Target is removing certain items from its stores and making other modifications to its LGBTQ+ merchandise nationwide in advance of Pride month, following an intense backlash from some customers, which included violent confrontations with its employees.
Target issued a statement on Tuesday stating, “Since the introduction of this year’s collection, our team members’ sense of safety and well-being at work has been threatened.”
“In light of these volatile conditions, we are modifying our plans, including the removal of items that have been the source of the most significant confrontational behavior.”
After worker threats, Target removes LGBTQ+ products.
Target declined to disclose which items were being removed, but “tuck-friendly” women’s swimsuits that allow trans women who have not undergone gender-affirming surgery to conceal their private parts received the most attention.
Abprallen, a London-based company that designs and sells LGBTQ+ apparel and accouterments with occult and satanic themes, has also generated a backlash.
Since early May, Pride merchandise has been available for purchase. Pride month takes place in June.
Target confirmed that it has moved Pride merchandise from the front of some Southern stores to the rear due to customer confrontations and backlash in those areas.
In recent weeks, Target’s Pride month collection has been the subject of several misleading videos in which social media users falsely claim the retailer sells “tuck-friendly” swimsuits for children or in children’s sizes.
The actions come as beer brand Bud Light continues to face backlash from customers incensed by its partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney, which was intended to broaden its customer base. The parent company of Bud Light announced that it will treble its marketing expenditures in the U.S. this summer in an effort to recover lost sales following the brand’s partnership with the transgender influencer.
Since approximately a decade ago, Target and other retailers, including Walmart and H&M, have expanded their LGBTQ+ displays to commemorate Pride month. This year, transgender issues, such as gender-affirming health care and athletics participation, have been a divisive topic in state legislatures, and the backlash has become antagonistic.