Locals offer mixed reactions to transgender restroom issue
By Ashley Williams
Public restrooms have become quite a talking point across the country and Tallahassee is perhaps just as engrossed in the conversation.
At the heart of the issue is whether transgender people should use the restroom based on how they were born and not what they identify with. A recent law passed in North Carolina has intensified the issue because the law bans individuals from using restrooms that doesn’t correspond to their biological gender.
While Tallahassee doesn’t have any such law, it remains an open debate as some businesses in the city refuse to get into the gender argument by allowing transgender use.
“Thinking of my niece, it makes me think there should be a separate bathroom because it could be confusing for a young child to see someone transgender walk in,” said Kayla Potts, a Target shopper.
Target around the nation is now implementing this new policy in all restroom and fitting-rooms.
Target has faced major backlash, with a Twitter hashtag titled #BoycottTarget. It is not clear of the financial effect on Target’s bottom line, although millions have signed the on-line petition.
There are some customers who are boycotting Target and are outraged at the new restroom and fitting room policies, stating transgenders can use the restroom and fitting room they identify with, and not their birth gender.
Although there has not been any widespread boycotting in Tallahassee, opinions vary among customers about the new policy. Some people have decided to no longer shop at Target.
Transgender isn’t the only issue that raises concern and while some might have an opinion they would prefer to remain anonymous.
“A man is going to go in a woman’s bathroom whether there is a policy or not,” said a Target shopper who requested anonymity.” Perverts are going to do whatever they want, we cannot stop them.”
Confronting LGBT issues isn’t new to Target. In June 2015, Target created a hashtag #TakePrideWithTarget.
Target has gone as far as to feature pro-gay advertising, according to the Huffington Post.
The issue with Target is only the beginning. This past Friday, the Obama administration released a letter of guidance that states public school districts should allow transgender students to use the bathroom they identify with.
“There is no room in our schools for discrimination of any kind, including discrimination against transgender students on the basis of their sex,” US Attorney General Loretta Lynch was quoted as saying to the N.Y. Post.
However, most in Tallahassee’s LGBT community does not see restroom choice as an issue.
“There should be less time spent on what bathrooms people use,” said Tiffany Minter, a member of Tallahassee’s LGBT community. “We are all aware of the concerns people have and as a member of the LGBT community, a step toward equality doesn’t go unnoticed and won’t be taken for granted.”
Most of the protest stem from concern over the impact gender-related restrooms could have on children.
One resolution could be as simple as taking a look at unisex restrooms, said Chelsea Clarke, vice president of the FAMU Chapter of National Association of Black Journalist.
“I don’t see it as a problem,” said Clarke a frequent Target shopper. “Having a unisex bathroom in the middle of men and women would alleviate any uncomfortable customers’ verses just allowing them to use the gender of choice. It is sad that it comes down to this, but we should find a middle ground so that all customers are happy with Target’s new policy.”