Target Scales Back on its LGBTQ+ Merchandise Ahead of Pride Month 2024

Target has announced that it will not be selling its 2024 Pride Month collection in all of its stores this year, following backlash from conservative groups last year over its LGBTQ+-themed merchandise.

The retail giant revealed in a recent press release that it will instead offer its Pride Month collection, which includes adult clothing and home decor, online and in “select stores” during the month of June. This decision will be based on “historical sales performance.”

A spokesperson for Target stated to NPR that the company remains dedicated to supporting the LGBTQ+ community not just during Pride Month but throughout the year. Benefits and resources will continue to be provided for the community and the company’s vast employee base of over 400,000 individuals. Additionally, Target plans to have a presence at local Pride events close to its Minneapolis headquarters.

While Target has been known for carrying Pride-themed merchandise for years, the retailer faced criticism last year for removing some of these items from shelves due to backlash, including threats to employee safety.

In response to the situation, Target made adjustments to its plans and removed certain items that were at the center of the controversy. When asked about the specific items removed and security measures at stores, Target did not provide a response to NPR.

President of the Human Rights Campaign, Kelley Robinson, expressed disappointment in Target’s decision to limit its Pride Month merchandise this year. Robinson stated that this move could alienate LGBTQ+ individuals and allies, potentially affecting both the company’s values and financial performance.

The announcement of Target’s reduced efforts for Pride Month coincides with a warning from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security regarding potential threats from foreign terrorist organizations targeting LGBTQ+ events and venues in June. While the joint statement did not specify any particular threats, it serves as a reminder of the importance of vigilance during Pride Month celebrations.