Target made an announcement just prior to the start of Pride month in June, stating it would reduce some LGBTQ+-related merchandise following recent threats.
https://t.co/rMFuh1moRw – Dallas Metro News#DalalsMetroNews#Target pulls some of the #Pride merchandise due to pressure from the public, Pride Frisco, local #LGBTQ group reacts!#DallasNews #Dallas #Frisco #Texas #TexasNewshttps://t.co/CCqh8eqEtL
— DallasMetro.news (@DallasMetroNews) May 27, 2023
“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.”
AP News reported that Target disclosed instances of certain customers vandalizing Pride displays in multiple stores, directing their ire towards the staff and posting threatening videos from within the stores on social media platforms.
“The same people who say they want to protect children are now terrorizing innocent store employees,” Justin Culpepper from Pride Frisco said. “While Target may have the luxury of relocating items to the back of the store to protect employee’s safety, I ask others to consider LGBTQIA+ people whose safety is threatened daily just for existing.”
Target, however, opted not to specify the exact merchandise being removed from their shelves. One such item that attracted substantial public notice was the “tuck-friendly” women’s swimsuits, specially designed to accommodate the needs of transgender women who have not had gender-affirming surgeries.
Target also informed AP News that it had relocated its Pride goods from the front to the rear of some stores in the South, in response to objections and adverse reactions from customers in those regions.
Local Profile was told by Pride Frisco that Target had been seen as a key supporter of the LGBTQ+ community. Nevertheless, these recent measures have raised doubts about its commitment.
“Our community needs allies that stand up on a continuous basis, not just those looking for a quick June marketing campaign who flee at the first sign of controversy,” Culpepper said. “Target has spent over 10 years cultivating a positive brand image among the LGBTQIA+ community; this decision has certainly tarnished that image.”
There’s uncertainty about when or if these rollbacks will be implemented in Collin County, but customers should anticipate either a reduction in product availability or a relocation of Pride merchandise.
“However well-intentioned, these actions by Target contribute to the stigmatization and erasure of LGBTQIA+ people,” Culpepper said. “This sends the message that LGBTQIA+ people and anything representing them are to be hidden or minimized. Target is attempting to have it both ways, but unfortunately, you can’t please everyone. If a person, organization, or company truly supports you, they wouldn’t try to minimize your existence.”