MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Mississippi-based Christian group is taking aim at the Target Corporation for the company’s restroom policy.

On Monday, Target announced it wants people to use restrooms that reflect the gender they identify with.

Now, that policy is coming under fire by the American Family Association, which is based in Tupelo, Mississippi. The AFA is collecting signatures on a petition calling for consumers to boycott Target stores unless the policy is changed.

As of Monday, the effort has collected around 568,000 signatures in the first four days of the drive.

As a leading retailer, Minneapolis-based Target reflects the appetite of U.S. consumers. But its corporate governance is also compelling company leaders to take on a broad social conscience.

Just last Tuesday, the company responded to anti-transgender legislation around the country by clearly stating an inclusive restroom policy for all of Target’s 1800 U.S. stores. Target says it welcomes transgender employees and guests to “use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity.”

“I think it is just fear,” Roxanne Anderson said.

Anderson is the Trans and Racial Justice Director for OutFront Minnesota, an organization that promotes equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

“There are no substantiated reports of  transgender people being inappropriate in bathrooms, and really, they are the people who are at risk in bathrooms,” Anderson said.

But a spokesperson with the American Family Association disagrees, calling Target’s inclusive policy “dangerous.”

Spokesman Abe Hamilton says the AFA wants Target to install a third, gender neutral restroom in all stores to prevent any potential harm to women and young children.

“That’s where those who feel they need a non-traditional restroom, that they can use that facility in full safety without having to subject women and girls to possible predatory behavior,” Hamilton said.

In March, some Minnesota lawmakers proposed a law barring transgender individuals from using restrooms different from their sex at birth. That language is similar to the controversial law passed in North Carolina.

The proposed Minnesota bill was introduced after a legislative deadline and failed to advance.

 

Bill Hudson

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