Target recently announced it would allow customers to use whatever bathroom they feel most comfortable in, to which I say, “Bravo!” Keep selling stuff I didn’t even know I needed but suddenly can’t live without, and I’ll keep shopping there. And now I have even more reason to spend my money in the land of the Red bullseye.
There are tons of reactions out there to Target’s stance on the bathroom issue: some incredibly supportive and others who denounce it. Those against the store’s decision say it endangers women and children by allowing men to enter the women’s restroom and dressing rooms. One million people have now signed a pledge to boycott the store. I’ve read so many reactions from both sides, trying to understand. I’ve queried personal friends about their thoughts on the matter, and they’ve respectfully and thoughtfully shared with me where they stand on the issue and why.
But probably the best thing I have ever read in my entire life was written by a woman I’ve never met, Missy Moody Richards. She is now my new hero. I do believe I’d walk through fire to shake her hand – or maybe even just touch it. She’s a preacher’s wife who says she will continue to shop at Target. She’s got an answer for every objection I’ve heard – an answer that is expressed articulately with humility and with humor. This is what Missy had to say about keeping her four children safe in the bathroom when she shops there:
We can pee before we come, we can pee when we leave or we can pee in our pants if we’re that terrified of what we might find behind the restroom door.
And while I loved that quote, what really got me is her discussion about how this debate actually gives us an opportunity to discuss why some people feel afraid.
Transgendered people have never hurt my children. But believe it or not, a whole bunch of church people have. (Oh, yes, I said that. Hand slap. See how that honesty bit gets me in trouble?) What does that mean? It means that ANYONE is capable of hurting my children. ANY.ONE. And it’s my job to keep them safe. But what if they did see a transgendered person in the restroom? Would the world really end? No. Because I would then have the opportunity to explain to my children, who don’t have any choice but to grow up in this messy world, that there are some people who feel like they are different and like they don’t belong anywhere. We could talk about what Jesus would do and how He would expect us to love them and how we would feel if we didn’t belong anywhere.
She goes on to say that if Jesus were walking the Earth today, he’d be standing outside the bathroom at Target not to scare the shit out the kids of this world, but to tell them He loves them. And then she said this:
I think He would much rather be inside Target with people who are broken and messy than outside of Target signing petitions to make the outcast feel a little more shunned.
BINGO! Nailed it.
Now you should know this: I am a believer. I haven’t been to church in many years, partly because I have struggled to find one that makes me feel at home, and that embraces all of my vast and varied (and sometimes more Buddhist than Christian) beliefs. I’m not going to start quoting a lot of Bible verses here (partly because I am not a Bible scholar and partly because I know that for every verse out there there is one that seemingly contradicts it) but I will quote this Matthew 7:1-2 because it means so much to me:
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
And that, my friends, is how I try to live my life. It’s not up to me to say who’s living life the ‘right’ way. Nor is it up to me to say what the ‘right’ way is. I just want to do the best I can to help, and not hurt, others. That’s it. I want to live a good life. Raise kids who respect and accept others for who they are. That’s the best lesson I can teach them.
So thank you, Preacher’s Wife, for spelling it out so clearly. And thank you, Target, for doing the right thing when it comes to this matter. You’ve got a lifelong supporter right here.