The 2023 Target Pride Collection: Rainbow Capitalism Versus Conservative Terrorists

The 2023 Target Pride Collection: Rainbow Capitalism Versus Conservative Terrorists

Photo by Shabaz Usmani on Unsplash

Pride Month 2023 may be over, but the conversation is not. Here at Gender Gazette, we keep the conversation about gender and the LGBTQIA+ community going all year round, because guess what! We exist all year round. Rainbow capitalism may not know this, but yes, we don’t disappear when the clock strikes twelve on July 1st.

For some context on this story, Target released their annual pride collection this May/June and quickly received backlash and even terrorist threats against Target employees if they didn’t remove their merchandise from stores.

One of the products that received the most backlash and hate was a “tuck-friendly” bathing suit for adults. Conservative TikTokers have told viewers that these items were spotted in the children’s section, causing an uproar from conservative parents. While these products were not in the children’s section, it is interesting to see how conservative parents flip out over a transgender-friendly bathing suit, but are perfectly fine with their children in clothing that say things like “ladies man” and “I only date heroes,” forcing heteronormativity and the gender binary onto children.

With the ongoing anti-LGBT legislation being introduced over the past few years, transphobic terrorists have become more vocal with their threats, targeting corporations and even celebrities. One celebrity to face this transphobia is Dylan Mulvaney, who recently had a Bud Light sponsorship. While some conservatives are just boycotting these companies, others are taking to threats and violence to make their voices heard.

In an effort to please all customers, Target has moved many of their pride displays to less visible locations including the back of the store, and they have removed many of their LGBT-created products from their website.

As I reflect on this battle between rainbow capitalism in corporations and conservative terrorists, I think about something called the exposure theory. The more someone is exposed to something (i.e. people, music, clothing, etc.), the more people begin to tolerate or even like it. While employee safety is a key concern, keeping pride collections in stores helps with exposure and the normalization of the LGBT community. Because after all, transgender people (and everyone else in the LGBT community) deserve basic human rights.

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