Yesterday a first happened, we were harassed by bigots trying to get petition signers for an anti-transgender bathroom bill right outside Target.
I hate feeling powerless. I hate not being able to resort to my baser instincts when confronted by people who hurt my husband.
We were going to Target to pick up some things for the house. We are fortunate, there is one across the street from us so we just wandered over. As we got to the front of Target we noticed the petition signers out front. As we walked in we both wondered aloud if they were for the anti-transgender bathroom bill (Souther Poverty Law Center’s writeup here on it).
We didn’t think much about it until we came back out of Target. Right in front of the out door was a very loud, older black male yelling for people to come sign for a bill that will protect women and children in Washington State.
Those are the magic words we knew meant this was an anti-transgender bathroom bill.
He yelled over to us “Gentleman, come sign this petition” I walked over to just verify which bill, and it was I-1552. The thing about I-1552 is that it isn’t just a normal anti-transgender bathroom bill, but actually establishes penalties to school districts that “expose children to transgender people”.
Yep, it is not only horrible, but more horrible then any other law that came up so far, even in the Deep Red areas. Fortunately it failed to get enough signatures in 2016, hoping the same in 2017.
Wolsey just looked stunned at the guy, I saw the shiver he gets before he erupts, but I am proud of him. He just threw his hands up and said “You want me to sign a petition to make what I am illegal” and he stomped off. Meanwhile the asshole sitting down trying to sell us this petition looked shocked at Wolsey being transgender and then began trying to explain it isn’t a bad bill and he should still sign it. He then started screaming at Wolsey, I am assuming that is when he realized that Wolsey was actually transgender. Most people forget that it isn’t only transgender ladies, but that there is transgender men, and Wolsey definitely looks like a very masculine male.
I was stunned. I couldn’t do what I wanted to and flip that table, I couldn’t scream at the guy (even as his yelling in general became yelling at us) and I just closed down and walked away. Next time I will remember to get a photo before I say anything to them. The guy just started to lose his shit at me and I was thankful I had kept my cool.
We went home and were both furious. Why would Target allow them to be outside of the building. After all, Target is known to be supportive of the LGBTQA community. Was this all just for show? After all there was a boycott back in 2010, but since then Target has come out defending LGBTQA people, and especially the transgender community and bathrooms (Target CEO Says Company Won’t Back Down on Trans Bathroom Policy). This is one of the many reasons we shop here instead of Walmart.
The panic that Target let these people be here passed though. I spoke to a man at Target who was in charge (will keep his name away so I don’t get him in trouble). I was expecting him to tell me he couldn’t do anything, however I got the opposite.
The gentleman seemed pleased and said that my call was exactly what he was hoping for. Evidently the Renton Police had refused the Target’s request to have the petition signers move away from their door because they had not harassed or bothered people. The guy’s screaming at us and harassing Wolsey was all he needed.
The good thing about this, the gentleman didn’t have a ton of voice of being polite and doing something because he had to, he sounded like he really wanted those people out and he was horrified by what they were doing.
I didn’t see the petition signers later that day, I hope that he was able to remove them, but the fact that he was so supportive of it meant everything to me and Wolsey. I may hate feeling like I have no control, but at least there are others out there that will support us, and that made all the difference.
They just proved to me that Target means what it says.