The American Family Association (AFA), the conservative group that has been at the center of the paranoid fear-mongering about “men in women’s restrooms” announced today that it is sending an army of men into women’s restrooms. The AFA recently launched a boycott of Target over the store’s policy of allowing transgender people to use the bathroom that matches their sexual identity, joining the nationwide frenzy of conservative fear-mongering about the imagined epidemic of sexual assault that they foresee as a consequence of granting transgender people equal rights.
In the best spirit of Operation Iraqi Liberation, however, the conservatives bigots have apparently decided that since the problem doesn’t exist, they should create it. Thus in an interview this morning on Breitbart News Daily, Sandy Rios, the AFA director of governmental affairs, admitted that the group is sending men into women’s bathrooms at Target to prove how much they don’t want men in women’s bathrooms at Target. After the program’s host heart-wrenchingly described the alternate reality in which Target is “trying to exclude people who are decent, hard-working people who don’t want their four-year-old daughter to have to go into a bathroom with a guy with a beard in a dress,” Rios dished out an example of doublethink that would make Big Brother proud:
I think there’s no question that when you say that there are no barriers in the bathroom, and that if men or women feel like they are men or women, the opposition of however they are equipped, and you have no restrictions, the net effect will be that people will not be stopped. We’ve already had people testing this, going into Targets and men trying to go into bathrooms. There is absolutely no barrier
The conservative bigot community has been in quite the tizzy about bathrooms ever since North Carolina passed a remarkably discriminatory anti-LGBT bathroom bill, which is analogous to defending Plessy v. Ferguson in the name of the sanctity of water fountains. Neither the utter lack of any evidence of transgender assaults in bathrooms nor the contradiction with typical Republican attitude of patriarchal disdain for the victims of sexual assault has done anything to stop their righteous crusade to protect women and girls from having to go to the bathroom adjacent to someone who might have – gasp! – different genitals.
And yet in spite of their crocodile tears there has not been one example of Target’s bathroom policy being abused by male-identifying men attempting to gain entry to women’s restrooms. This is not terribly surprising given that bathrooms are not nearly as exciting to most Americans as they are to Republican bigots. Now, however, the AFA has provided numerous examples itself with its holy testing of the toilets. It is typical of the self-righteous attitude of these theocratic social crusaders that they are unable to see their own actions as contradicting their supposedly rigid bathroom-based beliefs. The next time you’re in a bathroom that provides equal access to transgender people, look out! You might just be assaulted by a conservative! (or, for that matter, a Republican congressman)
James DeVinne is a student at American University in Washington, DC majoring in International Service with a focus on the Middle East and South Asia. He is a founding member of Occupy Baltimore and interns at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy.