Douchebag Decree: The American Family Association

We’re reviving our Douchebag Decree column, which takes one douchey person or thing to task each week. Read more Douchebag Decrees right here. This week’s douchebag: The American Family Association.

Throughout this week, the hashtag #BoycottTarget has been trending on Facebook. Pour quoi? Because the American Family Association (AFA) is very, very, very upset that the retailer issued a statement saying that transgender shoppers and employees can use the bathrooms and dressing rooms of the gender they identify with. So far, over 900,000 douchebags across the country have signed their pledge to boycott the retailer.

The AFA—which, SURPRISE, is designated as an anti-LGBT hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center—is claiming that they are not being transphobic and that they are not worried about trans women being predators, but are instead concerned that “sex predators” will use this policy to sneak into women’s rest rooms for nefarious purposes. The AFA says in their petition:   

“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. 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? Clearly, Target's new policy poses a danger to wives and daughters.”

Please note that women, in AFA speak, are always primarily referred to as “wives and daughters.” If you are an unmarried orphan, with no man to validate your existence, I guess you can just go screw? You know, because it’s not about you getting hurt, it’s about some man’s property getting hurt. Important distinction!

But, back to the topic at hand. This is, above all else, a deeply, deeply stupid argument. Not just because it’s totally bigoted, not just because it’s weird to think that trans women are desperate to listen to you pee, but because it makes no goddamned sense.

        Read this next: Debunking Five Right-Wing Myths That Fuel Bathroom Bills
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Many of the people supporting the boycott on Facebook also appear to be deeply confused about how bathrooms work to begin with. Like the lady who wrote this brilliant screed:

“Well Target just lost my business if you want to dress up in women's clothes and parade around claiming you were born at the wrong address awesome but when I am in a ladies room and you pull out your penis your issue has become my issue. Let alone your child using the bathroom and being exposed to this. So sick of messed up people trying to make the unacceptable acceptable. Your issues are a abomination of God and calling it anything else is pure bull. It's not normal it's not ok. Keep it to yourself and stop pushing unacceptable crap on everyone.”

I don’t know about you, but I for one have never just walked into a restroom and whipped out my vagina for all to see. Barring perhaps a few awkward incidents involving late night bars and faulty stall locks, I am quite sure that I haven’t seen anyone else’s junk either. Would this lady be cool if I decided to flash my tits as she entered the ladies room? Probably not! In fact, she could probably have me arrested for indecent exposure. Just like she could if a cis male sex predator pretending walked in and started waving his dick in her face.   

ugh.

The truth, of course, is that these discriminatory bathroom measures are not really about “safety” and they know it. It’s about the fact that they feel uncomfortable about or downright hostile toward transgender people. They are mad people exists whose gender-identity disrupts their understanding of the status quo.  This becomes especially evident as you scroll through the #BoycottTarget posts and see many of these safety crusaders referring to trans people as “the transgenders.” Anyone who has made the slightest bit of effort to read up on trans issues would be well aware that this is not an appropriate term.

It becomes even more clear that this isn’t about safety when you take into consideration the fact that the AFA is not quite as concerned about sexual predators when those sexual predators are conservatives. For example, Sandy Rios, the governmental affairs director of the AFA, was very upset about people picking on Josh Duggar and Dennis Hastert for being child molesters. In those instances, “safety” took an immediate backseat to protecting their own.

Of course, the AFA and their supporters would prefer that people not think they are being jerks, so they continue to frame it as a “safety issue.” Like children covering their eyes and insisting that they’ve just become invisible, these people are certain that as long as they dress up their prejudices in other concerns or religious convictions, that no one will notice that they are being giant douchebags.

Interestingly, this whole “Oh no, we’re not bigots, we just care about safety!” thing is quite a departure for the AFA, which for the last two decades has been running around screaming about how terrible and evil LGBT people are. Usually, they are quite upfront about their dislike for LGBT people. Hell, they even employ Bryan Fischer (who was formerly their spokesperson and now just runs their talk radio station) who has suggested that it would be a good idea to kidnap children from gay households, and who also believes that gay people were entirely responsible for the Holocaust. Yikes.

The organization itself has previously boycotted Ford for advertising in LGBT magazines, Campbell’s for having an ad featuring a gay couple and their child, and Hallmark for making same-sex wedding cards. Their One Million Moms group has boycotted JC Penney for having Ellen Degeneres in their commercials. They have also come out strongly against anti-bullying efforts, which they claim oppress Christian students who feel it is their moral duty to bully LGBT students, just like Jesus would have.

OH! And they also opposed the appointment of Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan. Why? Because they were afraid she might be a lesbian, and firmly believed that “no lesbian is qualified to sit on the Supreme Court.”

Of course, it probably won’t surprise you to know that  American Family Association believes that businesses should be allowed to refuse service to gay people, and that companies should be allowed to refuse to provide women with insurance that covers birth control. They believe that business owners should have the right to their “freedom of conscience” when it comes to imposing their religious beliefs on others.

Clearly, they don’t believe that businesses have a right to a “freedom of conscience” when it comes to things they feel inconvenience them in any way. Clearly, they’re douchebags.

        Read this next: Debunking Five Right-Wing Myths That Fuel Bathroom Bills
        Read this next: Meet Six Women Running in Important Downticket Races

by Robyn Pennacchia
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Robyn Pennacchia lives in Chicago and writes about politics and whatnot for Wonkette. Previously, she has worked as an editor at The Frisky and Death and Taxes. You can follow her on Twitter @RobynElyse.

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