Target Limits Pride Merchandise In Industry-Wide Trend

Target Limits Pride Merchandise In Industry-Wide Trend

Following an extreme alt-right backlash in 2023, Target has announced it is limiting Pride month merchandise, which will now only appear in select stores.

In a recent press release, the mass retailer announced it would be limiting the number of stores where customers can purchase Pride merchandise this year. In addition, stores who are including LGBTQ+ merchandise will not have Pride apparel for children this year. 

Despite citing “historical sales performance” as their primary reason for discontinuing the sale of Pride merch, it seems uncanny that these actions follow a boycott of Pride products in 2023, when alt right groups threatened to incite violence should their local Targets continue to sell pro-LGBTQ+ products. 

Online, a boycott was roused by shoppers who disapproved of the company’s decision to sell “tuck-friendly” swimsuits for trans people. These swimsuits were only available in adult sizes, though on social media rumors were flying that children sizes were also for sale.

In response, Target folded, pulling LGBTQ+ merchandise from shelves in stores that received threats. Many condemned Target’s quickness to abandon the queer community, with some media outlets dubbing the company (along with other corporations) “fair-weather allies.” 

Also last year other big corporations like Bud Light and Starbucks had seen a backlash from conservatives over LGBTQ+ brand partnerships and programs. 

This year, LGBTQ+ consumers and allies are noticing a trend across corporate America in limiting Pride month campaigns, merchandise, and partnerships. Many brands and companies that formerly provided special Pride month offerings have now withdrawn into the shadows.

“It is extremely disappointing when corporate partners that have said vocally for so many years that they are standing with the community, but seem to only stand with the community in good times not difficult times,” said Paul Irwin-Dudek, Chief Development officer at GLSEN.

Speculation predicts that these companies are following a national trend in state laws working against LGBTQ+ rights, specifically targeting trans people.

Still, some companies are moving forward with their Pride campaigns. Companies like Insomnia Cookies, Urban Outfitters, and Hollister, know their demographic, largely a Gen Z audience, cares whether or not they support LGBTQ+ issues.

According to NBC News, Target has publicly supported the LGBTQ+ movement for years, even after they were called out for donating to a gubernatorial campaign for a candidate who opposed gay marriage. 

Target’s move to exclude Pride merchandise from select stores has pleased many conservative customers. Conservative media personality Tomi Lahren posted to X  saying “Target won’t be pumping every store with pride crap this year and that’s a win.” 

In their statement, Target made attempts to compensate for the decision by citing ways they will support LGBTQ+ causes internally, and claimed they will continue to support LGBTQ+ organizations including the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). 

In response, HRC president Kelley Robinson said in statement “Target’s decision is disappointing and [alienates] LGBTQ+ individuals and allies at the risk of not only their bottom line but also their values.”

Related Post