The Target department store chain made headlines in April when it announced it was in support of the federal Equality Act, which protects the rights of LGBT individuals.
At that time, the company stated publicly that “we welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity," as quoted by the Daily Mail. The American Family Association, along with other conservative groups, protested that decision, which has remained controversial.
A transgender woman, Shauna Patricia Smith, 43, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, was arrested July 12 for allegedly taking pictures of another woman in a Target dressing room the previous day.
The Bonneville County Jail booked Smith on one felony count of voyeurism as a male, under the name Sean Patrick Smith, who told police that she identifies as transgender, according to East Idaho News, reports Daily Mail.
The alleged victim said she noticed someone reaching over the fitting room stall and taking pictures of her with a cell phone. The suspect fled the store when confronted by her accuser.
Authorities say they are uncertain whether or not the woman being photographed was nude at the time of the incident, the Post Register reports.
An eyewitness told East Idaho News, “The woman was begging for help as she chased the man out the door… She kept saying she wanted those pictures deleted.”
Investigators identified Smith by reviewing the store’s security footage, which led to the arrest. Bonneville County Sgt. Bryan Lovell said that detectives are still trying to determine whether or not there are other victims.
Smith remains in custody, jail records show, and was due to make an appearance in court July 13.
Although the incident will likely be exploited by opponents of Target’s LGBT policy, the website LGBTQ Nation points out:
Laws already exist, however, to protect women from voyeurism and sexual abuse. The laws are applicable no matter the gender orientation of the suspect and public accommodations laws that include gender identity cannot be used as an excuse to break the law. If the allegations against Smith are true, she will be punished for the crime just like anyone else would be.