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Conservative group calls for Target boycott over transgender bathroom policy

The American Family Association said the policy "poses a danger to wives and daughters." About 200,000 people have signed a petition.
This Aug. 11, 2015, file photo, shows a Target store in Miami. (Photo by Lynne Sladky/AP)
This Aug. 11, 2015, file photo, shows a Target store in Miami.

The American Family Association is calling for a Target boycott in response to a decision made by the retailer this week to allow transgender employees and customers to use bathrooms that correlate with their gender identity.

The conservative Christian group argues that Target's policy "poses a danger to wives and daughters," and said about 200,000 people have signed a petition to boycott as of Friday afternoon.

"This means a man can simply say he 'feels like a woman today' and enter the women's restroom... even if young girls or women are already in there," AFA President Tim Wildmon said in an open letter. "Target's policy is exactly how sexual predators get access to their victims. And with Target publicly boasting that men can enter women's bathrooms, where do you think predators are going to go?"

The Minneapolis-based retail giant on Tuesday, became one of the country's largest retailers to weigh in on the ongoing debate about gender-neutral bathrooms. The company released a statement saying that "we welcome transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity."

Target did not respond to MSNBC's request for comment on Friday about calls for a boycott. 

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Reuters reported that a spokeswoman said the company "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."

Last month, North Carolina became the first state to enact a law prohibiting transgender people from using bathrooms and lockers rooms that do not correspond with their gender assigned at birth. The move has triggered an outcry throughout liberal and business circles. Companies including PayPal Holdings and Deutsche Bank have suspended projects in North Carolina and have called on Governor Pat McCrory and lawmakers to repeal the law.

A transgender bathroom measure failed in the Tennessee legislature this week, after the House sponsor, Representative Susan Lynn, said she wants to see how legal challenges play out in other states that have passed similar bills.