Yep, it’s me, your old friend Leah. I remember shopping at your store when I was a little girl, before you got your makeover and became the trendy discount alternative that you are today. When I got married, I registered at Target. When I had babies, I registered at Target. My Target card is the only store credit card I own. The cartwheel App is on my IPhone and I share Target deals on Facebook frequently. When I was a bleary-eyed mama to baby twins and could barely put one foot in front of the other, I clicked their Graco carseats (from Target) into their stroller (from Target) and I went to Target. My fussy babies seemed distracted by the bright colors and friendly voices. Somehow I felt like my life would go back to normal, as I did something normal with all the other normal folks pushing their red carts from aisle to aisle.
It became a joke on the weekends that my husband just knew he would end up having to go with me there for one thing or the other. I have reviewed and raved about your store brands (your baby wipes are the only ones I will use), I have blogged about my love for your company and I’ve snapped selfies of myself as I enjoy a blissful child-free trip to your store. Your store associates know me, my house is full of white and red handled bags, and my children can navigate your toy department better than some of the employees. And all that was before you added a Starbucks.
I am not alone. Target has become the retail home away from home for many enthusiastic shoppers, and a particular favorite for moms. I constantly run into friends at Target. I have always felt catered to, appreciated, and included at your store. I love you, Target!
When I saw your announcement about the bathroom policy this week, I felt like I had been slapped in the face. Slapped in the face by a friend, no less. A place I had felt welcomed, a place beloved and familiar had just made a change that would alienate thousands of their loyal customers. This has nothing to do with politics or even religion. It is just about common decency, common sense, and public safety. I have no problem sharing a bathroom with a transgender woman. I’ll pass her the paper towels just like I will for any other woman. But opening the bathroom door to male or female regardless of biological sex based on their claim of identity is dangerous.
I had just started letting my nine year old girls go together into some bathrooms, but I am still nervous. Strangers are strangers after all, male or female. With the protected opportunity of entering a female public restroom you are giving a gift to the community; the predator community, which is sadly much larger than the transgender community. Now every customer is vulnerable. Any crime that is committed in a Target dressing room or bathroom will be clouded with confusion because the space is now virtually unisex. There is no way of gauging a person’s motives or thoughts and now it will be harder to prove the guilt of any man because he has been invited to a space where women and children are most vulnerable. The countless women who have been sexually assaulted and abused by men will now feel like they are being victimized all over again during a simple shopping trip. In effort to show compassion and inclusion to a few, you have alienated a huge group of parents and women. I hope it’s worth it.
I have never participated in a boycott and I didn’t expect to, but this issue is too big, too dangerous to ignore. I will be going to Target today. I will be returning the merchandise that I have at home brand new and unused. I will be deleting my cartwheel app. I will be cutting up my RedCard. I will have to explain to my children why we may be shopping at Walmart, which none of us will enjoy.
Dear Target, I love you. I will even forgive you. But I can’t be around you when you are making such dangerous life choices. Please write if you change your mind.