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Dear Target, You're Losing Me

Dear Target,

I was just in your store a few days ago with my 10 month old daughter. And my 3 year old son often accompanies us. In fact, we shop at your store so much, that my son will spot the red bulls-eye from the car and shout, "There's Target!" I'm a RedCard holding, Cartwheel app using Target fanatic who finds any excuse to go there as much as possible. I LOVE Target. Target is my caffeine. It's what gets me through my week and keeps me going. Do you see the Target banner on the side of this blog? I'm part of your affiliate program because I can't get enough of you.

However, I'm not sure that will be the case anymore. After learning about your new policy allowing transgendered guests and Target team members to "use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity," I'm not sure I'll be spending as much time there. I understand your beliefs about being all-inclusive and not discriminating, but as a woman, and as a mother, I'm concerned.

My children are very young. My son just became potty trained and is so proud to use the potty like a "big boy." And he's able to comprehend that boys have certain body parts and girls have others. But he's not old enough to understand the transgender lifestyle and deeper issues like gender identity. I'm not prepared to try and explain those things to him. In fact, we are a conservative Christian family, and we believe in teaching our children to love the bodies they were born with. That being said, I have no problem with those who are transgendered and have gone through the entire process of sex reassignment. I won't pretend like I understand what it's like to live that way. If the trans community feels it necessary to surgically alter their bodies, well, that is their decision. My concern is that your new policy will be an easy way for those who prey on the vulnerable to take advantage.

As a woman, I already have to take steps to protect myself from predators. According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), 1 out of 6 women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. Additionally, RAINN reports, the year in a male’s life when he is most likely to be the victim of a sexual assault is age 4. Did I mention my son is 3? I'm not implying that my children will be sexually assaulted by a transgendered person in a Target fitting room. I'm implying that the probability of a true sexual predator going after my children is now going to be higher than it was before this change in your policy. Your intentions, while admirable, are also making your guests more vulnerable. Because trust me, those ill-willed adults who failed at previous attempts to assault women and children in restrooms and fitting rooms have just been given the green light by your company.

Even if a grown man is not transgendered, and even if he doesn't actually identify as a woman, he can now use that as an excuse to walk into the fitting room where my children are, and where I am, and use that as a reason to watch us undress. And you know what? You can't stop him. Because you can't prove that he doesn't identify as a woman. It's his -or, her- word against yours. Are you going to ask him to provide some sort of proof that he identifies as a woman? No, because you can't. That would be a lawsuit waiting to happen. Well, let me tell you- as a mother, my children's health, safety and well-being are more important to me than the comfort of a person who has chosen to make a change to their body. Sure, the chance of my children seeing something that I am uncomfortable with them seeing is slim. And it isn't very likely that they'll be sexually assaulted in a dressing room at Target. But as a mother, it's my job to protect them and shield them from even the smallest risk of harm all the time.

I don't want my children to be confused because they happen to see someone in a fitting room that doesn't fit what they've been taught about boys and girls. I don't want my children to feel uncomfortable because there are grown ups of the opposite sex using the potty with mommy. I'm not willing to change my values, or the way I have chosen to raise my children in order to cater to everybody else. I won't back down from my beliefs. And I believe that this new policy is a decision that will hurt more people than it will help.

I'm all about welcoming people and including as many as possible, but not at the expense of my children.

You state in your policy, "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," but I, Target, do not feel respected or welcomed.


Concerned woman and mother


Shari Lasher said…
Yes! I agree and it's been so hard to give up my Target store. But as my husband and I discussed, we are the ones who do not feel welcome anymore. Some of my friends continue to shop at the larger Targets, with family bathrooms, but I can't justify it. I can't give them money any longer.