The Truth about the Transgender Target Incident

kim kardashian

There is currently a whirlwind of misinformation being spread about the story of Shauna Patricia Smith, a transgender woman, being arrested for voyeurism in a Target fitting room.

Usually, anti-transgender hysteria is perpetuated by conservative news outlets, but this time, the lies have been spread even by The New York Times, with only a select few pro-LGBTQ sites reporting the truth.

What is the truth?

Shauna Patricia Smith is a 43-year old transgender woman. She is not a man pretending to be a woman. She is not a he. She uses female pronouns. Her deadname is Sean Patrick Smith. A deadname is the name a transgender person was designated at birth. Her proper name is the one she chose. Unfortunately, her deadname is still her legal name, but that does not mean that her gender identity should be invalidated under any circumstances.

Shauna was arrested for taking pictures of a cisgender woman in a Target fitting room in Ammon, Idaho. Though the media has said that the fitting rooms were women’s, Target staff members and reporters have confirmed that they were unisex.

This is important because there has been controversy around Target’s trans-friendly bathroom and fitting room policies. In April 2016, they issued an official statement welcoming customers to use the facilities that matched their gender identity. Conservatives protested this by terrorizing and harassing Target customers, but Target stood strong in its support of LGBTQ equality. The single incident of voyeurism with Shauna Smith is now being used by conservatives as confirmation that transgender women, who they consider to simply be men pretending to be women, will abuse trans-friendly policies so that they can harass cisgender women.

There is so much nonsense in that argument, it’s hard to know where to start. First, transgender women are women, not men pretending to be women. Transgender identities are valid and must be respected.

Second, if a voyeur or sexual predator really wants to break the law, they will. Trans-friendly policies do not legalize sexual harassment in any respect. Shauna will be punished for her crime just as anyone else would be. Her gender identity makes no difference.

Third, the incident didn’t even occur in a female fitting room, so Target’s trans-friendly policies are totally irrelevant. Target had unisex facilities years before the April 2016 policy announcement, meaning that it would have been just as easy for a cisgender person to commit the same crime.

Fourth, even if this incident had occurred in a female fitting room after Target had made its announcement, it would prove nothing. There have literally been zero other problems with transgender people using the facilities that match their gender identity, and experts nationwide have testified that trans-friendly policies have made things safer for everyone. One transgender voyeur does not make the entire community evil and dangerous. Anyone trying to make that argument is simply a bigot. Transgender people are actually the ones that are harassed and assaulted for trying to use the bathroom, especially after the conservative backlash to trans-friendly public facility policies. The situation has become so bad that the majority of transgender people in 2015 avoided public restrooms altogether, and that was before the nationwide debate over North Carolina’s H.B.2.

What Shauna Patricia Smith did was disgusting. Nobody is asking anyone to like her or respect her voyeurism. In fact, transgender people dislike her more than anyone else possibly could, because we are both disgusted by her crime and aware of the negative impact it will have on us. But regardless, nobody should have their gender identity disrespected.

Here’s the thing: she is not being misgendered because she is a voyeur. It is simply because she is transgender. Because that’s how anti-transgender conservatives cover every story about transgender people. A transgender woman can never simply be a woman. Even transgender people that achieve great things, like actress and activist Laverne Cox, are still misgendered and slandered for being trans.

Bigoted conservatives are simply seizing on this opportunity to attack transgender people, and if other news outlets do not report the truth, then the bigots will succeed. That cannot happen. There is already so much discrimination and prejudice against the transgender community, so it is outright irresponsible and dangerous for news outlets to spread misinformation about this story.

I really did not want to write about this. I was hoping, praying, that this story would not be sensationalized by conservatives. But it was. And even worse, there was practically nobody there to defend the trans community from such extreme hatred. Liberal news media spread the lies too. So I had to speak up.

I just hope that someday, stories like these can pass through the news cycle without being used as a talking point to invalidate the existence of an entire group of people.

About News Team

Hi, I'm Alex Perez, an experienced writer with a focus on lifestyle and culture news. From food and fashion to travel and entertainment, I love exploring the latest trends and sharing my insights with readers. I also have a strong interest in world news and business, and enjoy covering breaking stories and events.

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