Sunday, January 8, 2017

An Open Letter to Target

Originally published on Facebook on April 22, 2016 in response to their statement that they continue to stand for inclusivity and support the rights of all people to use the facilities that align with their gender identity.

Dear Target,

I want to say thank you for standing for inclusivity. As the parent of a transgender child, it means a lot. Like so many other people, we love Target! We go in planning on buying one household necessity and come out with a handful of goodies. It never gets old.

One particular trip to Target is one that I will never forget. My daughter is transgender, and she transitioned to live as herself one year ago. Before that, she was a gender non-conforming boy. I'll call her B. B always loved all things pink and sparkly. That was fine by us, we told her she should be any kind of boy she wanted to be. She had pink dress up costumes, shoes, and accessories. But in May 2014, she was begging to go shopping. She wanted pink shirts, but was terrified she wouldn't be able to find them as they are hard to come by in the boys section. I reminded her, "colors are colors and clothes are clothes. You can buy from whatever section you want." You know where we went? Target, of course.

I had a three week old baby. It was Saturday. Your store was packed. I was juggling a fussy baby and an excited, anxious 7 year old. She was really nervous. She's a bit of a rule follower, and she was scared to cross that line between boys and girls. With a crying needy baby and a big kid who needed my attention and support I felt totally overwhelmed. We walked through the boys section a bit, and it looked like B was trying to find something she liked, but it wasn't working. I whispered in her ear, "you can go to the girls section. it's okay."

In desperate need of feeding my newborn, I sat on the floor in the middle of the girls clothing section and nursed him while I encouraged B to go find things she liked and bring them to me. Off she skipped (within my eyesight of course), filled with glee, returning with all sorts of goodies covered in pink, sequins, and glitter. She was so happy. She was so relieved. It's like a weight had been lifted from her shoulders.

And I sat there on the floor, people staring at me nursing my newborn amid the racks of girls clothes while my 7 year old boy bounced about excitedly bringing me things she wanted to try on. It was not a parenting moment I ever expected, but it was one I will never forget. She proudly wore those first few pieces of clothing that made her feel like herself day in and day out for months.

B goes by Rebekah now. she's 9, and she still loves Target. She was nothing short of thrilled to hear that her favorite store made a statement supporting and protecting people like her. She was once again so happy and so relieved. Thank you Target for being a place my child can be herself, and we look forward to many more shopping adventures in your stores.

A Grateful Mom

(Photo credit Maegan Dougherty Photography, outfit courtesy of Target)

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