BLOGTarget Gets Maggie’s Drawers

By Gary McCaleb Posted on: | June 14, 2016

“Maggie’s Drawers.” It’s an odd phrase, but if you’ve ever shot on a military shooting range, you know what it means: “you completely missed the target,” and showing no mercy, the range observers wave a big red flag--nicknamed Maggie’s Drawers—to let everyone know you failed. Seriously failed.

And if anyone’s earned Maggie’s Drawers lately, it would be (ironically) a target itself—as in the department store Target, after it unveiled and now staunchly defends its outlandish policy inviting men into women’s bathrooms.

Let me count the ways—or at least get started—that Target missed the mark:

1. Target missed the mark for “inclusion” when it told over 99.9% of its customers that their privacy and modesty will not be protected in Target bathrooms. Every woman going into the ladies’ room has zero assurance that it will remain a ladies’ room while she tends to business. No more respite in the restroom, it seems….

2. Target missed the mark on safety: its policy does not permit any inquiry into whether the man in the women’s room is legitimately bearing the burden of gender dysphoria (the psychological condition underlying transgenderism) or is there for more unsavory reasons. No, indeed; a man need only assert that he’s the opposite sex and suddenly it’s the woman in the ladies’ room who is out of line if she protests. Obviously, a person suffering gender dysphoria is not necessarily a threat to women. But Target’s policy wildly misses the mark when it automatically affirms the bare assertion that a man is a woman, period.

3. Target missed the mark on truly caring about the issue when it created a bad policy instead of asking a good question: how should society accommodate those with gender dysphoria? And that question desperately needs to be asked, given that the current “therapy” treats one’s inborn sex like a cancer: cut it away and suppress symptoms with lifelong drug treatment. Indeed, the wisdom, ethics, and effectiveness of that approach should be seriously questioned when recent studies show that men and women undergoing sex realignment surgery/drug regimens suffer triple the mortality rate and almost twenty times the suicide rate over time (as documented in a recent Swedish study), a lack of satisfaction with life, and elevated risks for stroke, heart attack, liver disease, cancer, and other diseases. Meanwhile, Target and its coterie of transgender advocates reject less invasive approaches to resolving gender dysphoria in favor of grandstanding in bathrooms. Is this truly caring?

4. And Target missed the mark by ignoring the simple and gracious solution—allowing anyone to use family restrooms which it has pledged to put in every store (and nearly 80% already have them). These are completely private, single occupancy, lockable restrooms. If they are good enough for a mom with a squalling baby, a disabled man struggling with a wheelchair, or simply a shy adolescent who wants extra privacy, surely they’d suffice for those few souls who struggle with self-perceptions of sex.

Now, of course there’s nobody outside of Target waving “Maggie’s Drawers” to show how badly Target has missed—but the point is being made as its revenues plunge and shareholders revolt. Yet getting back on target would be simple: guide men to the men’s room and ladies to the ladies’ room, and those undecided or confused may retire to the individual facilities. And with that, Target could retire a policy that missed the mark by a mile or more.


Help Keep Women and Children Safe
Policies permitting access to restrooms, locker rooms, and changing rooms based on a person’s gender identity, rather than their biological sex, are being enacted across the country. If you agree that we must do everything we can to protect the privacy and safety of women and children, sign the statement today.

Gary McCaleb

Senior Counsel

Gary McCaleb serves as senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, where he is a member of the Center for Cultural Engagement and Scholarship.

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