Thursday, August 17, 2017

Stanton reprises his HRC-Target-Walmart Act for Witherspoon Institute

Glenn T. Stanton
Thursday, Glenn T. Stanton, a spokesperson for Focus on the Family, offers “The Human Rights Campaign Rewards Walmart for Having the Same Bathroom Policy as North Carolina” at Witherspoon Institute's blog. It seems fitting that the intellectually pretentious poseur is providing a piece for a pretentious pseudo-intellectual blog edited by Ryan T. Anderson.

Last May Stanton took to The Federalist to expose the supposed hypocrisy of the Human Rights Campaign. This was based upon the observation that Target and Walmart both received scores of 100 on the Corporate Equality Index when only Target, he claims is trans friendly. I wrote about it here.

Stanton's claims and his polemic have not improved with an edit or three months of aging. It was, and still is, a pointless piece. It is also inaccurate.

Walmart policy does not mirror North Carolina HB2. That is a gross inaccuracy that I will return to later. Stanton begins with this subtitle:
If major leaders in the gay movement cannot keep up with its constant invention of new “rights,” then they certainly can’t shame others for failing to do so.
With the addition of some snark I could pass that off as satire but that is not Stanton's intent. We are not inventing rights, new or otherwise and Stanton is not in a position to author the rules of participation. I am corporate-conditioned to view the Corporate Equality Index as a potential reward — recognition for providing equality in the workplace. Stanton is Christian-conditioned. In his orbit, shaming is the all-purpose conformity tool. It stands to reason that he would view the CEI as a negative, rather than positive, form of motivation.

What seems to drive Stanton nuts (perhaps nuttier) is the fact that corporations incur personnel expenses and aggressively compete to achieve better CEI scores. Stanton is a zero-sum advocate. He views improved equality as a gain for LGBT people which is a loss for Christianity. The diatribe continues:
The folks at the Human Rights Campaign—the largest, best-funded, and most powerful gay lobby in the world—publish an annual index that rates major corporations on their so-called “gay friendliness.” They have been doing so for the last fifteen years. This year’s report was of special interest because of the bold move that Target took last year. In the world of LGBT politics, their new and radical bathroom policy was a giant step forward. So, is Target feted on the cover? Did they get a lifetime achievement award?
Stanton can call it anything he likes but the fact remains that the CEI reflects workplace equality for LGBT employees. As for Target, Stanton is factually inaccurate. Target's policy of accommodating transgender customers has been in effect for many years. What Target did was to publicize its policy. The Christian right feigned a shit fit to attract donations.
To be sure, HRC gave Target its highest gold-star rating. Beyond that, though, the company received no special mention by HRC whatsoever. It was merely listed alongside every other corporation listed as 100-percent gay friendly, including Walmart.
The ratings are based upon the very subjective criteria. This is a very tawdry attempt at snark. Stanton lacks the necessary wit to pull that off.

Getting back to the title:
Degendering bathrooms was inarguably the biggest LGBT beachhead last year, taking up every last bit of oxygen in the room. Walmart held fast to a traditional and “discriminatory” bathroom policy, the very same as that which prompted HRC to condemn the state of North Carolina in the strongest terms. North Carolina passed HB2, a bill that simply codified a longstanding state policy that no one in state-owned buildings may use the restroom or locker room of the opposite biological sex. …
“Degendering?” Is that even a word? The Christian right keeps pushing this dishonest theme, usually as “genderless bathrooms.” Transgender accommodations are the exact opposite. They allow trans people to affirm their gender identity. It's not really very complicated. As for Walmart, I was informed by a reporter for the Wall Street Journal that they have the same policy as Target.

But let us assume, for the moment, that the WSJ reporter is wrong. I do not think that is the case but bear with me. Would that mean that their policy was comparable to North Carolina's HB2? Certainly not. Retail customers have a choice of which stores to patronize. They can even do what I do and avoid them entirely; opting instead for online purchasing. In contrast HB2 targeted a small number of transgender public school students who are involuntary captives of a bigoted and ignorant policy. Stanton's efforts provide a complete logic fail!

Stanton goes on at considerable length. I find the continuing verbosity irrelevant because it is all dependent upon a false premise. I am going to quote just one more part of this stupidity and then go on to other things. It is the following rhetorical question:
It’s certainly a head scratcher, and it raises some obvious questions:
  • How can Walmart’s “discriminatory” and “bigoted” policy earn it the same gold-star rating as Target’s groundbreaking “inclusive” one?
  • How can a transgender person be told Walmart and Target are equally great places to work when one makes it a matter of policy to ignore the trans person and his or her self-proclaimed “basic life needs”?
Stanton knows (and he goes on to admit) that transgender accommodations for customers is not part of the CEI. Furthermore Stanton is incorrect regarding Walmart's policy in that regard. I think that we can be reasonably certain that Stanton doesn't give a crap about the plight of trans employees.

Suffice it to say, for a company to achieve a perfect CEI score gender identity protections are weighted the same as sexual orientation protections (15 points each). Moreover, transgender employees must receive comprehensive transgender-inclusive insurance coverage that covers gender-affirming surgery (10 points). The bottom line is that Walmart and Target are equally appreciative of trans employees who are judged on the basis of their performance. That is at the core of what LGBT employees want, to be judged on the same basis as everyone else in the company.

And on that note, Stanton's offensive polemic goes:

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