Target Bathrooms: An Overview
On April 19, 2016, Target announced to the world that their customer and employee restrooms were no longer distinguished by the chromosomal make-up of the users. No longer would Target restrooms be specifically assigned to either XY people or XX people (male or female). From now on, anyone who “self-identified” as LGBTQ (or any other letter in the alphabet soup of depravity) could use whichever bathroom they choose. Any man who, for even just the moment of restroom use, self-identifies as a woman (an XY who wants to pretend to be an XX) can walk unabated into the women’s restroom. Any woman who, for even just the moment of restroom use, self-identifies as a man (an XX who wants to pretend to by an XY) can walk unabated into the men’s restroom.
This is the depraved, God-hating world in which we live (Romans 1:18-32).
On April 20, 2016, I decided to conduct a little experiment at my local Target store. I walked in, purchased a KitKat bar, approached the cashier, and asked her this question: “If I self-identify as a Target employee, can I receive the employee discount on my purchase?” This began a chain reaction of confusion and absurdity as I then spoke to an assistant manager and the store manager. When I explained to the managers that I thought I should be allowed to self-identify as a store employee since I could now walk into the women’s restroom so long as I self-identified as a woman, the light bulbs went on in their head. They understood why I came to their store and the point I was trying to make.
You can watch the video, here. With well-over 33,000 views (granted, those are not Taylor Swift numbers) over the last five days, the video has caused a little stir and solicited a lot of reaction. Almost 300 comments have been posted. I’ve also deleted that many comments due to inappropriate content. “Likes” to “Dislikes” are running about 6-1 positive. The video has been shared by others thousands of times. For me and my little YouTube channel, this is what “going viral” looks like.
As I’ve watched the online, worldwide, social conversation play out, I’ve noticed a trend among some professing Christians, and it’s not a good one.
A Disturbing Trend
Professing Christians have been quick to rightly recognize what’s happening at Target and in seemingly every thread of the fabric of society, and that is the forcing of the LGBTQ agenda on all of mankind. They rightly see the Target situation as a moral issue and as a safety issue. But too many professing Christians are failing to see the situation as a gospel issue.
Along with the image on the left, a good friend of mine posed an important question to me. Here it is:
“If you noticed a man attempting to enter a woman’s bathroom, would you stop him? I believe that I would get between him and the bathroom and keep him from entering. What are your thoughts and suggestions?”
And here’s the immediate, off-the-top-of-my-head answer I gave him:
No, I would not–any more than I would shoot an abortionist walking into an abortuary. If the man can legally enter the women’s restroom then I would be committing the crimes of assault and/or false imprisonment if I stopped him.
What I would do is loudly warn women that a man was entering the restroom and willingly suffer any consequences that action brought.
Additionally, if any woman is foolish enough to enter a public restroom that men of various degrees of depravity and perversion can enter, then they are fools. They do NOT deserve to have something bad happen to them but, at the same time, they are certainly less likely to be accosted if they don’t enter the restroom.
I would like to add that I would also let the women in the restroom, if there were any at the time, know that I would be standing outside the door if they needed any assistance.
Many professing Christian men are bloviating on social media. They are verbally crossing their arms and pushing out their biceps to make them look bigger than they are (like the man in the cartoon image). They are mad-dogging their computer screens. And they are boasting about how they plan to physically handle effeminate, depraved men who enter the ladies’ room, in their presence.
My response to this kind of reaction: “chapter and verse?”
I suspect that a lot (certainly not all) of the men on social media who are bloviating as described are men who lack the requisite love and courage to stand outside an abortuary, who lack the requisite love and courage to engage a stranger in gospel conversation, and who lack the requisite love and courage to distribute gospel tracts. These men aren’t actually going to stand guard over the ladies’ room at their local Target. So, I’m not too concerned about these men breaking the law and committing assaults in the name of Jesus. But it is out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45).
Let me give you an example. This comes from a woman who commented on the video:
What this woman expressed first and foremost was not her concern for the safety of men and women using the correct and appropriate restroom. The overarching sentiment in her comments was her disdain for lost people whose preferred sin is sexual immorality. I think that’s what many professing Christian men are expressing on social media by threatening to commit physical assault upon men entering women’s restrooms–a hatred for their neighbors, their depraved, perverted, lost neighbors.
Target is a Gospel Issue
Emotions are running high on both sides of this critically important social issue. I understand. I’ve experienced the same emotions. However, as Christians, if we approach the issue first as a social issue we will respond like the unsaved, self-righteous, moralistic people of the world. We will respond sinfully. We will respond with sinful anger and hatred for our neighbors. And we will miss the wonderful opportunities God has and will present to His people. Christians should see what’s happening at Target and other places around the world as a gospel issue.
Christians should see Target’s decision to acquiesce to the bad behavior of a perverted few as an opportunity to bring the gospel to many.
Instead of boasting about standing outside of Target’s restrooms so they can illegally and sinfully thump on any many who dares to enter the ladies’ room, Christian men should gospel tract every car in their local Target’s parking lot, or stand outside Target and engage people (all people) in gospel conversations, or maybe conduct a silly experiment, turn it into a video, add the gospel on the end, and post it on YouTube. Instead of raging against effeminate, lost men and masculine, lost women the Christian response is to love them in action and truth. The truth is the gospel. The action is gospel proclamation.
And shame on the Christian man who would put the women in his life at risk by allowing them to use a Target bathroom, just so he can boast of his manliness by standing guard outside the restroom. If the same man really loves the women in his life, he will not take them to Target in the first place.
Regarding the Target bathrooms situation, how’s your heart?
Michael Adams says
Thank you again Tony for keeping perspective on this issue and for sharing.
Interesting view, I wonder your opinion on this once all restrooms are this way. Would you not protect your family then? This issue is not a Target issue. It is a depraved society issue. You are an enabler if you do nothing but hand them a gospel tract. These are mentally and demonically disturbed people. Not people with just another sin. To compare this perversion to someone who tends to worry instead of trusting God, or getting angry because of poor self control is at best absolute ignorance and at worst willingly ignoring reality in an attempt to hyper spiritualize an issue for a high readership and response number. Called trolling.
Tony, I agree that the person’s comments were not very Christ-like, but you almost come across as someone who believes in sinless perfection to quickly judge that person’s salvation.
Requesting that you disregard my previous comment so that I may more clearly state my reply to the article.
Interesting view, I wonder your opinion on this once all restrooms are this way. Would you not protect your family then? As you say, this issue is not a Target issue. It is a depraved society issue. Are you not complicit if you do nothing but hand them a gospel tract. These are mentally and demonically disturbed people. Not people with just another sin. The men who are posing a threat are beyond reason or they would not contemplate their debauchery to begin with. To be clear it is not your typical transgender that even poses a threat to your children or your wife or your daughter it is the demented pervert man looking for an opportunity/excuse to get near your children.To compare this perversion to someone who tends to worry instead of trusting God, or getting angry because of poor self control is at best absolute ignorance and at worst willingly ignoring reality in an attempt to hyper spiritualize an issue. I agree that we should not be desiring situations that will allow us to carnally beat someone up. We should not put our family in situations where they are in danger. However the rhetoric that I am hearing are simply men who are assuring their family members that there is nothing to worry about because they will protect them. This is not sinful, it is as God designed it. All of God’s creatures do this, all of God’s creatures posture and make a lot of noise and make themselves appear bigger than they are when there is a perceived threat against their mate or offspring. With your background as a police officer and as a open air minister I know that you already know this. I appreciate your faithfulness in service to the Lord but I find this article to be a little high minded and at times it comes accross as self righteous.
Peter Ratcliff says
Cooling off on this subject I think the final outcome will be individual private unisex bathrooms with individual private entrances rather than several cubicles in one room. We have these in some of our streets in the UK and you probably have them there in the USA, They get automatically washed out between visitors and the question of who is who vanishes away.
Zack L. says
Thanks Tony. I was concerned as to what your point was when I first saw the YouTube video. This is a helpful, well-rounded way to circle back to the same event and share more of your heart.
I think we would agree that a legitimately confused and broken individual who uses the women’s restroom is not going to be the main culprit behind any acts of perversion against women in those bathrooms. The foolishness of this decision is to think they can open the door so wide and not have other, ill-intentioned people come in.
I too have been concerned about the hostility shown toward transgender people as a result of this decision. Seems like some people are revealing their lack of love of compassion and are using this as an outlet to “legitimately” express their hate.
Cash Willis says
@Tom The Bible says in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is [a]inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for [b]training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
Please if you are going to rebuke or correct Tony please use scripture in context not your opinion. God’s word is greater than your opinion. You obviously missed the point of this article and for you to make the false claims you did without scripture is a mark against you.
I encourage you to examine yourself and see if you truly know Christ in light of 2 Corinthians 13:5 and if you do pls be zealous and repent. This is a gospel issue.
I am concerned as a woman. I agree with Tom, that the transgender community will not be the individuals posing the threat in the use of women’s bathrooms. Their goal is to be accepted. But I think we are living in a fantasy world void of the reality of sin, if we think that handing out tracts at the entrance to a bathroom or coating a parking lot with the gospel will affect the outcome of the open invitation to assault women to those who would wish to do so. I agree that women who are aware of a potential threat should not willingly go to those places but who knew it would ever be a Target bathroom or in my daughter’s case, a commuter campus university, who once a month, covers the gender signs on the bathroom doors so that she has to go off campus to use the facilities to feel safe? Something is wrong here. And in defense of women, I applaud a man who feels the need to defend responsibly. And the boycott of Target isn’t a spiritual deficiency; it is the voice of women saying, please someone protect us and the welfare of our girls’ sense of security that we can just use the bathroom publicly and not be afraid. That is all it is for me. That doesn’t seem like too much to ask.