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Target Continues To Dial Back Its LGBTQIA+ Line After Receiving Threats

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Target has announced it will eliminate items from its LGBTQIA+ merchandise line after receiving backlash and customer confrontation.

This comes one month before Pride Month, which takes place in June.

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Target Employees Receiving Threats Due To Pride Collection

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Last year, Target felt that it had no choice but to remove some of the LGBTQIA+ merchandise line from stores after some customers confronted and threatened workers, as well as destroyed displays.

In 2023, Target released a statement regarding the backlash the company received and the threats made towards its employees.

“For more than a decade, Target has offered an assortment of products aimed at celebrating Pride Month,” the company said at the time. “Since introducing this year’s collection, we’ve experienced threats impacting our team members’ sense of safety and well-being while at work. 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.”

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Target added, “Our focus now is on moving forward with our continuing commitment to the LGBTQIA+ community and standing with them as we celebrate Pride Month and throughout the year.”

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Target To Cut Back On LGBTQIA+ Line

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After receiving threats and backlash, the company said it had no choice but to continue cutting back and eliminating some items from the LGBTQIA+ merchandise line.

This year, Target’s Pride collection will be more limited, with “adult apparel” and home goods “in select stores, based on historical sales performance.” This marks a significant change for Target, as the store sold the items in many U.S. stores for the past 10 years.

According to Bloomberg, Target will offer a selection of Pride-themed products in roughly half of its U.S. stores and online at Target.com.

A Target spokesperson, who spoke to CNN, claimed the company is “committed to supporting” the LGBTQ community during Pride month.

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Target Will Still Celebrate Pride Month

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While Target announced it would remove some of its LGBTQIA+ merchandise line, the company says it will still celebrate Pride Month.

“Our Pride+ Business Council will host internal events and experiences where interested team members can learn, reflect, celebrate and connect. It’s complemented by the year-round resources and benefits we provide to our LGBTQIA+ team members, reflecting our culture of care for all 400,000 people who work at Target,” the company said.

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“We’re joining local Pride events in our hometown of Minneapolis and around the country. We’re offering a collection of products, including adult apparel and home and food and beverage items, curated based on consumer feedback,” the company added. “The collection will be available on Target.com and in select stores based on historical sales performance.”

“We continue to support LGBTQIA+ organizations year-round, including Human Rights Campaign, Family Equality and more,” the company continued. “Target also spotlights LGBTQ-owned brands in our assortment during Pride Month and throughout the year in our stores and online.”

The Human Rights Campaign Fires Back

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The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) criticized Target’s decision, claiming that offering Pride merchandise  “means something” since the LGBTQ community makes up 30% of Generation Z. “Companies need to understand that community members and allies want businesses that express full-hearted support for the community,” it said.

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

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Target Teams Up With LGBTQIA+ Designers

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In 2022, Target announced the company teamed up with LGBTQIA+ designers, entrepreneurs and Target team members to design its 10th annual Pride merchandise line to “authentically celebrate the community.”

“The 250+ piece collection, which is available at every Target store and Target.com, features apparel and accessories, home goods, food & beverage items and more designed by and for the LGBTQIA+ community, whether joining Pride celebrations this summer or showcasing the products proudly year-round,” the company said in a statement.

The company also supported its community partners who support the LGBTQIA+ community by donating $250,000 to GLSEN “to advance its mission of creating affirming, accessible and antiracist spaces for LGBTQIA+ students.”

“This marks our 11th year of partnership, with a total of $2.1 million in support to date,” Target added. “We’re also awarding a grant to PrideLive, a New York City nonprofit creating a Stonewall National Monument Education & Visitor’s Center at the NYC Stonewall Inn.”

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