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200 Groups Call on Target to Restock Pride Merch, Support LGBTQ+ Community

200 Groups Call on Target to Restock Pride Merch, Support LGBTQ+ Community

Target Pride merchandise

The campaign started by LGBTQ+ groups has now attracted more than 200 backers.

LGBTQ+ and allied organizations have renewed their call for Target and other businesses to stand up to anti-LGBTQ+ forces for Pride Month, and now more than 200 groups have signed on to the campaign.

Target had ceased selling some of its Pride merchandise after employees received threats and displays were damaged. The right-wing outrage that spurred the actions focused on a few specific goods. For instance, critics falsely claimed a “tuck-friendly” swimsuit, designed to conceal male genitals, was being marketed to children, when in fact it’s for adults.

The Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD, GLSEN, Family Equality, the National LGBTQ Task Force, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the National Black Justice Coalition issued a statement in late May urging Target and business in general to take a stance against homophobia and transphobia. They also noted the backlash against Anheuser-Busch for its partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney to promote its Bud Light beer.

Now the statement has attracted more than 200 endorsers, including the National Education Association, National Association of Social Workers, National Women’s Law Center, National Center for Transgender Equality, Equality Federation, Matthew Shepard Foundation, and NMAC.

In the document, reissued Monday, the coalition calls on Target to “release a public statement in the next 24 hours reaffirming their commitment to the LGBTQ+ community,” “put Pride merchandise back on the sales floor and online in full,” and “ensure safety of team members who are on the front lines.” Target has not responded publicly, and The Advocate has sought comment from the company.

“Extremist attacks and harassment of businesses for standing in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community and values of diversity, equity and inclusion have challenged Target, and businesses more broadly, to lead — to demonstrate they mean what they say when investing in and standing with LGBTQ+ people, creatives, and organizations,” the coalition’s statement reads in part. “Businesses must continue to lead and respond with unwavering support for LGBTQ+ employees, shareholders, customers, allies — and the broader community. When values of diversity, equity and inclusion are tested, businesses must defend them unequivocally.”

In an accompanying press release, the coalition notes that it “stands in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ employees at companies like Target, as well as the designers of Pride merchandise, who have experienced horrendous, unhinged attacks while simply showing up to work. Harassment and threats of violence, anywhere and at any time, against good people just doing their jobs to make a living is completely unacceptable and irrational. … The coalition has communicated expectations that Target provide necessary security measures for employees’ safety while also showing support for the LGBTQ+ community by denouncing extremists.”

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