Anita Staver, president of the anti-LGBT legal nonprofit Liberty Counsel, couldn't name a single instance in which allowing trans people to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity has led to an increase in violence.
Staver sat down Alan Colmes on Fox News Tuesday, in which she condemned Target’s recently announced trans bathroom policy. In the interview for his Alan Colmes Vs. program, she claimed its decision “put a bull's-eye on women.”
Colmes asked her just how often providing transgender people with equal access in public restrooms has led to a surge in violent attacks. Staver couldn’t say. “I’m not a statistician,” she told Colmes. “It seems like it's a solution in search of a problem,” Colmes later responded.
Numerous reports have concurred with Colmes: Target's policy poses no risk to customers.
On April 19, the big-box chain announced that it would be providing inclusive bathroom access for trans customers and staff at all of its stores.
“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 company stated in a press release. “We believe that everyone — every team member, every guest, and every community — deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally.”
In the more than 200 localities that have passed nondiscrimination laws across the United States — which allow trans people equal access in all public accommodations, including bathrooms — there hasn’t been a single reported incident of a trans person harming someone else. In addition, there have been no cases of a cisgender person pretending to be transgender to gain access to the opposite sex facilities.
Nonetheless, Staver advised women to take firearms with them to Target — just in case. “In order to save one person, it's worth getting armed and getting prepared,” Staver said. She later added that women concerned about the store's policy should “get armed, get trained, and only shop at the places where you can legally carry.”
Colmes questioned whether this policy would really be more threatening to customers’ safety than concealed carry in public restrooms. “Anybody in that room is going to be more in danger from a gun going off accidentally than an alleged predator, no?” he asked.
In response, Staver quickly contradicted herself. “Nobody is going into Target with a gun,” she said. “That's precisely why women need to avoid Target because they're going to be more in danger.” The Liberty Counsel president further called arming women in self-defense “common sense,” a phrase that’s often been used by conservatives about the need for anti-trans bathroom legislation.
This isn't the first time that Staver's opposition to the Target policy has made waves. In a message posted to Twitter April 22, Staver stated her intention to take Target’s policy into her own hands. “I'm taking a Glock .45 to the ladies room,” she wrote. “It identifies as my bodyguard.”
In the interview with Colmes, Staver promised that Liberty Counsel, which has helped draft much of the legislation behind the anti-trans bathroom push around the country, would publish a list on its website of all the instances where inclusive restroom policies have led to assaults. “We'll track them, and I guarantee [the rate] is going to increase,” she said.
“If that is true, I would love to see the stats on that,” Colmes responded.