Anti-LGBT activists appear to be filming themselves terrorizing Target stores while yelling at the store and its customers to “repent” -- in one case leading to 911 calls about an active shooter.
In at least three instances this week, protesters -- who identify themselves as Christians -- are seen screaming throughout the aisles of the store about the retailer’s policy on transgender-friendly restrooms.
In the video above, purportedly shot in Portland, Oregon, a man is seen abruptly clapping his hands in the back of a store before bellowing: "Target, this is your wake-up call!"
He goes on to decry "transvestites" as defying God’s will.
“You're not a true Christian, you're an asshole,” says one of many shoppers heard expressing disgust in his behavior. A security guard escorts the man out and is heard warning him that if he comes back he will be arrested for trespassing.
In one particularly scary incident in Bradley, Illinois, on Monday, police say they were called about an active shooter situation after a 39-year-old man created a disturbance inside a Target store.
Responding officers found no firearm, but did arrest Michael Merichko for disorderly conduct, they said.
Several other videos, one listed as filmed in Hendersonville, Tennessee, seen above, shows similar men creating a disturbance inside stores.
Many of the men in the videos are seen wearing neon yellow T-shirts. One reads: “Repent or Perish.”
Not all Christians are preaching the same hate, however. And the concern for the safety of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals who wish to use whatever restroom they choose is a valid concern.
In a recent HuffPost blog post, Rev. Emily C. Heath of the United Church of Christ opened up about the danger transgender individuals are placed in by some of these LGBT opponents. Heath, who is married to a woman, identifies as a gender non-conforming person who has faced scrutiny while trying to use a women’s restroom.
“I am lucky in that the worst that has ever happened to me in a women’s room is that I’ve been embarrassed. Friends of mine have not been so lucky,” Heath wrote while acknowledging a constant, personal fear of what could happen.
“The other night I read about a woman who has decided to bring her gun into restrooms from now on in order to ‘protect’ herself from ‘perverts’ who come in. To be clear, that meant anyone that she thought didn’t belong in a women’s room. Shoot first. Ask questions later,” Heath wrote.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified the state where the Portland incident occurred. This has been corrected.