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TUPELO, Miss. (ChurchMilitant.com) - A petition calling for a nationwide boycott of Target has broken 1 million signatures.
Organized by pro-family non-profit the American Family Association (AFA), the petition comes in response to an announcement last week from the retail giant in which the company stated it would allow "transgender team members and guests to use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity."
"Inclusivity is a core belief at Target," the post reads. "It's something we celebrate. We stand for equality and equity, and strive to make our guests and team members feel accepted, respected and welcomed in our stores and workplaces every day."
The short announcement concludes by asserting "[e]veryone deserves to feel like they belong."
The statement has been met with much backlash from various organizations, including the AFA, which maintains that policies like the one implemented by Target are "exactly how sexual predators get access to their victims."
"Clearly, Target's dangerous new policy poses a danger to wives and daughters," the AFA notes. "We think many customers will agree. And we think the average Target customer is willing to pledge to boycott Target stores until it makes protecting women and children a priority."
The petition was launched shortly after news had broken of Target's announcement and has since garnered a little over 1 million signatories who pledge to "shop elsewhere" until "Target makes the safety of women and children a priority."
The organization cites examples from across the country of what they claim Target's policy can lead to, including multiple cross-dressing men arrested in various states for filming inside of women's restrooms and locker rooms.
Despite the recent surge in pro-transgender initiatives sweeping the country's schools and stores, several studies indicate the percentage of Americans who identify as transgender to be well below 1 percent, with a 2011 paper by the Williams Institute estimating the number at around 700,000 adult Americans — or 0.3 percent — of the population. According to the 2010 census, around 22,000 had legally changed their sex, and only a little over 135,000 have legally changed their name to one of the opposite gender since the formation of the Social Security Administration in 1936.
The Census Bureau does not currently track gender identity and, despite pushes for the collection of data on transgender individuals to improve statistics, the agency asserts it has no plans to include such information in the 2020 census.