This week, the American Family Association, an anti-LGBT Christian organization, urged it’s members through a social media campaign to boycott Target. The campaign was organized in the wake of Target’s announcement that its corporate policy would allow transgender persons to use the bathroom and dressing room of their choice at Target stores. The AFA is joined in their effort by the misleadingly-named sister organization One Million Moms (which has about 85,000 likes on Facebook).
The AFA alleges that the new policy poses a safety risk to women and children at Target. In an online petition, they wrote:
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?
Conflating LGBT people with sexual predators is nothing new in the anti-LGBT movement, and neither is the AFA organizing a boycott. In 2008, it called for a boycott against McDonald’s for “promoting the homosexual agenda” in response to the fast-food chain refusing to condemn its Vice President of Communications, Richard Ellis, for joining the board of a pro-LGBT business group. In spite of the boycott, McDonald’s 2008 year-end stock price was up 6% over the previous year.
Target and McDonald’s aren’t the only companies to have felt the wrath of the AFA and their ilk. Other companies that have been targeted include: 7/11, Disney, Microsoft, Allstate Insurance, Citigroup, American Airlines, Ford, Crest, Tide, Kraft Foods, PepsiCo, WalMart, and many more.
One commonality among these boycott campaigns: the targeted companies all survived them. In the policy arena, the AFA does occasionally score some victories, such as the recent North Carolina “bathroom bill”, but consider where it started. In 1977, when the AFA was founded, homosexuality was illegal in 30 states and 88% of the country considered themselves Christians. In 2016, anti-sodomy laws are a relic of the past, same-sex marriage is legal in all fifty states, and the Christian population has fallen to 70%. Over the last four decades, the organization has been on the losing side of the culture war. Boycotting Target won’t change that.
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