More than 100 organizations call on Target, other businesses to stand up to anti-LGBTQ threats
A coalition of more than 100 organizations — several from North Carolina — are calling on the major retail chain Target and the business community at-large to stand up to extremist threats going into LGBTQ Pride month.
As Newsline reported, Target reluctantly decided last week to pull some Pride Month merchandise from its shelves as its stores and employees experienced confrontations and threats.
“Since introducing this year’s collection, we’ve experienced threats impacting our team members’ sense of safety and well-being while at work,” the company said in a written statement posted to its website. “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. 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.”
Target has supported Pride Month each June for more than a decade. With nearly 2,000 Target locations in 51 U.S. States and territories, the company’s reach makes it one of the more visible corporate allies in the LGBTQ community. Anheuser-Busch, another long-time sponsor of Pride events, recently experienced a major conservative backlash for helping a trans influencer celebrate her transition with a personalized Bud Lite. When the company reacted to the controversy by placing two marketing executives involved with the move on leave, backlash from the LGBTQ community led to some bars pulling the company’s products.
Since it announced it would pull some Pride merchandise, Target has faced a similar dilemma — with some conservatives boycotting the store and some in the LGBTQ community expressing anger that a long-time ally caved to threats and intimidation.
The coalition of groups urging businesses to resist threats and intimidation includes North Carolina’s Equality NC, the Carolina CARES Partnership and the LGBT Center of Raleigh. The list of groups signing onto the statement also includes Human Rights Campaign (HRC), GLAAD, GLSEN, Family Equality, National LGBTQ Task Force, National Center for Lesbian Rights and National Black Justice Coalition.
In a statement Wednesday, the groups urged Target to provide necessary security for employees, restore Pride merchandise to its shelves and stand by its commitment to the values it has long professed.
“Doubling down on your values is not only the right thing to do, it’s good for business,” the coalition wrote. “Research shows that if a brand publicly supports and demonstrates a commitment to expanding and protecting LGBTQ+ rights, Americans are 2x more likely to buy or use the brand. Americans ages 18-34 are 5.5x more likely to want to work at a company if it publicly supports and demonstrates a commitment to expanding and protecting LGBTQ+ rights.”
It isn’t just LGBTQ+ consumers and communities,” the coalition wrote. “Seventy percent of non-LGBTQ+ people believe companies should publicly support and include the LGBTQ+ community through practices like hiring, advertising and sponsorships.”
Full Statement from 100+ organizations on LGBTQ threats, intimidation
Recent pushback against businesses such as Anheuser-Busch and Target, blatantly organized by extremist groups, serves as a wake up call for all businesses that support the LGBTQ+ community. We’ve seen this extremist playbook of attacks before. Their goal is clear: to prevent LGBTQ+ inclusion and representation, silence our allies and make our community invisible. These attacks fuel hate against LGBTQ+ people, just as we’ve seen this year with more than 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that restrict basic freedoms and aim to erase LGBTQ+ people.
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. 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.
Doubling down on your values is not only the right thing to do, it’s good for business. Research shows that if a brand publicly supports and demonstrates a commitment to expanding and protecting LGBTQ+ rights, Americans are 2x more likely to buy or use the brand. Americans ages 18-34 are 5.5x more likely to want to work at a company if it publicly supports and demonstrates a commitment to expanding and protecting LGBTQ+ rights.
It isn’t just LGBTQ+ consumers and communities: 70% of non-LGBTQ+ people believe companies should publicly support and include the LGBTQ+ community through practices like hiring, advertising and sponsorships (Accelerating Acceptance, 2023).
At this moment, it’s critical that Target champions equity and inclusion as it has for over a decade. Target consistently tops the list for brands that show genuine, authentic support of the LGBTQ+ community through outreach and policies. Target received recognition for outstanding commitment to DEI from the Executive Leadership Council in 2022. It’s time to prove the recognition was earned.
When it comes to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion, there is no such thing as neutrality.
We’re calling 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
ensure safety of team members who are on the front lines
Target, and all businesses, can leverage the support of LGBTQ+ organizations to navigate this hate, so that together, we can let extremists know unequivocally that, just as with every other failed anti-LGBTQ+ campaign of the past, fear will not win.
The following organizations have signed on to the statement:
AAPI Victory Alliance
Accountable For Equality
Ace and Aro Alliance of Central Ohio
Alaskans Together for Equality
All Under One Roof LGBT Advocates of Southeastern Idaho
Alliance For Full Acceptance
Arizona Trans Youth and Parent Organization
Bans Off Miami
Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice
Black Leaders Organizing for Communities (BLOC)
Brooklyn Community Pride Center
Capital Pride Alliance
Carolinas CARE Partnership
CASA in Action
Center for Psychological Growth
Center on Halsted
CenterLink: The Community of LGBTQ Centers
Central Valley Pride
City of Milwaukee Equal Rights Commission
Compass LGBTQ Community Center
Delmarva Pride Center
Diverse & Resilient
Eastern PA Trans Equity Project
Emerald Coast Equality
Equality Community Center
Equality New York
Florida Freedom to Read Project
FREE MOM HUGS
Garden State Equality
Grand Strand PRIDE
Henderson Equality Center
Hope CommUnity Center
Hudson Pride Center
I Am Human Foundation
Indiana Youth Group (IYG)
Institute for LGBT Health and Wellbeing
Kaleidoscope Youth Center
Lavender Rights Project
Lexington Pride Center
LGBT Center of Raleigh
LGBT+ Family & Games
LGBTQ Center OC
LGBTQ+ Center of Southern Nevada
Live Out Loud
Los Angeles LGBT Center
Louisiana Trans Advocates
Louisiana Trans Advocates
Make the Road Nevada
Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition
Matthew Shepard Foundation
Milwaukee LGBT Community Center
MoCo Pride Center
Muncie OUTreach LGBTQ+ Center
National Black Justice Coalition
National Center for Lesbian Rights
National Center for Transgender Equality
National LGBTQ Task Force
North Las Vegas Equality Center
North San Diego County LGBTQ Resource Center
Oklahoma Progress Now
One In Long Beach, Inc.
OutReach LGBTQ+ Community Center
Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents
Point of Pride
Pride at Work – Rochester Finger Lakes Chapter
Prism Counseling & Community Services
Project Pride SRQ
Rainbow Rose Center
Real Mama Bears
Rockland County Pride Center
Sacramento LGBT Community Center
Shoals Diversity Center
Silver State Equality
St. Tammany Library Alliance
Tennessee Equality Project
The Center: 7 Rivers LGBTQ Connection
The LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland
the Montrose Center
The Normal Anomaly Initiative, Inc
The Personal Stories Project
The Pride Center at Equality Park
The Sacred Cloth Project
The Spahr Center
TransFamily Support Services
Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund
Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico
Transgender Resource Education and Enrichment Services-TREES Inc.
Truth Wins Out
Upstate SC LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce
Uptown Gay and Lesbian Alliance (UGLA)
Us Giving Richmond Connections
Waves Ahead Corp
We Are Family
Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault
Women’s Emergency Network
Woodhull Freedom Foundation