June 3rd 2017


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COVER STORY Left poisons Trump's real achievements

EUTHANASIA It must be war, as truth has been the first casualty

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE Dr David van Gend criticises AMA statement

GENDER POLITICS U.S. Target goes gender neutral; pays the price

GENDER POLITICS Where have all the transgenders gone?

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Graceless new book takes hatchet to Cardinal Pell

CULTURAL HISTORY The prophets of eco-doom: a perfect record of failure

LAW AND SOCIETY Religion in the balance in Australia

MUSIC What's it all about?: when no amount of ado will do

CINEMA Alien: Covenant: Creature seeks Creator

BOOK REVIEW Insights for the euthanasia debate

BOOK REVIEW Assistance is an Australian strength

LETTERS

CANBERRA OBSERVED Abbott strives not to join the forgotten people

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Is Cardinal Pell just the tallest poppy of them all?

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GENDER POLITICS
U.S. Target goes gender neutral; pays the price


by Chris McCormack

News Weekly, June 3, 2017

The pursuit of rainbow politics is proving to be a thorn in the side for Target stores in America. Since April 19, 2016, when the chain announced it would allow transgender customers and employees to use change rooms and bathrooms corresponding to their gender identity rather than to their biological sex,[1] its share price has plummeted from around $US84 to $US55 today.

The announcement triggered several petitions by the American Family Association and others signed by 1.5 million people saying they would boycott Target until the mixed-sex change-room policy was reversed. Target has recently fired five top executives and has slashed chief executive Brian Cornell's pay by a third.[2]

Target’s decision to adopt transgender bathroom facilities could be described as a case of “virtue signalling” in response to North Carolina’s (NC) legislation weeks earlier that schools and public agencies retain gender-segregated bathrooms to prevent people from using a bathroom that didn’t correspond to their biological sex.[3]

The response to the NC legislation from PayPal was to cancel plans to build a new operations centre in Charlotte, NC, the New York Governor banned its state employees from making non-essential work trips to North Carolina, and composer Stephen Schwartz announced that he would not allow his musicals to be performed in that state.[4]

In the preceding months, citizens in South Dakota and Texas had voted down bills allowing transgenders to access a bathroom that differed from their biological sex. The Texas Supreme Court ordered a public vote following an appeal against the Houston City Council ordinance known as HERO that made it illegal to discriminate against anyone based on 15 different “protected characteristics”, including sexual orientation and gender identity.[5] The public vote against transgender bathrooms in South Dakota was subsequently vetoed by Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard.[6]

Prior to Target’s adoption of transgender restrooms, seven other U.S. states had been looking to retain men’s bathrooms for biological men and women’s bathrooms for biological women.[7]

Despite the fall in revenue from boycotting consumers and over $US15 billion being wiped from the value of Target’s shares, Target maintained the bathroom policy had had no effect on its business. Company spokeswoman Erika Winkels said: “We have made it clear over time that we’ve seen no material impact to the business based on the bathroom policy. We don’t have anything new or different to share.”[8]

A YouGov Brand Index survey in the week following the Target bathroom announcement showed a 4 per cent drop in the number of consumers who would consider purchasing from Target the next time they shopped at a department store.[9] Considering Target is the second largest discount retailer in the United States, this would equate to a considerable fall in revenue.

In 2015, Target removed “boys” and “girls” signs from its toys and bedding departments and declared support for the “Equality Act”, which ensures that religious freedom defers to the LGBT agenda.[12] In 2016, in response to the aforementioned North Carolina legislation, it turned half of its trademark red and white bullseye logo into a gay-pride rainbow.[13]Transgender bathrooms is just one of a suite of measures Target has taken in the pursuit of the rainbow agenda. In 2012 it advertised a same-sex “wedding registry” and in August 2014 signed onto an amicus brief to redefine marriage (in the 7th Circuit).[10] The same year Target released a #takepride line of clothing with LGBT messages such as “I love my dads”,[11] the sales raising money for LGBT groups. The clothing line is still available in 2017.

One could surmise that, while the boycott cannot account for all of Target’s misfortunes, executives distracted by pursuing the rainbow agenda has meant they have failed to respond to the growth of online retailers and establish a viable market strategy.

The company has, nonetheless, yielded to the pressure of the boycott by spending $US20 million to install additional single-toilet bathrooms at all its stores at the request of the boycott leaders, although the leaders wanted the policy of mixed-sex bathrooms to end altogether.[14]

It is important to note that “Target Corp has no affiliation with Target Australia”. “There is no relationship between our companies,” U.S. Target spokesman Eric Hausman said.[15]

However, given that Wesfarmers, the owner of Target Australia, signed a letter by corporates demanding the Federal Government legislate same-sex marriage in Australia, the decline of Target in America should serve as a salient lesson for Wesfarmers subsidiaries, including Target Australia, in how to avoid alienating customers.

The spread of transgender politics in the U.S. has gone so far that the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) core competencies document now uses gender-neutral language so as not to offend transgenders, particularly female-to-male persons who were pregnant or had children. MANA replaced pregnant woman with “birthing parent”, “pregnant people”, “pregnant person” and “pregnant individuals”.[16]

In response to the language change, Woman-Centred Midwifery issued an open letter to MANA saying, “women are all but missing from the language” due to the “erasure” of the word “woman”.

“We know as midwives that biological sex occurs at the level of our DNA and the gametes we produce, and is immutable. By embracing the idea that any human other than those in a class called women carry offspring to term, give birth to them and nurse them, we are prioritising gender identity over biological reality …

“The very few gender-identified males that have given birth or accessed an abortion have only done so because they are female-bodied people, and that scientific fact cannot be erased.”[17]

We are now seeing the imposition of transgender “rights” in Australia too. The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission this week launched guidelines for sporting organisations aimed at promoting transgender participation.

The guide states: “Trans and gender-diverse people should be able to use the toilets, change rooms and facilities appropriate to their identified gender … Not allowing a trans or gender-diverse person to do so may be distressing to them and potentially unlawful.”[18]

Apart from the privacy and safety concerns of opposite sexes sharing change rooms, the inherent unfairness and strength disparity of men who identify as women competing against women in sport is mind boggling. The guide states: “Best practice here and overseas is that in non-elite level sport, people should be allowed to participate as their gender regardless of hormone or other medical treatments.”[19]

In February 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump revoked former President Barack Obama’s dictate to public schools that they allow transgenders to have access to the bathroom of their choice, or face funding cuts. The bathroom wars will continue to be waged in the U.S. as Title IX (a 1972 law that prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded education) is decided by the courts,[20] and here, where corporates intent on virtue signalling and activist groups wanting to remake society vigorously pursue the rainbow agenda.

References

[1] Warner Todd Huston, “Pro-family group launches #BoycottTarget movement over transgender-friendly bathroom policy”, breitbart.com, April 22, 2016.

[2] “The news for Target is getting worse and worse”, American Family Association, May 10, 2017.

 [3] Leah Libresco, “Seven other states are considering restricting bathrooms for transgender people”, FiveThirtyEight, April 6, 2016.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Alexa Ura, “Bathroom fears flush Houston discrimination ordinance”, November 3, 2015.

[6] Greg Botelho and Wayne Drash, “South Dakota Governor vetoes transgender bathroom bill”, March 2, 2016.

[7] Leah Libresco, op cit.

[8] “Did Target’s stock ‘crash’ due to its transgender bathroom policy?

[9] Ted Marzilli, “Target’s perception drops after transgender bathroom announcement”, YouGovBrandIndex, April 28, 2016.

[10] Alicia Powe, “Target doubles down on gay pride despite losses in bathroom war”, May 7, 2015.

[11] Heather Cichowski, “For the fifth year in a row, Target is celebrating Pride Month with its #TakePride collection”, May 12, 2017.

[12] Alicia Powe, op cit.

 [13] Khadeeja Safdar, “How Target botched its response to the North Carolina bathroom law”, The Wall Street Journal, April 5, 2017.

[14] Chris Isidore, “Target’s $20 million answer to transgender bathroom boycott”, CNN Money, August 17, 2016.

[15] Thomas Lee, “Target has a twin in Australia, but they’re not related”, Star Tribune, August 24, 2013.

[16] Midwives Alliance Core Competencies document, Midwives Alliance of North America. Accessed May 7, 2017.

[17] “Open letter to MANA – sign on”, Women-Centered Midwifery. Accessed May 7, 2017.

[18] Ben Winsor, “Victoria releases guidelines for trans inclusivity in sport”, SBS, May 18, 2017.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Daniel Trotta, “Trump revokes Obama guidelines on transgender bathrooms”, Reuters, February 23, 2017.




























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March 16, 2017, 10:40 am