In an interview with Breitbart News, right wing Christian crusader Sandy Rios revealed that male members of her American Family Association are “testing” Target’s transgender-friendly policies by trying to enter the store’s female bathrooms, claiming that “there is no barrier.”
Rios, of course, is jumping on the recent anti-transgender bathroom hysteria, joining her fellow religious conservatives and anti-gay politicians in manipulating a non-threat into a propaganda campaign.
Right Wing Watch provided a transcript of Rios’ interview, in which she states that she’s sending her fellow fundamentalist zealots to monitor women’s bathrooms.
“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,” Rios said.
Sure enough, protesters evangelizing the word of God are showing up at Targets across the country and getting in employees’ faces, like in the video below captured by onlooker Holly Taylor. It shows two men walk through a Hendersonville, Tennessee Target store, one praising the Lord loudly and casting condemnations.
Fast forward to Chicago this Monday when 39-year-old Michael Merichko was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct at a Target in Bradley, Illinois.
From the Chicago Tribune:
When officers investigated, Johnston said they found out that Merichko “caused a disturbance inside” the store in protest of Target’s policy, announced in April, that it welcomes employees and customers to “use the restroom or fitting room facility that corresponds with their gender identity,” according to the announcement.
“Merichko’s actions provoked a breach of the peace causing panic among store employees and customers,” according to the release.
No doubt he was just making sure all those little girls can use the Target restroom in peace.
These latest attempts at anti-trans vigilantism come on the heels of Liberty Counsel president Anita Staver announcing she would be taking her Glock .45 into Target’s bathrooms.
“[The gun] identifies as my bodyguard,” she quipped with a subtle reference to gender identity.
— Anita Staver (@AnitaStaver) April 22, 2016
@bettawerq90 not afraid of them. I want protection from the perverts who will use the law to gain access to women.
— Anita Staver (@AnitaStaver) April 23, 2016
In the past, Staver’s Liberty Counsel has drafted legislation to “protect those who cite religious beliefs for refusing to serve or employ gay or transgender people” in at least 20 states.
These latest developments create an irony that’s becoming all too common in the fight for equal rights — the people hysterically policing a threat that doesn’t exist have created an unsafe environment for everybody.
Featured image: Michael Merichko (Bradley Police Department)