COMMENTARY: Boycotting bathrooms or just being an informed consumer?

by Joni B. Hannigan, Editorial Staff |

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Christian Examiner) -- I don't consider myself an alarmist, but I do consider myself a careful journalist, a conscientious parent and an even more cautious grandparent.

Perhaps that's why Target's bold and in-your-face announcement a few weeks back that they were proudly reinforcing their don't-ask-don't-tell policy of allowing anyone -- including a man -- who self-identifies as a woman is invited to use the ladies bathroom or dressing room, was a shocker to me.

Surely when Caitlyn Jenner was Bruce he would have drawn the line at the thought of an individual who "looks" like a man, but who is dressed like a woman – following one of his daughters into a bathroom while he watched and waited in the Starbucks across the store entryway.

I can imagine he might have tried to alert a store employee who would have shrugged him off, and then he might have lurched into that bathroom to encounter that individual and ask them why they would be in that bathroom – if only to be confused when he was told it was because that person felt like using that restroom that day, regardless of who else was in there washing their hands and being a "grown up" for just a few minutes while daddy waited outside.

Surely even Caitlyn Jenner, in her new comfortable self, might be a bit uncomfortable in using an open women's locker room to change at the local YMCA while teens are changing after a swim meet. Does she want to be oogled even if she declares she definitely won't oogle anyone and certainly won't "molest" them?

Of all the scenarios we can conjure for why it makes no sense to have made this into a huge issue, Target has become the epicenter of unreasonable and even unsafe demands masquerading as civil rights.

Of course, people who have gender dysphoria might not be more likely to be child molesters or rapists any more than those who are not – but why should any corporation or public entity make it easier for actual criminals who might prey upon the vulnerable to hide behind transgendered individuals. And why would the transgendered defend or even seek this?

In our politically charged and not so reasonable cultural climate, it seems as if the minority could be more understanding and could advocate for safety, out of concern for the majority. But I guess that's asking for a selflessness that is somehow out of touch in this selfish and self-serving world.

Target has been a family favorite for years. We purchase anything from electronics to vitamins, clothes to toys, cards to snacks. It's not unusual for me to snatch one or more of my grandchildren to take a trip to Target for new bathing suits or shorts.

No more. It's not so much a boycott with me as it is common sense. How will I send my 7-year-old granddaughter with growing independence into the bathroom when she needs to potty, with any confidence (which I was slow to give in the first place)?

Who needs the headache of worrying about whether some person wanting to peep on hot girls in the next stall will be camped out with their iPhone while I'm trying clothes on any of a number of the other grands, or myself for that matter.

No thanks, Target. There are plenty of other places to shop.

I understand this reaction may be a small drop in the ocean of immoral or dangerous cultural mores in our time – but we have to start somewhere – especially when an organization has been so openly careless about inviting opportunists in.

I'm not naïve enough to think my small voice makes that much of a difference, nor was I apparently very popular in the nineties when I took a stand and did not purchase anything Disney, and I stayed away from K-Mart because of things with which I disagreed.

But in this, I'm driven by practicality. I'm not about to be that grandma. The one who has to explain why the kids have to hold their potty until we leave Target.

Of course, I could always promise them a treat, as long as it's not on Sunday. We are always up for a stop at Chick-fil-A.

Joni B. Hannigan is executive editor and director of operations of Christian Examiner.