Target is removing some of it’s Pride lineup after anti-LGBT backlash.
Target had begun selling some of their Pride merchandise in anticipation for Pride Month this June, but they’ve decided to remove several items. In a statement released, they said that they were committed to celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community, but due to some items they were receiving threats “impacting our team members’ sense of safety and well-being” while working.
“Given these volatile circumstances, we are making adjustments to our plans, including removing items that have been at the center of the most significant confrontational behavior,” Target said.
What are the items that have received such backlash?
Clothes from a small LGBT+ brand, Abprallen, that also happens to sell pastel-colored gothic imagery such as skulls and Satan in their own shop. The designer has stated the imagery is not inspired by belief in Satan, as some false claims have said, but instead uses him as a “symbol of passion, pride, and liberty.” Still, now when you search their brand on the Target online store, zero results come up.
Another item reportedly being in talks of removal after outrage is a trans-inclusive swim suit, described as “tuck-friendly” for trans women. There also has been false claims about these – saying that these swimsuits are being marketed for kids; but Target only sells adult sizes.
Despite these claims being proven false, there still has been a lot of outrage at Target for selling these products. There have been videos on social media of people knocking down Pride signs in stores and publicly denouncing the company — similar reactions to Bud Light sponsoring Dylan Mulvaney, a notable trans activist, in recent months.
Kelley Robinson, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a tweet, “Extremist groups want to divide us and ultimately don’t just want rainbow products to disappear, they want us to disappear. The LGBTQ+ community has celebrated Pride with Target for the past decade. Target needs to stand with us and double-down on their commitment to us.”
Another activist, Michael Edison Hayden, a senior investigative reporter and spokesperson for the Southern Poverty Law Center, said that Target removing items will only encourage more hate.
“If [Target is] going to wade in on this, and they’re going to put support out there for the LGBTQ+ population, I think once they enter that fray they have a responsibility to stand by that community,” Hayden said. “As soon as you back down like this, you send a message that intimidation works, and that makes it much scarier than if you had never started to begin with.”
It’s especially important to note that most of the items that have been removed are made by small businesses and designers, those who are LGBT+ themselves. In response to one small brand, Ash & Chess, being removed, many were quick to point this out, and note the harm that Target is causing these small brands that can’t support themselves as much as a billion-dollar corporation can.
One tweet said that Target needs to at least “still pay these artists exactly what was promised/agreed contractually. Their decision to withdrawal deals they’d already made is incredibly unprofessional and over a ridiculous reason too. Their support now feels solely for profit.”
A recent TikTok shared a customer’s experience trying to buy a product in-store, to which when brought to the register, they were told Target couldn’t sell the item anymore.
“How much longer are you going to allow homophobes and bigots to tell you what you can and cannot sell in your store?” the TikToker said, addressing Target in their video. “And why aren’t you holding the people accountable who are making these death threats instead of taking it out on our community?”
Target clearly needs to do better, and put more consideration into the communities and businesses they are hurting.
By Caileigh Winslade, Senior, ChiArts
Instagram @fairytwist / Twitter @silverrebi
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