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Boycott over Target bathroom policy nets more than 400,000 pledges

This Tuesday, May 17, 2011, file photo, shows a Target sign on the front of a Target Store, in Wilsonville, Ore.
This Tuesday, May 17, 2011, file photo, shows a Target sign on the front of a Target Store, in Wilsonville, Ore. AP

On Tuesday, Target announced that transgender people would be able to use the bathroom and fitting room that aligns with their gender identity in Target stores. By Sunday, more than 400,000 pledges to boycott the big-box retailer had been collected.

The American Family Association is calling for the boycott, echoing arguments used to support controversial North Carolina legislation requiring transgender people to use the bathroom that matches their sex at birth.

“Target's policy is exactly how sexual predators get access to their victims,” AFA President Tim Wildmon said Thursday in a statement on the group’s website. “And with Target publicly boasting that men can enter women's bathrooms, where do you think predators are going to go? Clearly, Target's new policy poses a danger to wives and daughters.”

Wildmon went on to suggest Target provide unisex bathrooms, “for the trans community, and for those who simply like using the bathroom alone.”

The AFA has been listed as an extremist group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that monitors hate groups. The AFA “has been extremely vocal over the years in its opposition to LGBT rights, marriage equality and allowing gay men and lesbians to serve in the military,” the SPLC says on its website.

Target is standing by its policy, Reuters reported Friday.

"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," company spokeswoman Molly Snyder told the news service.

An earlier version of this story stated that more than 400,000 people had signed the American Family Association pledge to boycott Target. The boycott has collected more than 400,000 pledges, but that may not translate to more than 400,000 individual signers.

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