That Whole Target Bathroom Policy Thing

Is Target Bathroom Policy Statement 2016 the new Starbucks Christmas Cup 2015? We’re still stale with the stench of that one even though most of us thought it was ridiculously misunderstood media hype. And didn’t we already spin this “protect families” argument, California, in 2008 when as a state we tried to vote down gay marriage rights? So far the biggest threat to my family has been our self-destructive pride and selfishness. No matter what your views on this are, closing your eyes and wishing a dichotomous way onto a deconstructivist culture is not the same as engaging in the world where all these realities exist.

There is a vivacious transgender woman who cashiers for us at our local Target. The number of times I have felt unsafe in the transaction: zero. The number of times my kids have stared: zero. If we find ourselves washing hands beside her, I imagine it will remain the same. Except I doubt that will happen because I am willing to bet she uses an employee restroom or that hidden single room behind the electronics section to avoid potential conflicts – crushing lessons of past experience learned.

Transgender bathroom policy doesn’t affect our family in any way while shopping Target, except maybe encourage me to shop there more often (if that’s even possible) because I take it as a bold statement of peace. I want to be a part of that. I want my kids to be a part of that. No, I will not be signing your Target petition under the main banner to protect me, the mom, and my kids.

And now I’ve offended so, so, SO many of you because I straddle a no man’s land of too conservative for the liturgists & non-churched and too non-churched for the conservatives in my life. Like my children, my head and heart live in a vast both/and question mark where the only certainty is God – in all male and female characteristics and generosity of goodness and love and grace- can handle it.

Do you know who I think is out to get my kids? Everyone. As a mama, every single person no matter how spiffy they look on the outside are potential threats to the physical and emotional safety of my littles. THAT is why we go as a family into the women’s restroom much to the smadness of my young son. That is why my kids know they aren’t allowed to play hide-and-seek in public places. That is why we call body parts “vagina” and “penis” (which is still really hard for this Midwestern 80’s girl to do) and normalize talk about appropriate vs inappropriate touching.

General vigilance and learning to trust our gut in our surroundings is what the kids and I talk about. This kind of wisdom is what I want the kids to know to navigate through the days, the years. Listening to their intuition and knowing they can rely on it – that’s what I want my kids to practice daily in our care. Tethering an awareness of their physical environment to their brain and stomach assessment, knowing their instincts are good, learning to take in character – this is what we circle back to in all public places.

Yes, I’m afraid. I’m afraid for the safety of the transgender community who are trying to do something as simple as pee in public. I’m afraid for all of us that when one person is dehumanized, we all have our humanity dulled. I’m afraid we will continue to confuse Christianity with protecting our privilege. I’m afraid we will STILL be discussing all this in a rageful way and all this anger of entitlement in our Americanism will seep into the fabric of my children. There are many things to fear here, but potty stops at Target (like most of the things in my red shopping cart) aren’t on that list.



4 thoughts on “That Whole Target Bathroom Policy Thing

  1. Loved your thoughts on this. You have a measured and thoughtful approach. Not being female or a mom, my thoughts might be somewhat skewed but I don’t see the transgender bathroom issue making any real difference on safety. With my grandkids, I will be more concerned about the possibility of anyone grabbing them whatever the gender. Target can do what they want(almost)and I will still go there. I don’t expect a secular company to necessarily have my values.
    But, what concerns me is how our society is sliding into a “feelings based” judgemant system. If I want to be of the asian race most people will look at me funny but probably leave me to my delusion. It doesn’t change my genetics even if I change my skin color and facial shape. So now we have people(less than 1% of the population) who feel like they are of another gender and essentially demand to be treated as such even before any surgery. As such I will still give them the love and respect any human should have. I am not afraid of them and if they want to cross dress or whatever so be it. But what do we do when we start having “otherkin” demand the same? I promise you that is coming. If I “feel” I am more like a dog(and after all humans and dogs only differ in their genes by about 2%) then I insist that the dog food companies make all dog food safe for human comsumption because I want to eat only dog food. There is essentially no difference in one feeling they are of a different gender and one who feels they are more like an animal. This is a learned behavior, the genetics won’t change. Do we accomadate all demands because people feel them no matter the reality?
    I have seen big changes in our culture in the last 60 years, some are good such as less racism and women being treated as real people. But this is not one of them. What will our culture look like when your kids are my current age?
    I don’t really care whether I have to share a bathroom with a woman who wants to be a man. She can use any open stall she wants. But it really concerns me that who we are is no longer how God made us but how one feels and that feeling must be accomodated by all. It is a slippery slope.

    • Hi Uncle D! I trust you so much with what you have to say because your life actions have given you that platform. I appreciate the perspective you bring to the table having watched the cultural shifts over the decades and filtering them through the lens of gospel. I’m not even thinking about otherkin yet because I truly can’t wrap my mind around it. Such a steep slope when we get rolling down it. Thanks for adding your voice to the dialogue and for loving so many generations of my favorite humans on the planet!

  2. I love you and am so proud of you for being such a wonderful articulater (is that a word?) of truth and beauty. “Listening to their intuition and knowing they can rely on it – that’s what I want my kids to practice daily in our care. Tethering an awareness of their physical environment to their brain and stomach assessment, knowing their instincts are good, learning to take in character – this is what we circle back to in all public places.”– especially loved this.


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