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Thursday, June 1, 2023 17:52

Target removed some LGBTQ merchandise from stores following threats against workers

NEW YORK — Target removed certain items from its stores and made other changes to LGBTQ merchandise nationwide ahead of Pride month, after backlash from some customers including violent confrontations with its workers.

“Since introducing this year's collection, we have experienced threats that affect our team members' sense of security and wellbeing at work,” Target said in a statement Tuesday. “Given these unstable circumstances, we are making adjustments to our plans, including removing items that are the most significant centers of confrontational behavior.”

Target declined to say which items were removed, but among the ones that drew the most attention was a “female friendly” swimsuit that allows trans women who have not had gender-affirming surgery to hide their private parts. The design by Abprallen, a London-based company that designs and sells occult and satanic themed LGBTQ clothing and accessories, also drew backlash.

Pride merchandise has been on sale since early May. Pride month is held in June.

Target confirmed that it had moved Pride merchandise from the front of the store to the back in some Southern stores following confrontation and backlash from shoppers in the area.

Target's Pride month collection has also been the subject of several misleading videos in recent weeks, with social media users falsely claiming that the retailer was selling “tuck-friendly” swimsuits designed for children or in children's sizes.

The move comes as beer brand Bud Light is still grappling with backlash from angry customers over its attempts to broaden its customer base by partnering with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney. Parent company Bud Light said it would double its US marketing spend this summer as it tries to recoup sales it lost after the brand partnered with a transgender influencer.

Target and other retailers include Walmart and H&M have been expanding their LGBTQ look to celebrate Pride month for roughly a decade. This year's transgender issues — including gender-affirmed health care and participation in sport — have become divisive topics in the state legislature and the backlash has turned hostile.

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