Target, Their Bathrooms, and Their Really Cute Swimsuits

{From Bailey, Precariosities’ Director of Content}


I Hate Target Because…

Oh, wait. I don’t.

Oops. Well, while you’re here, you might as well keep reading, right?

I don’t hate Target. Not even a little bit. It has budget-friendly clothing. It has good books for good prices. It’s always there when I have an emergency. It has all the good food I could ever want. It has swimsuits that make me feel modest and confident. It has stellar home décor.

I could go on for hours. Target is where all my love is. Do I feel guilty about that? You bet. Because I’ve been sucked a little too deep into consumerism, you feel me? Oh, you thought I felt guilty because I love a place that’s allowing transgender people to use the restrooms they identify with?

That’s embarrassing. I don’t. But let me explain why.

Target has decided to allow transgender people to use the restroom of their choice. It’s caused quite the uproar, but I’m still kind of trying to figure out why. We’re saying we’re scared for our safety, but my honest opinion is that if a man wants to rape a woman or molest a kid in a women’s restroom, he’s probably going to sneak in the restroom and do it anyway. The world is dangerous. It just is. People are bad.

Don’t get me wrong; I take a biblical stance on both gender and sexuality. I believe homosexuality is a sin, and I believe God created men as men and women as women.

But gosh, I want so badly to have conversations with those people who don’t agree. I want to hear from a transgender woman who has been bullied. I want to talk to the gay man who is in love. Because they don’t think like I do. I crave conversation that is civil but hard. Friends, that hard place is where the light gets in. We cannot expect easy conversations to magically produce easy solutions.

There is no easy conversation about differing beliefs and opinions. There are no easy solutions. Those have never existed, so I don’t know why we fool ourselves into thinking we should be finding them.

Jesus didn’t hang out with all the religious people. He hung out with the broken ones. Every day I beg Him to show me how to do the same because I just can’t seem to figure out how.

I can’t hate Target for allowing transgender people to use their restrooms anymore than I can hate Starbucks for having red cups. These places, they’re stores. They’re public domains. They serve the entire population, without discrimination or differentiation. They are not churches. Why are we holding them to the standards of our steeples?

I have a Target gift card in my desk drawer. I’ve been saving it for the most opportune moment. (Actually I haven’t been saving it; I just can’t decide if I should put it toward makeup or the final season of Rookie Blue.) When this whole ordeal started making headlines, did I cringe and throw my gift card away? Not a chance. I am going to spend every last cent of that thing.

I don’t necessarily agree with this new restroom policy, but I also don’t think I need to blow it out of proportion. If I don’t feel safe going into a restroom, then I think I’m an adult enough to hold my pee until I get home—or at least until I get to the next store.

I mean, if I can’t hold it, at least Target sells underwear, you know? (Bless you, Target.)

We face danger everywhere we go in this life. There aren’t suddenly more dangerous people in the world just because transgender people can now use the restrooms for the gender they identify with. The same amount of sick, twisted, dangerous people still exist. Most of them aren’t even transgender.

We do our best to be safe and avoid dangerous circumstances, and we trust Jesus with the rest of it.

Target isn’t my enemy. Transgender people are not my enemy. Honestly, rapists and murderers aren’t even my enemies.

We’re not fighting this battle against flesh and blood.

Can we just take a minute and breathe? If we’re not willing to die for a belief, we shouldn’t be creating division over it. I, for one, am not willing to die over a bathroom policy.

I want my kids (if I have them) to feel safe in restrooms, so I’ll go in with them like my mom did with me. I want them to ask me hard questions if they see something that doesn’t make sense to them. I want them to know—even when they’re young—that there aren’t as many easy answers as we want there to be. I want them to know Truth, to stand firm in it. But I want them to speak it in Love.

I’ll probably wrestle my whole life trying to reconcile the two. Maybe only Jesus really knows how.

Be safe. Be wise. Don’t look at this molehill and mistake it for a mountain. There are plenty of mountains for us to climb without needing to create more.

I don’t hate Target. I hate the fact that some people think I should.

Before you go:

What are your thoughts on this whole Target fiasco? Is it a mountain or a molehill?

Advertisements

7 thoughts on “Target, Their Bathrooms, and Their Really Cute Swimsuits

  1. Wow! I don’t hate Target either and that is not the words I’m hearing from the people who are disappointed in their new policy. But I certainly do not agree with their bathroom policies. And I will continue to not shop there until they decide to change their new policy. The gender that you are born with is just that. No one can change that at birth. If your not happy with your gender and decide to change it by the way you look and act that’s your business. But when you try and push it on others and expect special privileges to use a bathroom that is not gender you were born with. That’s when it becomes my business and anyone who enjoys shopping there. The bottom line is Target is out to make money. So if they have chosen to only consider what the transgender customer wants then so be it. So for the consumer who is not comfortable with that situation the only way to be heard is to vote with our dollars. Time and time again for anyone who doesn’t agree with LGBT community there is so much hate shown to those people. So it saddens me that you would only mention the hate coming from people who chose not to shop there. Because there is plenty of hate coming from the LGBT community if you dare to disagree with them. We live in a wonderful country that everyone is entitled to the same rights! But when you want special rights and laws because of your sexual preference and what you should be doing in private behind closed doors then I have the right to disagree with you and Target and vote with my dollars. And that’s what makes America great. Because ultimately Target is out to make a profit and if they lose money they will rethink there policies. And it will bring me joy to drive by Target and not shop there. Not hate motivated!

    Like

  2. “But gosh, I want so badly to have conversations with those people who don’t agree… Because they don’t think like I do. I crave conversation that is civil but hard. Friends, that hard place is where the light gets in.”

    I crave the same thing. I like having civil conversations with people that disagree with me. If I don’t look at other people’s views, how will I ever understand where they are coming from? How will I figure out what things I might be wrong about (and try to correct them) without challenging myself, and considering that I could be wrong, and someone else could be right?

    So, when I come across someone I disagree with who has this same approach, I am certainly interested in talking, and I hope that we will both leave with a better understanding than we had before.

    “I don’t necessarily agree with this new restroom policy, but I also don’t think I need to blow it out of proportion. If I don’t feel safe going into a restroom, then I think I’m an adult enough to hold my pee until I get home—or at least until I get to the next store.”

    This is how a lot of trans people feel and make decisions about restroom use, too, except it’s every day, at every store, at every public building, everywhere they go, and the safety concerns are quite significant. A study of trans people and public bathroom usage in Washington D.C. found some fairly disturbing statistics: 9% of respondents said that they had been physically assaulted for using a public restroom, and 68% said that they had been verbally harassed (see: http://www.sfweekly.com/thesnitch/2013/06/25/transgender-people-are-harassed-and-assaulted-in-public-bathrooms-survey-says). As a trans person who has personally experienced verbal harassment for daring to try to take a pee in a public restroom, I find these statistics quite believable. I’m a bit surprised the percentage was not higher for verbal harassment, actually.

    Besides, if everyone actually started using the restroom matching their sex assigned at birth, I rather doubt people would like the results. How would you feel sharing a restroom with a trans man (assigned female at birth) who has a scruffy beard and beefy arms? (see also: http://the-daily.buzz/trans-man-north-carolina/)

    At the time I was harassed for the crime of needing to take a pee while visiting the public library, I was generally identified as male by strangers more than 90% of the time. Even the person who harassed me thought I was male; he only got on my case after I asked if the stall was occupied, and he thought my voice was too high pitched. But I obviously couldn’t have gone into the women’s restroom without upsetting people. If there had been a gender neutral restroom or single stall restroom, I would have preferred to go there instead. In fact, I often go pretty far out of my way to use single stall restrooms because I never quite feel comfortable using the gender segregated multi stall sort. I’ve got locations of single stall restrooms memorized for all the areas that I frequently go to. But sometimes, I just need to pee, and there’s nothing but the typical gender segregated restrooms. It’s either that, or I get to see how long I can stand to hold it.

    Like

  3. Nancy,
    Thank you for reading and commenting! I apologize if you feel like I was putting words into your mouth because that was definitely not my intention. I love this country and the fact that we have the freedoms to make our own stands for our beliefs and opinions. My intention was to explain why I am going to continue to shop at Target and places like it, even though some of their beliefs are contrary to my morals and beliefs. I agree with you on your opinions of gender, but I also know that there are people whose opinions differ from mine, and I don’t want to hold those people to the same standard my own opinions create. You’re also right in the fact that there IS a lot of hate coming from both sides, but I believe conversation is possible without the hate. I’m pursuing that. I’m thankful that you’re not motivated by hate, and I think it’s important that we all make a stand for what we believe. I’m just doing it a little differently than you. 🙂 If you want to talk about it, please feel free to email me at baygerb@gmail.com. I’d love to hear from you!

    Like

  4. Alex,
    Thank you for wanting to enter into conversation about this. I love that this post can open those kinds of doors. I also appreciate you reading everything and finding things you both agree and disagree with–it’s encouraging to see that we can have differing opinions and still find common ground somewhere.
    The statistics you shared on abuse were heartbreaking to me. No one deserves to be harassed in any way or place–but especially not in a restroom. I see your point, and I think I should clarify mine. I do see the need for Target’s restroom policy because I do not believe transgender people should ever be discriminated against. I don’t like holding my pee when I have to use the restroom, and no one else should have to do that either.
    I think you and I differ morally, which is really hard to address because I don’t think either of us is going to change our mind. I believe God created men to be men and women to be women, but that is a biblical view, and I don’t expect people who don’t adhere to biblical teaching to agree. Like I said in my post, we can’t find easy solutions because they don’t exist. But I do very much appreciate your willingness to post and share your information with me because I do have a better perspective on your situation than I did before. If you want to talk about it more, I’d be happy to do that! You can email me anytime at baygerb@gmail.com.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “…but that is a biblical view, and I don’t expect people who don’t adhere to biblical teaching to agree.”

    I wish more people saw things this way! It would make it so much easier for people to get along with each other in a religiously pluralistic society.

    I don’t expect people to see things my way, either. I just want them to respect me as a person and to be treated as an equal citizen.

    While I’m sure I don’t have any opinion on whether or not being trans is biblically immoral, I have heard different things about that from different Christians. And I’m not even talking about liberal Christians as compared to conservative Christians–I’m talking about even among conservative Christians. I realize that my parents are a biased example, but they, as conservative Christians, spent a lot of time reading the Bible and praying and talking to their pastor after I told them I was trans, and they eventually reached the conclusion that the Bible just doesn’t say much of anything about trans people. And my parents certainly do consider same-sex sex to be biblically immoral. I sometimes wonder if the differences in Christians’ opinions on trans people have more to do with how much they know about trans people than how much they know about or adhere to the Bible.

    Certainly, most of the people who are making such a fuss about Target know next to nothing about trans people. And I am hardly an expert on the Bible. So, here’s a link to a blog post by someone who is a conservative Christian and former pastor who happens to also be trans: https://eilerspizza.wordpress.com/2016/02/05/did-god-create-transgender/

    I just found her blog recently, and I have found it quite enlightening as far as being able to see things from a very different viewpoint than mine–and still find common ground. I don’t know how much you might or might not agree with her on points of theology, but I hope you find something useful in it.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s