Glenn Beck is the latest conservative to come out against Target's decision to allow trans people to use the restroom that corresponds with their gender identity, instead of the sex they were assigned at birth.
On April 19, the company published a statement on its website pledging that it would be “Continuing to Stand for Inclusivity.” The press release read, “We believe that everyone — every team member, every guest, and every community — deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally.”
Since that decision went public, more than 500,000 people have signed an American Family Association petition pledging to boycott the big-box chain.
On Monday’s episode of The Glenn Beck Program, a radio show that currently airs on The Blaze, Beck sided with the petitioners. He argued that the conservative backlash is not motivated by prejudice. “Look, it has nothing to do with hate,” he said. “It has everything to do with common sense. But we have detached from common sense.”
Beck further claimed that the problem with policies like Target’s has nothing to do with the trans community, which he reminded listeners accounts for 0.3 percent of the population. “It's not about homosexuals,” he said. “It's not about transgender [people]. It's about perverts. Perverts are all genders and all sexualities.”
On that point, the host contradicts himself. Earlier in the broadcast, Beck placed the blame on gender-nonconforming people, who he believes pose the real risk in public bathrooms. “I can guarantee you,” Beck continued. “It won’t be transgendered guys that decide to take it up. It will be gender-fluid guys who are currently thinking that they’re a woman because a little girl is in there or a hot woman is in there. That’s the way it will be.”
Beck’s comments here touch upon the “bathroom predator” myth — that trans or gender-nonconforming people will lie about their gender identity in order to assault other restroom users.
But in reality, while more than 200 localities across the country allow trans people to use the bathroom that most closely aligns with their gender identity, there has never been a single verified instance of someone "pretending" to be transgender to gain access to sex-segregated spaces for nefarious purposes. Law enforcement officers nationwide have also soundly rejected the claim that trans-inclusive accommodations create a "loophole" that will be exploited by predators.
Beck’s cohost, Steve Burguiere, further argued that trans-affirming bathroom policies fly in the face of statistics that “show that rape in college is more common than the Rwandan genocide.” “We're being preached to constantly about how men are dirtbags and one out of every one men rapes women in college,” he said. “We're saying that there's a rape culture, that men are men are constantly victimizing women, [and] that men are constantly sexualizing women.”
Bur research indicates that the problem of sexual assault on college campuses has little to do with who uses the restroom. According to statistics from the National Institute for Justice, most rape victims — 85 to 90 percent — knew their attacker prior to the assault, meaning they aren’t being victimized by strangers in bathrooms.
The hosts’ comments echo those of Sen. Ted Cruz, who has come out in recent days against nondiscrimination laws that would allow trans people equal access in all public accommodations, including public restrooms. During a rally in Plainsville, Ind., over the weekend, the Republican presidential hopeful advised trans people to use the “bathroom at home,” ThinkProgress reports.