BROWNSVILLE, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Target once distinguished itself as being boldly supportive of the LGBTQ+ community.
That status is now tarnished after it removed some products aimed at LGBTQ+ and relocated Pride Month displays to the back of stores in certain Southern locations in response to online complaints and in-store confrontations that it says threatened employees’ well-being.
Target has begun to remove Pride Month items in-store and online.
In the Rio Grande Valley, a Latina-owned family operated business spoke up about the nationwide controversy.
JZD, owned by wife duo Jennifer Serrano and Veronica Vasquez, aims to celebrate unity and culture through their brand.
“We’ve never shied away from our identities as we exist to celebrate all sides of who we are and the communities we belong to,” JZD said in a statement. “We deserve equality, respect, safety, allyship and love.”
Target has pulled two of JZD’s items to be available online only and have completely removed one style from their stores and websites.
“Hate will never win,” JZD said.
Target faces a second backlash from customers upset by the discount retailer’s reaction to aggressive, anti-LGBTQ+ activism, which has also been sweeping through Republican state legislatures. Civil rights groups chided the company on Wednesday for caving to anti-LGBTQ+ customers who tipped over displays and expressed outrage over gender-fluid bathing suits.
“Target should put the products back on the shelves and ensure their Pride displays are visible on the floors, not pushed into the proverbial closet,” Human Rights Campaign president Kelley Robinson said in a statement. “That’s what the bullies want.”
The uproar over Target’s Pride Month marketing — and its response to critics — is just the latest example of how companies are struggling to cater to different groups of customers at a time of extreme cultural divides, particularly around transgender rights.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.