Pride Month merch at a Target store.
(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Target Caves to Bigots and Refuses To Sell Pride Merch in Half of Their Stores

Instead of standing their ground, Target has decided to keep Pride merchandise out of half of their stores this year, according to Bloomberg News. They listened to the bigots and the right-wingers seemingly angry that gay people exist and reacted in a way that has rightfully upset many around the United States.

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According to a report by AP News, the new policy will be based on “guest insights and consumer research,” and that will decide which stores get the Pride collection this year. “Target is committed to supporting the LGBTQIA+ community during Pride Month and year-round,” Target said in an emailed statement, according to AP News. “Most importantly, we want to create a welcoming and supportive environment for our LGBTQIA+ team members, which reflects our culture of care for the over 400,000 people who work at Target.”

Last year, there was a hateful response to the collection in stores, with customers knocking the stands over and confronting employees about it, and Target’s response for this year is disappointing. After the backlash last year, CEO Brian Cornell took the wrong lesson from it and decided to be more aware of what was being put into stores—meaning that Target would make sure to cater to those hateful people who are angry that Pride month … exists.

“As we navigate an ever-changing operating and social environment, we’re applying what we’ve learned to ensure we’re staying close to our guests and their expectations of Target,” Cornell said at the time, according to AP News, and it has made this year’s announcement that much more disappointing.

There is a new petition to put the merch back in every Target store

A new MoveOn petition was posted that asks Target to have this year’s Pride collection across all its nearly 2,000 stores. The campaign director, Jensine Gomez, released statements (via a press release) about the petition and Target’s decision for this year’s celebration.

“Sadly, Target now has a pattern of caving to homophobic and transphobic bigots. Right-wing extremists have said themselves that their goal is to make Pride toxic for companies,” Gomez said. “That they want to eradicate the LGBTQ+ community from public life. We won’t let them. We are here, and we aren’t going anywhere. It’s time for Target to stop caving to  right-wing radicals and honor its commitments to the LGBTQ+ community.”

The statement went on to talk about the moves Republicans have been making this year against the LGBTQ+ community: “Just this year alone, Republicans have introduced 515 violent, abusive, and hateful anti-LGBTQ+ bills in state legislatures across the U.S., many of which have already passed. Our community is under attack every single day. LGBTQ+ people, especially trans and nonbinary people, have faced rising threats and acts of violence due to the constant dehumanization at the hands of Republican legislators across the country.”

Caving to the bigots just makes you weak

Target deciding to take Pride merch out of select stores shows where their priorities lie, and it’s not with the LGBTQ+ community they’re happy to profit from pretending to care about. The angry voices screaming out about this merch being in Target locations are not harmed by it being there, but telling people in the LGBTQ+ community that they are not allowed to be who they are because someone might be mad about it is harmful.

If anyone in the LGBTQ+ community goes into one of the stores without the Pride merch, they know that they are not safe there, as that’s essentially the deciding factor in where the merchandise will be sold. Is that the message that Target wants to stand behind?


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.