The Corner


A Viral Video Illustrates Why Target Is Making Me Rethink My Opposition to Boycotts

I’ve written about this many times before, but I’ll say it again — I hate boycott culture. I believe that boycotts represent efforts limit free speech through economic reprisal rather than rebut bad speech with better ideas. Also, boycotts often end up merely helping one progressive corporation at the expense of another, without impacting the underlying culture in any measurable way. Finally, boycotts almost always fail — unless of course the boycotts are led by progressives, and their targets are  states led by quivering Republicans. In that case, even the threat of a boycott can cause immediate capitulation.

Instead of boycotting, I do my best to inform and persuade — all while supporting the best conservative entrepreneurs, the people who represent our best hope for corporate culture change. There are times, however, when I can be pushed too far — when a boycott isn’t so much a matter of making a statement as it is a matter of safety. Target has decided to open its bathrooms to people of any gender — allowing people to choose the restroom “that corresponds with their gender identity.” It didn’t do so because it was compelled by law but because it made a choice, a choice that could needlessly and foolishly expose my wife and daughters to sexual predators, with store staff helpless to do anything to stop even obviously masculine people from walking into a woman’s bathroom.

The video below is illustrative, where a person who’s obviously male not only gets clear permission to enter the women’s room, he also extracts a pledge from management to handle any women who may object:

Obviously the odds of any given negative incident are quite low, but if I’m given the choice between a store that opens the women’s room to men and one that doesn’t, why would I choose the store that provides an opening for sexual predators? The kind of people who prey on women and girls can and will exploit every opportunity to do so, and to provide them with additional access to mothers and daughters is madness. Target is doing so for the sake of making a statement on behalf of the extraordinarily small slice of the population that (1) identifies as transgender; and (2) is too stubborn to use either a stall in the restroom for their sex or the increasing number of single-occupancy “family restrooms” that proliferate in newer stores. A man who bypasses a single-occupancy restroom to use the women’s room isn’t simply trying to relieve himself, he’s making a statement.  

The Left tells the public that transgenderism looks like Caitlyn Jenner or Laverne Cox. In reality, it presents a spectrum of appearance and behavior that leaves store employees helpless to discern the difference between the pranksters, predators, and the genuine troubled souls in the trans community. Target’s social justice warriors are placing its employees and its customers in a precarious position. I’ve shopped there for years. I may never again.

David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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