Target is Pulling Back on Pride-Themed Products in Its Stores. The Reason Why Is Obvious.


Target has announced plans to substantially reduce the number of stores that carry Pride Month merchandise in June. The decision comes after a fierce backlash against the company for plastering its stores with LGBTQ-themed material.


This development highlights the challenges companies face when trying to drive revenue while avoiding moves that could alienate its customer base. The Minneapolis-based retailer will limit the Pride-themed items to select locations based on historical sales performance and availability. The full collection will also be available online.

This decision comes after a rather contention Pride season in 2023, when the retailer was barraged with criticism of its pandering to the LGBTQ community:

In a statement on its website, Target said the items will be curated based on consumer feedback and will include adult apparel, food and beverages, and home goods.

“Target is committed to supporting the LGBTQIA+ community during Pride Month and year-round,” a spokeswoman for the company said, adding that the company will have internal programs and a presence at local Pride events around the country to celebrate the observance.

Target faced threats from some customers last year over its Pride merchandise, including bathing suits designed for transgender people, and removed some items from sale. Advocacy groups then urged the company to put products back on shelves.


Much of the controversy stemmed from some of the items in the collection, including swimsuits labeled as “tuck-friendly” with “extra crotch coverage” for boys experiencing gender dysphoria and seeking to “transition” to the opposite sex. Many of these items were brazenly marketed to children, which only made the problem worse. It resulted in confrontations between customers and members of staff. Some customers even tipped over displays in the stores.

However, Target’s move should not be taken as an indication that it is still not intent on catering to the LGBTQ community. In a statement, the company affirmed that “Beyond our own teams, we will have a presence at local Pride events in Minneapolis and around the country, and we continue to support a number of LGBTQIA+ organizations.”

Target’s decision is part of a broader trend where companies are wrestling with how to navigate the cultural divides that have intensified over the past decade. It is similar to what happened with Bud Light when it aligned itself with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney, which sparked a massive boycott. The company is still trying to recover.


Read: Whither Bud Light on the One-Year Anniversary of the Dylan Mulvaney Debacle?

This development highlights how the culture war is affecting corporate America. While some companies have been smart enough to stay out of politics, others seem to have embraced leftist ideology to appeal to a certain crowd and avoid becoming the target of the Cancel Culture Community™.

Target’s decision to limit the sale of Pride-themed merchandise reflects a desire to strike a balance between embracing the LGBTQ community and not going to extreme lengths that might alienate a significant portion of its customer base. It is a tightrope that many brands have chosen to walk. It remains to be seen whether the company can navigate this issue effectively.