Target Is Pulling Some LGBTQ Pride Month Merchandise From Stores After Backlash

The retailer has sold rainbow-colored Pride Month clothing and other merchandise for years.


Target will pull some LGBTQ Pride Month merchandise from its stores, the company said Tuesday, after some customers threatened employees and made them feel unsafe.

The Minneapolis-based retail chain has sold rainbow-colored Pride Month clothing and other merchandise for years, but a company spokesperson said in a statement that Target and its employees have recently faced backlash over the merchandise displays that eroded their “sense of safety and wellbeing 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,” the spokesperson said.

The company did not elaborate on which items would be removed from shelves. Among the items that have received backlash is a swimsuit that allows transgender women who have not had gender-affirming surgery to conceal their genitals.

Target is the most recent major company to draw ire for promoting LGBTQ rights, addressing the history of sexism in beer advertisements or featuring gay and trans actors in commercials. Anheuser-Busch InBev, the Molson Coors Beverage Company and Ford have also received backlash, largely from conservative commentators and social media users.

Pride Month is traditionally celebrated in June, but Target’s Pride merchandise was first displayed this month.

“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,” the Target spokesperson said.

A customer walks into a Target store on February 28, 2023 in San Rafael, California.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
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