Colman Domingo
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Anti-LGBTQ Group Takes Credit (Wrongly) for Target Stock Decline

Target store

The hugely anti-LGBTQ American Family Association, continuing its war on Target, is now taking credit for a drop in the retailer’s stock price.

“On December 12, with 12 days left before Christmas Eve, Target stock opened at 67.85, which was significantly down from a 52-week high of 90.39,” AFA president Tim Wildmon said in a press release issued Monday. “These numbers show that recent, heightened boycott efforts are making a real difference, so we must continue our pledge not to shop at Target stores, neither in store nor online, especially through the Christmas shopping season, due to the corporation’s extremely faulty policies that are not safe for women and children."

"Shopping there just isn’t worth the risk, and 1.5 million families have agreed," he continued. "We don’t take this effort lightly, and as long as the company continues to demonstrate this lack of safety, dangerous policies and company revenues that support unsafe practices, AFA will continue to urge shoppers to boycott Target.”

The AFA’s primary beef with Target is that the chain allows transgender customers and employees to use the restrooms and changing rooms comporting with their gender identity. It has been urging a boycott of Target ever since the company made that announcement in 2016, striking back at North Carolina’s law restricting trans people to the restrooms for the gender on their birth certificate, although the law applied only to government buildings, not private-sector companies.

The anti-LGBTQ group noted a drop of 23.5 percent in Target’s stock in its fiscal third quarter, which ended October 31. However, investment experts aren’t citing the AFA’s boycott call in their analysis of Target’s problems. Its sales were slightly higher than expected in the quarter, but costs were up too as it renovates stores and opens new ones, CNBC reports, so therefore its profits took a hit. And investors look at profits in deciding whether to buy, sell, or hold on to a company’s stock, and if a lot of investors are unloading a stock, it tends to depress the price.

Also, the stock market overall has had its troubles of late. In October, the Standard & Poor’s 500, a group of 500 stocks designed to reflect the market as a whole and provide a basis of comparison for individual stocks, dropped 6.9 percent in price, its biggest monthly decline since September 2011. The NASDAQ, an index of stocks made up mostly of newer, smaller companies, dropped 9.2 percent in October, its biggest decline in any month November 2008, when the financial crisis was at its height.

Target is recovering to some degree. It “has picked up the pace lately with improved traffic trends and booming growth in its online business,” investment site The Motley Fool reported Sunday, although “it still has work to do to catch up to rivals in the industry.”

The AFA has claimed that Target’s inclusive policy endangers women and children. It has pointed to recent incidents in Woburn, Mass., and Knoxville, Tenn. The Woburn case involved a man trying to get a young girl into a restroom stall in a Target. The Knoxville one involved a “peeping Tom” in women’s dressing rooms.

However, there’s no evidence these men were pretending to be transgender women – and their behavior remains a crime, regardless of whether a store has a transgender-inclusive policy for restrooms and changing rooms. Law enforcement agencies and sexual violence prevention experts have consistently reported no correlation between these inclusive policies and criminal conduct.

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