By Samantha Allen, 04.26.16 2:40 PM ET
More than a half-million people have signed on to boycott Target for their transgender-friendly bathroom policy. But why stop there?
When Target reiterated last week that transgender employees and customers can use restrooms and fitting rooms that match their gender, apoplectic bigots threatened to boycott.
The American Family Association (AFA), a fundamentalist Christian nonprofit that is considered a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), claims to have gathered more than 517,000 signatures on its petition.
“Target’s store policy endangers women and children by allowing men to frequent women’s facilities,” the boycott pledge reads. “Until Target makes the safety of women and children a priority, I will shop elsewhere.”
Groups like the AFA often cite rare fringe cases of non-transgender sexual predators dressing like women in bathrooms but fail to clarify that these criminals can already be prosecuted under existing privacy legislation.
For instance, a Virginia man who dressed as a woman and brought recording equipment into a ladies’ room last year was charged with peeping and unlawful filming. Additional laws focused on chromosomesor birth certificates were—and are still—unnecessary.
But facts aside, if any open support of transgender people is a deal-breaker for the half-million signatories on AFA’s pledge, then the boycott needs to get bigger. A lot bigger.
Last year, 407 businesses achieved a perfect score of 100 on the Corporate Equality Index (CEI), a survey distributed by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) that measures support for LGBT employees and the broader LGBT community. That high score is impossible to achieve without having trans-inclusive health-care and anti-discrimination policies that include gender identity.
In other words, money spent at at these businesses helps to normalize a culture in which transgender people are seen as valid and worthy of special protection.
These 407 companies aren’t exactly mom-and-pop shops, either. It would be almost impossible for bigots to avoid doing business with all of them.
In fact, if you oppose transgender rights, you shouldn’t even be spreading AFA’s petition using their recommended #BoycottTarget hashtag because Facebook, Twitter, and Google all aced the CEI. Every minute spent on those social media giants helps them promote LGBT equality, including the T.
If you don’t want your money to go to a company that openly supports transgender people, you can’t buy an iPhone, eat an Egg McMuffin, drink a Sprite, stock up Budweiser, or fill your prescriptions at either of the nation’s two largest pharmacy chains because Apple, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Anheuser-Busch, Walgreens, and CVS all scored a 100 on the HRC index.
Good luck flying anywhere without putting money in the coffers of companies that proudly endorse LGBT rights. American, United, Southwest, JetBlue, and Alaska Airlines all earned top marks, as did Boeing. If you decide to travel by car instead, be sure you’re not in a vehicle manufactured by Ford, GM, Toyota, Nissan, or Volkswagen.
Without a car, you will have to wear non-Nike shoes to walk to your local ATM, where you should withdraw all of your money because most major banks—including Chase, Bank of America, Citi, and Wells Fargo—have a 100 on the CEI. Get used to paying with cash because you will have to shred your credit cards. Mastercard, Visa, American Express, and Discover all have a perfect rating, too.
The only problem: Your options for offloading that cash are fairly limited if you don’t want any of it to go toward a world in which transgender people can pee in peace. Build your own furniture because IKEA’s a no-go but do not get the tools for it at Home Depot. You can’t buy clothes at JCPenney, Sears, Nordstrom, or, of course, Target, nor can you purchase food sold by General Mills, Kellogg, Kraft, or Kroger.
After withdrawing from public life and buying most of your goods in cash from local artisans, you will probably find yourself in need of decent home entertainment. But if you oppose trans-friendly businesses, you will have to do without a DirecTV or even a Sirius XM Radio subscription.
The good news is you can watch movies but there’s a catch. Five of the six major film production companies—Sony, Universal, Paramount, Disney, and Warner Bros.—all have a 100 on the CEI.
And last but not least, if you are so upset with Target for allying themselves with the transgender community that you’re willing to boycott, you may have to stop reading this article right now and unplug your Internet. Comcast, AT&T, and Time Warner all have transgender-inclusive policies. There’d be no more #BoycottTarget movement, sure, but at least you’d be consistent.