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Expect less ‘pride’ this year as Target downplays month

Target announced that after the backlash it faced last June, only select stores will carry its LGBTQ pride collection this year.

The retailer announced on its website that it will be “offering a collection of products including adult apparel, home, food and beverage items, curated based on consumer feedback. The collection will be available on Target.com and in select stores, based on historical sales performance.”

Last year’s well-publicized celebration by the retailer, turned off millions of shoppers upset over clothing targeting babies. It resulted in a boycott that the company’s president said hurt the bottom line though he defended the merchandise.

“Beyond our own teams, we will have a presence at local pride events in Minneapolis and around the country, and we continue to support a number of LGBTQIA+ organizations,” a company spokesperson said. “Additionally, we will offer a collection of products for pride, including adult apparel, home products, food and beverage, which has been curated based on guest insights and consumer research. These items, starting at $3, will be available in select stores and on Target.com.”

Critics have pointed out that many of the parades Target participates in, are sexually explicit and expose children to nude adults and participants acting out sex acts.

Some retailers that typically promote pride month did not respond to an AdAge.com inquiry about plans for this year. They included Kohls, The North Face and Amerian Eagle. Walmart has a selection of “Pride Always” merchandise for sale online and in stores. One t-shirt for sale at Walmart states “GENDERS ARE OUTDATED.”

Last June, Target faced criticism and a boycott for promoting LGBTQIA+ merchandise at all its stores.

“Since introducing this year’s collection, we’ve experienced threats impacting our team members’ sense of safety and well-being while at work,” it alleged. “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.”

Despite the reduction of Pride Month merchandise available at retailers this year, Target will continue to support LGBTQIA+ organizations all year, including the Human Rights Campaign, Family Equality and more. The company also will highlight LGBTQ-owned brands during Pride Month and throughout the year in its stores and online.

This year, Target is offering pride-themed dog harnesses, wine, SanDisk drives, children’s toys, watches, and more.

“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,” a company spokesperson said. “We have long offered benefits and resources for the community, and we will have internal programs to celebrate Pride 2024.”

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice

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