In less than five days, more than 500,000 people have signed a petition pledging to boycott Target over the retail giant’s policy allowing restroom access on the basis of gender identity.
In the wake of a controversial law in North Carolina regulating public accommodations on the basis of biological sex, the company released a statement last week reiterating its pro-LGBT position. Target said it welcomes “transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity.”
“Everyone deserves to feel like they belong,” the statement said. “And you’ll always be accepted, respected and welcomed at Target.”
In response to the declaration, the American Family Association on Wednesday started a petition calling for shoppers to boycott Target until it changes the policy.
“Target’s store policy endangers women and children by allowing me to frequent women’s facilities,” the petition says. “Until Target makes the safety of women and children a priority, I will shop elsewhere.”
The petition has received 506,329 signatures.
The boycott plan was spearheaded by Texas Rep. Louis Gohmert, a Republican, who last week announced on the House floor that he would no longer shop at the retail giant.
“I understand Target may now be changing their restrooms,” Mr. Gohmert said on Thursday. “If they’re going to be having women come into the men’s restroom, I won’t be going to Target to shop, unless and until that changes.”
Mr. Gohmert said the policy allows sexual predators and voyeurs access to restrooms of the opposite sex simply by declaring to identify as the opposite gender.
“It’s already been shown, you give guys a chance to say, ‘I’m transgender, and I get to go in and film a girl in the shower.’ There are people that do that,” he said. “Why not let the transgender LGBTQRST — whatever the initials are — let them have their activities where they don’t impose on the privacy of someone who wants to go to the restroom?”
The boycott comes as more than 100 big businesses have threatened to curtail commercial activity in North Carolina if the bathroom law is not repealed.