Why “Testing” Target’s Potty Policy is Unethical

| May 9, 2016
Spread the love

targetLast week the morning television news reported that the American Family Association (AFA) was encouraging the “testing” of Target’s gender appropriate restroom policy. (The AFA is classified as an anti-LGBTQ hate group but The Southern Poverty Law Center.) What follows is a reasoned argument as to why, based on their own supposed beliefs, their practice is unethical.

Before we get to the argument proper, let us be clear about the real reasons for the opposition. The AFA and others claim that trans-friendly restroom policies will enable sexual predators to hunt in women’s restrooms. I suggest that this objection merely serves to give the impression that their demand is motivated by a desire for safety rather than prejudice against trans people. The problem with their claim is that it ignores the fact that any predator who would hunt in such a manner is already intending to commit rape and/or murder, both of which are illegal and carry very stiff penalties, and is therefore unlikely to be deterred by any restroom policy. [Ed. Note: Or encouraged by it.] These groups have repeatedly revealed that the real reason for their opposition — they consider trans people to be sinners and perverts. The fact that many countries, businesses, schools, and people are beginning to accept us terrifies them. To them we are untermensch. They do not want to see us, deal with us, or hear about us. They want us to disappear.

The main problem with the so called “testing” is that unless these “men” intentionally entering the women’s restroom are, in fact, actually trans women, then they are cisgender men using a women’s restroom, and that is not what Target’s policy allows. This places the allegedly Christian AFA in the position of actually encouraging cisgender men to lie by claiming to be transgendered when they are not. In addition, it means those Christians who engage in such actions are intentionally lying. Thus we find a so called Christian organization encouraging its followers to sin in order to accomplish a goal and so called Christians who engage in such actions intentionally choosing to sin. Violating one’s principles in order to prove one’s principles seems a wee bit hypocritical as well as unbiblical, unethical, and illogical.

The AFA and others like them have chosen to behave much like the Catholic Church in Galileo’s time. They ignore science and history and insist that trans people do not really exist, aside from our being sinners and perverts, and maintain this position in spite of the fact that the Bible does not mention transgender people at all. All of the supposed biblical opposition rests on theological constructs built from passages that have nothing to do with being transgender. Given these facts, one might expect them to be gracious and understanding rather than judgmental but sadly, this is not the case. Like the Pharisees before them — about whom Jesus had much to say — they validate their own self-righteousness through judgement and oppression of others. This reminds one of Matthew 23.4 which talks about placing heavy burdens on people. According to more than one conservative Christian commentator, that passage relates to the practice of the Pharisees making their own rules and regulations and claiming they were equal to what was written in their Bible. They then demanded that people follow these rules and condemned them when they did not.

In summary, the practice of encouraging men to enter women’s restrooms at Target presents the AFA with a dilemma. Either they are admitting that there are transgendered people who have a right to use the restroom of their identified gender, or they are encouraging their cisgender male followers to lie about being transgender and violate Target’s policy. As for those who follow the AFA’s lead on this, they are either admitting that they are transgender or intentionally lying about being transgender. Thus, both the AFA and its followers find themselves in the position of sinning in order to protest what they believe is sin. Strange that.

Finally, it might help us to understand why these people are so opposed to us if we can realize that their worldview is being shaken, that they are facing a challenge to some of their foundational beliefs about reality. In a sense, they are like those early opponents of Galileo running smack into the fact that some of their most basic beliefs do not match up with reality, i.e., the sun does not revolve around the Earth and trans people are a naturally occurring variation within humanity.

Regardless of what we might hear regarding equality, we still live in a hierarchical culture and society that sees being male and masculinity as the apex of the species and being female and femininity as second best. In addition, many see gender as being binary, i.e., either you are male or you are female – no other options allowed, and only determined by one’s genitals. For those rooted and grounded in this androcentric binary culture and their own religious beliefs, few things could be more intimidating than the idea that someone they believe is male could actually be female, or that such a person would want to give up being male in order to be female. (This also helps explain why these same individuals are not nearly so upset with trans men, because they are seen as moving from the lesser to the greater.)

To cause someone to question their basic understanding of reality is to put that person in an extremely distressing state and can lead to a psychological crisis. Like a drowning person, they will frantically grab at anything they think might keep them afloat. Some will struggle and then emerge with a more integrated understanding of reality and their faith. Some will wrestle and never find any resolution as they see their worldview disintegrate. Sadly, others, perhaps a large number of others, will lay hold of hatred and maybe even violence in an attempt to preserve their failing worldview. In the end they will not succeed at making us go away for we have always been here, across time and cultures, and we will continue to be here no matter how much they hate us and persecute us. As long as we do not retreat into the shadows and closets of fear and shame, the light of our truth will eventually overcome the darkness of their erroneous beliefs and prejudices. In the meantime, let us not return hatred with hatred.

  • Yum

Spread the love

Tags: , , , ,

Category: Transgender Opinion


About the Author ()

I am a mature transgender woman. I have been trans since I was four and possibly before that but my memory of birth through age three is a little hazy. After decades of struggling first to deny and later \\\"cure\\\" my \\\"problem\\\", at age 57 I reached a point of self acceptance in my life. Shortly thereafter I began my journey of transition. Over the years I have written a blog along with opinion, political, and history articles, some of which, to my great surprise, were actually published. I have two grown daughters, five grand-children, and a Bengal cat.

Comments (3)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. The sexual predators of the world are Jerry Sandusky types, NOT TG women!

    How many men who are jailed for being sexual predators are trans-women? I think the answer is none.


    • Emily Emily says:

      Excellent point! If they had any evidence supporting their claims that tran women are predators they would be shouting it from the roof tops and spewing it on every media outlet in the country.

  2. j2emily j2emily says:

    the fact that not once in the restroom war does the whacko’s refer to a transman in the men’s room underscores the fact that their argument is based on a scare tactic