Like going up for a layup against Mutombo.
Amid the national controversy over North Carolina’s transgender bathroom law, retail giant Target recently made headlines for announcing an inclusive restroom policy that allows customers to use the restroom that corresponds with their gender identity. A Florida man named Andy Park decided to put this new policy to the test by secretly filming himself inside a Target store in St. Petersburg, Florida.
In a video posted on Youtube, Park approaches a Target store employee and asks if he can use the women’s restroom, stating, “Sometimes I get uncomfortable in the men’s room.” The staff member directs Park to an Assets Protection employee named Gerard who confirms that Park is indeed allowed to use the women’s restroom. Gerard further explains that if any women have a problem, “We’ll speak to them about it.”
It may not look like a whole lot on video (and the video is pretty poorly shot) but the casual way in which the Target employees handle this troll shows how far our attitudes about inclusiveness have come. He came expecting to get a startling reaction out of the employees, something that would create an Internet firestorm of outrage or at least show how the workers at Target were not behind their corporate policy. Instead, he found a customer service employee simply focused on his job, literally laughing off another question about the bathroom policy and directing the would-be sleuth to a manager perfectly ready for the question.
Park’s video has gone viral, prompting outrage from opponents of Target’s inclusive restroom policy. Many commenters have expressed the sentiment that Target’s policy prioritizes the need for a transgender person to feel comfortable using the restroom of their choice regardless of how it might affect someone else’s comfort levels. The video does not actually show how the store plans to address the new policy with any customers who express their discomfort. But perhaps the real impetus for this video’s 500k views (and counting) are the people sharing it because they support Target’s policy and are bringing attention to this failed attempt to catch Target in an embarrassing moment.
Following an inquiry from Mediaite.com regarding Park’s video, a Target spokesperson sent out the following response: “Thanks for reaching out. We certainly respect that there are a wide variety of perspectives and opinions. As a company that firmly stands behind what it means to offer our team an inclusive place to work — and our guests an inclusive place to shop – we continue to believe that this is the right thing for Target. Thanks!”
Across the nation, protests have erupted in response to Target’s new policy. A petition started by the American Family Association that asks customers to boycott the retail chain has rapidly gained over 830,000 supporting signatures. Yet even among the backlash, Target maintains that “every team member, every guest, and every community deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally. […] We welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity.”