Source: Associated Press
Target is facing intense backlash from some customers over its LGBTQ+ merchandise for Pride month, prompting the retail giant to make changes in response. The company has removed certain items from its stores and relocated its Pride displays from the front to the back in some Southern stores due to confrontations and backlash.
According to Target, customers damaged Pride displays, angrily confronted workers, and shared videos on social media threatening the company while inside the stores.
"Since introducing this year’s collection, we’ve experienced threats impacting our team members’ sense of safety and well-being while at work," Target said in a statement. "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 chose not to disclose the specific items it was removing; however, notable attention was drawn to "tuck friendly" swimsuits that are designed to be inclusive for transgender women who have not undergone gender-affirming surgeries. These bathing suits were falsely reported by conservative media to be designed for kids which initially sparked much of the controversy. Additionally, designs by Abprallen, a London-based company specializing in LGBTQ+ clothing and accessories with occult and satanic themes, have also been at the forefront of this criticism. In the past the company had made separate merch with slogans like "Satan Respects Pronouns", but the merch for Target had no mention of these themes. The messenger bag, tote bag, and sweatshirt Abprallen made for Target had the slogans "We Belong Everywhere," "Too Queer for Here," and "Cure Transphobia, Not Trans People" but these items have now been pulled from the website.
Source: Business Insider
Target confirmed it will be making changes to the location of displays specifically in southern stores, pushing them to the back of the store. Target Pride merch has been around for nearly a decade and has never faced backlash like this, making this outcry part of attack on the LGBTQ+ community this year.
In the past year state legislatures introduced nearly 500 bills targeting LGBTQ+ individuals, an absolutely unprecedented number.
States are attacking transgender youths and are seeking to prevent discussions in school regarding sexuality and gender identity. Unfortunately, these bills do not reflect demands from most constituents, but rather they come from a very vocal handful of conservative interest groups, according to the Associated Press.
Retailers like Target, Walmart and H&M have been expanding their LGBTQ+ displays to celebrate Pride month for roughly a decade, and it just now where we are seeing a new set of attacks on the community. Just recently Bud Light has come under similar attack for supporting transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney. Transgender issues, including gender-affirming health care and participation in sports, have been a divisive topic in state legislatures and the backlash has turned hostile. More than ever, we need people sticking together to support the LGTBQ+ community and fighting against the oppressive system.