Target Faces Backlash for Pride Month Merchandise, Removes Some Items from Stores
Target has faced backlash for its collection of Pride Month merchandise, leading to the removal of some items from stores and changes to its LGBTQ+ merchandise nationwide. The decision came after employees were reportedly threatened by customers amidst anti-LGBTQ+ backlash. The retailer stated that it would be pulling the items “at the center of the most significant confrontational behavior” from customers. Although Target did not specify which merchandise it is removing, controversy has largely centered on its “tuck-friendly” swimsuits for trans women who have not had gender-affirming surgery. Social media users, including some prominent politicians, incorrectly claimed the swimsuits were made for children.
Target has offered an assortment of products aimed at celebrating Pride Month for over a decade. The company declared in 2016 that their bathrooms and fitting rooms were accessible to both employees and guests based on their self-identified or preferred gender. In 2017, Target debuted a product line of gender-neutral children’s clothing. The decisions triggered a public outcry that eventually subsided.
The decision to remove merchandise has led to calls for Target to take serious actions to prove to the queer community that they are serious about their values. This could come in the form of donations to major LGBTQ+ organizations or by speaking out against legislation like gender-affirming-care bans or bathroom bills. Target’s website carries hundreds of Pride products, including T-shirts, books, and furnishings. The month of June marks the start of Pride Month.
Although the removal of merchandise may seem insignificant, it highlights the issue of anti-LGBTQ+ violence and hate not only in America but globally. Corporate leaders must step up as heroes for their LGBTQ+ employees and consumers and not cave to fringe activists calling for censorship. The fact that a small group of extremists is threatening disgusting and harsh violence in response to Target continuing its long-standing tradition of offering products for everyone should be a wake-up call for consumers and is a reminder that LGBTQ+ people, venues, and events are being attacked with threats and violence like never before.
Target’s decision to remove merchandise is a reminder that there is still work to be done in the fight for equality and acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community. Companies like Target must continue to stand up for the principles that supported the decisions to carry LGBTQ+ products in the first place and not ban or diminish the products at the center of disputes. It is essential to live the truth and words of commitment to equality in every aspect of the company and show the world that Target is the most inclusive company to work for, invest in, shop at, and do business with.
In conclusion, Target’s decision to remove merchandise highlights the issue of anti-LGBTQ+ violence and hate. It is essential for corporate leaders to step up as heroes for their LGBTQ+ employees and consumers and not cave to fringe activists calling for censorship. Companies like Target must continue to stand up for the principles of equality and acceptance, and not ban or diminish the products at the center of disputes.
0. “‘Bud Lighting' hits Target for trans, LGBTQ support during Pride Month” USA TODAY, 24 May. 2023, https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2023/05/24/budlighted-campaign-hits-target-over-trans-lgbtq-support/70254454007/
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