about.

    One final thought: What does Christian compassion toward transgender individuals look like in practice? What should it look like? Is it just a feeling? Or does it need to be connected to support and advocacy? I’m thinking of the story of the Good Samaritan. It wasn’t enough just to feel sorry for the man who was robbed and left for dead, true compassion involved money, time, effort, etc.

Leave a Comment

*