While the nation uproar related to the recent passage of several laws explicating defining gender as that which was identified biologically at birth, there has been a strong division among many people—friends included. Political stances have been taken by not only individuals and social groups, but celebrities and corporations such as PayPal as well. The stance; by not allowing people that identify as a gender other that that which has been “biologically assigned” to them, States are discriminating against the LGBT community as a whole. Boycotts have been called from both sides of the lines. Businesses that have taken a stance, such as PayPal’s move to cease opening a new North Carolina facility in light of recent legislation, have left many calling for Boycotts of entire States.
Among the latest corporate interests to throw their hat into this political ring, Target has recently announced their commitment to individual rights—clarifying their company-wide bathroom usage policy:
We believe that everyone—every team member, every guest, and every community—deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally. Consistent with this belief, Target supports the federal Equality Act, which provides protections to LGBT individuals, and opposes action that enables discrimination.
In our stores, we demonstrate our commitment to an inclusive experience in many ways. Most relevant for the conversations currently underway, we welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity.
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.
Everyone deserves to feel like they belong. And you’ll always be accepted, respected and welcomed at Target.
As to be expected, this announcement has solicited both praise and condemnation from those interested in the debate, and has sparked many to frame the position in such light. Words can be politicized, and stories sensationalized; video and imagery tend to boil off the brine and show the cold reality of events usually. In this case, the man [not] shown in the video walks into Target, very courteously asks to speak to a store representative regarding Target’s new bathroom policy. The man, under the impression Target’s new policy for commitment to individual rights will allow him to enter the women’s restroom at will, is asked to wait for a moment while a supervisor is called to the front to speak to him.
The man then asks the supervisor to clarify the new restroom policy, stating also that using the men’s restroom makes him uncomfortable and that he wishes to use the women’s. He also states that he wanted to clarify his right to do this; to avoid creating a scene within the store. With no questions or clarifications asked, the supervisor informs the man that he is, in fact, welcomed to use the women’s restroom if he desires illustrating that this new policy will help LGBT individuals feel more comfortable in their gender identities, but also allow non-LGBT persons to take advantage of the situation. A plead for people to do the right thing will never outweigh the drive of malicious individuals to take advantage of any opening possible. It’s why your computer has a firewall, it’s why our nation has borders, and it’s why that “freedom” episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philedelphia ended up with Vietnamese gamblers playing Russian Roulette in the basement of Paddy’s Pub and people shooting Heroine in the upstairs.
With all likelyhood, this national conversation is headed in one of several directions; the call for some new form of federal identification cards, the unification of bathrooms to create non-gender discriminating facilities, or the creation of an extra bathroom for certain individuals. In any scenario, somebody loses—and in the interim people will be taking advantage of every inch of uncertainty as States, corporations, and private businesses settle on which side they want to support. Or maybe it’ll only all last until the next news cycle—after all people do seem to get distracted easily. Just try and remember that there is no winning side to this argument—the right for LGBT people to “choose” which restroom they feel most comfortable in allows for everyone to make that decision. One person’s rights in this case will impose on another’s rights; the right of the LGBT community to feel comfortable in the restroom and the right of non-LGBT persons to feel comfortable in the restroom. So for those who support this latest push in social change, remember you are support the infringement upon non-LGBT person’s rights to feel comfortable in a very intimate part of their life. For those who oppose; your vehement support to resist change is making it harder for LGBT persons to feel comfortable , in many cases, in a very intimate part of their life.