NEW YORK (AP) — Target is removing some items from its stores and making other changes to LGBTQ+ merchandise nationwide ahead of Pride Month after backlash from some customers who confronted workers and flipped displays.
“Since introducing this year’s collection, we have faced threats affecting our team members’ sense of safety and well-being while on the job,” Target said in a statement on Tuesday. “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.”
Target said customers tore down Pride screens in some stores, angrily approached workers and posted threatening videos on social media from inside the stores.
Target declined to say which items it was removing Wednesday, but among the items that garnered the most attention were the “tuck-friendly” women’s swimwear that allows trans women who aren’t gender-affirming to hide their private parts. designs aberlina London-based company that designs and sells occult and demonic-themed LGBTQ+ clothing and accessories, has also generated significant backlash.
Pride merchandise has been sold out since early May. Pride month takes place in June.
And Target confirmed that it had moved its Pride goods from the front of the stores to the back in some southern stores, after confrontations and a violent reaction from shoppers in those areas.
Target is responding to confrontations in its stores as state legislatures introduce a record number of bills targeting LGBT people.
There are nearly 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced in state legislatures since the beginning of this year, an unprecedented number, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
These efforts focus on health, especially gender-affirming health care for transgender youth, and education. State legislatures are lobbying to prevent discussions in school about sexuality and gender identity.
At least 17 states have enacted laws restricting or prohibiting gender confirmation care for transgender minors, although judges have temporarily blocked its enforcement in some, including Arkansas. Associated Press analysis found Often those laws did not emerge from popular demands or their constituents, but from the pens of a handful of conservative interest groups.
Target’s Pride month collection has also been the subject of several misleading videos In recent weeks, social media users have falsely claimed that the retailer sells “fold-friendly” swimsuits designed for children or in kid-specific sizes.
The moves come as beer brand Bud Light is still grappling with backlash from customers angry at its attempt to expand its customer base. By partnering with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney. Bud Light’s parent company said it would triple its marketing Spending in the US this summer as it tries to regain sales lost after the brand partnered with transgender influencer.
Target and other retailers including Walmart and H&M have been expanding LGBTQ+ displays to celebrate Pride Month for nearly a decade. Transgender issues this year — including health care to gender affirmation and participation in sports — have been a divisive topic in state legislatures and the backlash has become hostile.
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