Back in July, we reported on the inevitable consequences of Target’s entrance into the national transgender bathroom “debate.” For anyone who doesn’t remember, Target made a public announcement following North Carolina’s bathroom bill (that requires people to use the bathroom that corresponds with the gender on their birth certificate) saying their customers could use whatever bathroom (or changing room) they want. It was pure virtue signaling, as those blasting North Carolina’s law as “trans-phobic” don’t understand how it worked. Someone who transitions from one gender to another can get their gender changed legally, so they wouldn’t be affected by the law.
Still, the law was extremely unpopular nationwide. Many businesses in North Carolina publicly stated that they wouldn’t be complying with the law, a handful of musicians signaled their progressiveness to the rest of us by skipping the state in their tours and even the NBA and NCAA decided they would move their championship games.
But what happened when Target jumped on the bandwagon? Over 1.4 million people signed a petition pledging to boycott the store. Memo to all businesses: taking a political stance is rarely a good idea.
It was just a matter of time until Target’s critics were given at least one anecdote to validate their fears that the policy could lead to abuse (such as a pervert entering the women’s room and claiming to be a woman as a defense). Just days after their entrance into bathroom debate, a man recorded himself receiving permission from Target staff to use the women’s bathrooms after he explained that’s where he “feels comfortable.” Months afterward, a 46-year-old named Sean Patrick Smith (but identifies as Shauna Patricia Smith) was spotted reaching over the changing room wall with a cell phone, taking pictures of women trying on clothes.
As it turns out, the legal system isn’t all too kind to those abusing Target’s bathroom policy. As the East Idaho News reported; A transgender woman pleaded guilty to one felony count of video voyeurism Monday and admitted to filming a teenage girl undressing in a Target fitting room.Shauna Patricia Smith, was originally scheduled for a jury trial later this month. But Smith appeared before District Judge Joel Tingey in a Bonneville County courtroom Monday and unexpectedly entered the guilty plea. Smith did not enter into a plea agreement so both county prosecutors and Smith’s attorney are free to argue a potential sentence. It’s a relief that the legal system addressed this case in this manner, as it should deter anyone in the future from attempting the same.
That being said, having laws against burglary, assault and murder hasn’t stopped those crimes either.
[Note: This post was written by The Analytical Economist]