200+ Gay Groups Order Target to Restock all Pride Merch

In the wake of Target’s decision to tone down its Pride participation, more than 200 LGBTQ groups are demanding that the retail giant restock all the Pride merchandise it pulled from store shelves and online and release a public statement “reaffirming their commitment” to the community.

The Human Rights Campaign, along with GLAAD, GLSEN and other groups, released a statement Monday calling on Target and other businesses to “reject and speak out against anti-LGBTQ+ extremism going into Pride Month.”

“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,” the statement read. “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.”

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The statement was signed by more than 200 other progressive and LGBTQ organizations.

Stating a three-fold demand, the organizations call on Target to release a public statement in the next 24 hours “reaffirming their commitment to the LGBTQ+ community,” restock all the Pride merchandise both in stores and online, and ensure the safety of Target employees.

READ: Sesame Street Says Every Month is Gay Pride Month

“When it comes to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion, there is no such thing as neutrality,” the LGBTQ coalition said.

The coalition indicated that it would close the gap to support Target and other businesses that pushed back against potential consumer backlash.

“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 statement reads.

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Target displays LGBTQ-themed merchandise annually during the month of June, but the company came under fire from consumers this year for selling “tuck-friendly” women’s swimsuits for transgender people and Pride products for children and infants.

The retail giant responded by moving some Pride merchandise to less prominent sections of the store and removing some items completely.

Progressives and LGBTQ groups then accused Target of caving to “violent political extremists” and said the company “betrayed” LGBTQ customers.

Target has released one public statement addressing the controversy thus far.

“For more than a decade, Target has offered an assortment of products aimed at celebrating Pride Month,” the company said in a May 24 release. “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. 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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