As you probably have heard, Target issued a statement recently reiterating its stand for inclusivity at its stores. And you have probably seen a bunch of the blowback that came after the statement was released, but I’m betting most of you have not seen or read the actual statement they released… Here it is:
Recent debate around proposed laws in several states has reignited a national conversation around inclusivity. So earlier this week, we reiterated with our team members where Target stands and how our beliefs are brought to life in how we serve our guests.
Inclusivity is a core belief at Target. It’s something we celebrate. 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.
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.
That is it… THAT! That is what people are upset over. Please–If you just skimmed over that press release, please go back and read it. Read the words, and then try to imagine someone being so angry at those words that they would start a Target boycott. Now imagine almost 800,000 of those people walking around. And after you get done wiping the tears away, keep the box of tissues handy–just in case ignorance and bigotry make you cry, because now the internet is saturated with garbage like the following video:
That was Greg Locke, pastor of a church called Global Vision Bible Church, which is located in the next town over from where I live, here in the buckle of the Bible Belt. He rose to internet stardom by suggesting that kids here in Tennessee “Take an F” in history rather than learn about Islam as part of their history courses, and he has gained quite a following by courting ignorance and hatred and fear. But it is not just King James preaching, pistol-packing pastors who are up in arms about Target’s attempts at an inclusive environment… Yoga pant-wearing moms are really mad too. Mad enough to [gasp!] cut up their Target credit card:
I mean… Millions of views. Her kids play tennis RIGHT NEXT DOOR, you guys!
Listen, my wife and I have three kids. We’ve brought our kids to Target probably hundreds of times. When they were little, you know what we DIDN’T do? We didn’t send them into the bathrooms by themselves. We’d go with them. And I don’t spend a lot of time in women’s rest rooms, but as far as I can tell, most women’s rest rooms have stalls that are designed for one person, right? So unless they start having two-person stalls, my wife is not going to have to worry about men in dresses watching her pee. And as for me, the only place anyone might catch a glimpse of anything is at the urinal… And that is highly unlikely. Guys at urinals are usually fairly discreet. Other than the occasional elementary school sword fight, I can count on one hand the number of penises (other than mine) I’ve seen while taking a leak in a public restroom. And I’m pretty sure those dudes were TRYING to show everyone their goods. Anyway, as I wrote about before, it doesn’t even make sense to have a policy of forcing people to use restrooms that match their assigned gender at birth… You would end up with situations like this picture:
It’s easy to laugh at the ridiculousness of it all, but really–despite the success or failure of these “bathroom bills”–the real damaging part is the fear-mongering that goes on. And that is not even close to being funny. What is happening in all these videos and blogs calling for boycotts–either subtly or overtly–is that they are equating trans folks with perverts and child molesters. To quote “pastor” Greg Locke, “What you are ‘Targeting’ are perverts, pedophiles, people who are going to harm our children.” You guys realize that young boys are way more likely to get molested by men than women, right? Do you still let your sons go to the bathroom in public restrooms? And it just breaks my heart that ones trying to caricature people who are transgender as diabolical deviants are the ones who are called to love their enemies… “Christians.” The only thing diabolical is the demonization of people who are just looking for a safe place to pee.
There’s just so much hypocrisy surrounding this whole issue. If your kid is going to get molested or sexually assaulted, it’s probably at least 1000 times more likely that the perpetrator is going to be a church youth worker than a stranger in a public restroom. Not to mention the fact that the people who are planning on a misdemeanor offense deterring deviant child molesters who are dedicated to committing a felony, are basically the same people who hold a very firm “criminals don’t obey laws” stance when it comes to gun regulations. And the ironic part about it is that Target’s policy has not changed… They just wanted to put out a reminder, and Christians went ballistic. But I’ve got some news for you: You’ve been peeing next to trans folks for a long time.
It almost seems like people in the Church are hoping to push a PR campaign that reads: “Christians: We are okay with corporations who pay their workers poverty wages, destroy small businesses, and exploit child workers at basically slave-labor wages, but when those corporations endeavor to treat people with respect–regardless of their orientation or gender identity–we lose our freaking minds.” I hate that this stuff always gets dropped on Christians. There are so many Christians–people like me–whose communities are inclusive and affirming to people in the LGBT community. And our numbers are growing and growing. One of my blogging heroes, Jen Hatmaker (a women of immense integrity, talent, and humor, who just keeps on getting it right), wrote this lovely status the other day:
She’s already paying a price for taking a stand to love without condition. But Church leaders are steadily coming around to the long tradition of standing with oppressed people. The Church I attend has been there for a while. No one in our Church cares when the trans members of our community use the restroom of their identity. Just like straight members of our church don’t mind sharing a bathroom with gay folks–because bathrooms are just where people go to pee. We’re just glad they are coming to worship with us, after the absolutely horrible way that the Church has treated them over the years. There are so many LGBT folks who love Jesus with everything in them… And it makes sense, because Jesus loved the outcast. He ate with the “unclean.” He touched the untouchables. And the Pharisees hated him for it. He even washed the feet of the one who was going to betray him… It’s time the Church started looking more like Jesus, and less like the Pharisees.
At the end of my posts, I usually give people a chance to help support this blog, but today I wanted to give you a chance to support the Church I call home. It’s called GracePointe, and it is a really good place. Because of what we believe about God, a little over a year ago GracePointe took a stand for full inclusion of our LGBT brothers and sisters. A lot of people ended up leaving… They have had to make drastic cuts all over the place, and they are struggling financially. If you are interested in helping support a place that is working to change the reputation of the Church from one of exclusion, division, and alienation to one of inclusion, unity, and love, you can GIVE RIGHT HERE. Or you could just come visit, and find out about who we are. Thanks!