Protests have broken out against Target stores in Utah, Mississippi and Texas over the retail giant's April 19 announcement that transgender people would be allowed to use the bathroom that matches their self-identified gender identity (video below).
There was a protest in Layton, Utah, on May 7.
"With Target’s new policy, it’s unverifiable," Carrie Peterson, protest organizer, told Good4Utah. "You cannot verify a person’s intent, and so these sexual predators will use that policy to gain access into the women’s restroom, making it a dangerous place for women and children."
Peterson, a mom of four, created a petition to change Target's policy back to men’s restrooms for men, and women’s for women.
People also protested the bathroom policy outside a Target May 7 in Jackson, Mississippi.
"A man could put on a dress and say, 'I identify as a transgender,' and they can go in there," Keith Dalton, a protester, told WAPT.
"I'm not saying that a transgender would harm a child," Johnny Broken, another protester, added. "What I’m saying is if men are allowed to go into the restroom, children are going to be harmed."
However, one unidentified Target customer told the news station: "I think that men have been harming children a long time in a lot of places. This is an odd time to get concerned."
"What about all the times the men [are] in the little boys’ bathroom?" Angel Godby said. "You should be worried about going to the bathroom, not if you’re a man or a woman. It’s a bathroom."
There was another protest in Houston April 30.
"The city of Houston made it crystal clear, without a shadow of a doubt, that we are serious, not curious, about men going into our restrooms with our women and children," Tex Christopher, protest organizer, told KPRC.
Christopher was part of the effort to defeat Houston's HERO ordinance, which was similar to Target's bathroom policy.
"Rape or molestation is a crime of opportunity and this just makes more opportunity for someone who would do harm to women or children," Tracy Shannon, a mom, said.
Counter-protesters shouted from across the street, "No more lies!"
"We think they should be allowed to use the restroom that they identify with," Kenny Jones, a counter-protester, said. "Target has taken a courageous stance and said, 'You know, we think that's fair too.'"
"I support it," Ben Franklin added. "I think it's important when these things are happening, even if you're not changing your policy, it is important to state, 'No, we really want you and accept you,' because that's how you push against this kind of fear mongering."