A branded sign outside a Target store

Transphobic Conservatives Pivot to Target’s Pride Collection

Target just rolled out a new Pride collection, making it the latest company to provoke the ire of transphobic right-wingers. Recently, Nike and Bud Light faced backlash and calls for boycotts from conservatives for partnering with transgender influencer and activist Dylan Mulvaney. Both companies merely partook in small-scale brand deals with Mulvaney; Bud Light partnered with Mulvaney for part of its March Madness campaign, while Nike shared her repping a sports bra and leggings from the brand. Sadly, this was enough to spark conservative meltdowns as bigots called for boycotts, filmed themselves shooting cans of Bud Light, and even made bomb threats targeting Bud Light factories.

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Target didn’t even need to partner with a member of the LGBTQ+ community to rile up the right. Just offering some trans-friendly products was enough to spark conservative backlash. Across social media, users are calling for a Target boycott and declaring that they will never shop at Target again. The rollout of the Pride line has inspired transphobic people to spread misinformation about the swimsuit styles Target is offering. Here’s a breakdown of why conservatives are offended by Target’s new swimsuits and Pride line.

The “Target bathing suit controversy,” explained

While it’s clear that the Pride line as a whole is irking conservatives, their outrage is especially focused on certain swimsuit styles in the collection. In the adult swimwear section, Target is now offering several swimsuits labeled as having “tuck-friendly construction” and “extra crotch coverage” or a “light binding effect.” Tuck-friendly swimwear is made to ensure extra coverage and concealment so that trans women who have not had gender-affirming procedures can wear women’s bathing suits more comfortably. This swimsuit is clearly an adult swimsuit that’s offered only in adult sizes. However, conservatives took to social media to claim that Target is offering tuck-friendly swimsuits in children’s sizes.

This rumor has been debunked with Target spokesperson Kayla Castaneda telling AP News, “The ‘tuck-friendly’ swimsuits are for adults only.” She confirmed that the children’s swimsuits are a wholly different style and are labeled with “Thoughtfully Fit on Multiple Body Types and Gender Expressions,” instead of “tuck-friendly” to express this. Even though Target confirmed it is not selling tuck-friendly bathing suits for children, conservatives like Matt Walsh are still running with the rumor, claiming that Target is specifically targeting kids with their trans-friendly styles, which somehow makes the company “worse” than Bud Light. He claims that the swimsuits sold in the adult section still come in children’s sizes. Walsh is actually referring to the swimsuits offered in an adult’s size XS, a very common size for adult clothes.

Other transphobic right-wingers on social media claimed that they found the adult swimsuit in the children’s section. However, almost all of them admitted that it was an adult’s swimsuit. Whether it was an adult swimsuit allegedly found near the children’s section or an XS adult swimsuit for more petite figures is irrelevant, as these don’t change that the swimsuits are not being specifically made for children. Though some social media users tried to generate outrage by honing in on the tuck-friendly swimsuits, it’s clear that they’re against the Pride collection as a whole.

Twitter user Kaylee Campbell Leyton has been pushing the Target boycott and filmed a video of herself perusing the Pride collection. Even before reaching the section she spoke about how the collection had “weird, creepy, and uncomfy stuff” on children’s clothing. She then declared that “Pride and toddlers don’t belong in the same sentence.” Leyton vocalized her bigotry as she took issue with the onesies, one-piece swimsuits, the tags featuring the Pride flag, and everything else in the Pride section. Her video just confirms that conservatives bothered by Target’s new Pride collection are using the tired argument that the LGBTQ+ community is targeting kids to push their hateful agenda. However, there’s really no difference between the Nike, Bud Light, and Target “controversies.” Any company that demonstrates even the most minimal inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community will face vitriolic backlash from conservatives.

(featured image: James Raedle, Getty Images)

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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.