Fundamentalist Christian nonprofit American Family Association has been encouraging a boycott of Target ever since the retail chain announced in April it was going to allow people to use the bathrooms that corresponded to their gender identity.
The AFA wrote on its Target boycott web page at the time:
One solution is a common-sense approach and a reasonable solution to the issue of transgendered customers: a unisex bathroom. Target should keep separate facilities for men and women, but for the trans community and for those who simply like using the bathroom alone, a single occupancy unisex option should be provided.
Target announced on Aug. 17 that it was going to install single-stall unisex bathrooms in its stores at a cost of $20 million, noted The Washington Post.
"Some of our guests clearly are uncomfortable with our policy, and some are really supportive," Target’s CFO Cathy Smith told journalists during a conference call.
Smith was asked if boycotts were behind the change, and she replied: "It’s difficult to tease out one thing that’s driving results."
Regardless of its motivation, Target is using the AFA's unisex bathroom "solution," but that did not sit well with the AFA, notes the Friendly Atheist.
The AFA sent out an email blast on Aug. 22 that said:
Don’t fall for it. Target has not changed its policy.
While it is true the company is adding single-stall, lockable bathrooms to all store locations, Target says it will continue to allow men to use the women’s restrooms and fitting rooms inside their stores.
Adding more bathrooms isn’t the solution. Not allowing men in women’s facilities is the solution.
The Friendly Atheist also reports that AFA president Donald Wildmon sent a letter to Target’s CEO Brian Cornell:
Unisex bathrooms are fine, but our request has always been that Target maintain the gender-specific bathrooms as well -- if the company is interested in guaranteeing the safety and privacy of women and girls who patronize the retailer’s stores.
AFA’s boycott will remain in place until Target agrees that protecting the safety and privacy of women and children is of paramount concern. To demonstrate that commitment, we ask that you reverse your current bathroom and fitting room policy.
Cornell told CNBC in May:
But if there is a question of safety, I can tell you and others, our focus on safety is unwavering. And we want to make sure we provide a welcoming environment for all of our guests.
One that is safe, one that is comfortable and that's our commitment over time. So, we took a stance and we’re going to continue to embrace our belief in diversity and inclusion, just how important that is to our company. But we’re also going to make sure our focus on safety is unwavering.