Montana Transgender Couple Molests Target Speaks Out
Octavia Jimenez was at Target with her partner April Dean Thursday to pick up some prescriptions when she saw a dress she liked in the Pride section of the Montana store.
Jimenez went to the dressing room to try on a rainbow plaid dress. As she came out, an elderly man in a baseball cap holding the garment looked at her, she said in an interview. He stepped closer to her and said, “Enjoy it while you can.”
At that moment, Jimenez said, she felt her sense of danger intensify. She and Dean spoke to a Target employee and asked for his help.
At this point, Jimenez began recording. In the video shared on social media, the man can be seen removing clothing from the Pride department and throwing items on the floor while a Target employee tells him to “put it away.”
Jimenez said the clerk asked the man to leave the area and escorted him to the manager’s office.
As an openly trans person in Missoula, Jimenez told HuffPost that while she normally feels very safe, the experience was “shocking.” The incident, which went viral, was just the latest in an ugly series of confrontations with aggressive customers who are upset that the store is embracing Pride Month. The company announced This week, the company announced it would be removing items “that were at the heart of the most significant confrontational behavior” from some of its stores.
“It’s kind of sad to see them give in to pressure from these people who obviously have no other way to be satisfied than to see us go,” Jimenez said.
HuffPost reached out to Target about the Jimenez incident, but the company didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Jimenez said she’s surprised to be confronted with this kind of hate, especially in Missoula, which she says is generally trans-friendly. The city is represented by Montana State Assemblyman Zooey Zephyr, the first openly transgender woman elected to the state legislature. Both Jimenez, a trans woman, and Dean, who is non-binary, attended rallies in support of Zephyr last month when she was expelled from Parliament.
The MP expressed her support for the couple on Thursday.
“My sympathy goes out to the trans woman and her non-binary partner who were molested,” Zephyr said tweeted. “While the man may have said, ‘Enjoy it while you can,’ I hope the couple knows that there are people in this state who are working to create a Montana where they can always live their lives in peace.” to be able to enjoy.”
In April, Republicans in Montana voted to remove Zephyr from the House debate after she criticized her peers for supporting a ban on gender-based services for transgender youth.
In a speech, Zephyr warned Republicans they would have “blood on their hands” for such a bill, which was later signed into law by Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte.
“I find [Zephyr’s censure] directly reflects the movement we’ve seen here, in the sense that our elected officials are conducting public hate speech and attempts to remove queer people from public life,” Dean said. “What it boils down to is that things and ideas like this are allowed in the public space and encourage people to do things like they did today.”
Right-wing commentator Matt Walsh on his podcast called for a boycott of Target because it was selling “tuck-friendly” swimwear — aimed at trans women who hadn’t had gender-affirming surgery — that Walsh falsely claimed was aimed at children would be marketed.
The company said in an online statement that the removal of certain products came after it experienced “threats” to the safety and well-being of its employees.
These confrontations are not new. There are dozens of videos of right-wing agitators confronting Target employees and customers about LGBTQ-affirmative products every June during Pride Month, as well as many more videos of employees taking threats from anti-masker customers at the height of the pandemic .
Since the announcement of the removal of Pride products, a number of LGBTQ+ rights organisations, including GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign, called on the company reversing its decision.
After Jimenez and Dean left Target, she broke down and cried in her car. Later that same day, she was preparing for her first day as a grocery store cashier.
“It definitely scared me a bit going to work today,” Jimenez said. “You never expect something like that.”