target store lgbt transgender clothing children kids
© Google MapsSome southern Target stores were forced by the liberal corporation to move LGBTQ Pride merchandise away from the front of the store after customer "outrage."
Backlash over trans-friendly slogans on T-shirts for kids led to customer boycott. It will now only sell adult options in half of its stores nationwide

Target is set to limit the sale of LGBTQ-themed merchandise for Pride Month after the retailer faced backlash a year ago.

Ahead of its Pride product release in June - a practice it has followed since 2013 - Target will reduce the number of stores selling the merchandise, and stop offering Pride-themed children's clothes.

The adult-only options come a year after calls to boycott the brand over its collection, including 'tuck-friendly' swimsuits and children's T-shirts with the slogan: 'Trans People Will Always Exist!'

This week, Target said it was only releasing LGBTQ products around half of its 2,000 stores nationwide, 'based on historical sales performance', reports Bloomberg.

target stores transgender children clothing kids
© Brian Flood/Fox NewsMany Target locations across the country feature massive June Pride month displays on an annual basis.
A Target spokesperson told CNN that despite dialing down its LGBTQ-themed merchandise, the company is 'committed to supporting' Pride Month.

'Most importantly, we want to create a welcoming and supportive environment for our LGBTQIA+ team members, which reflects our culture of care for the over 400,000 people who work at Target,' the spokesperson added.

When it was faced with backlash a year ago, the outrage grew to the point that several stores received bomb threats if they didn't pull the clothing line, and the company's share price tanked by over $10 billion.

Right-wing customers erupted in fury at some of the offerings, which also included children's literature such as Bye Bye Binary, and wall posters reading, 'Ask me about my pronouns.'

Calendars reading 'Queer All Year' were also among the products, with others including rainbow covered children's clothes and adult bodysuits.
target stor ceo brian cornell
© CNBCIn 2023, Target CEO Brian Cornell pulled the merchandise from stores just days before Pride Month began amid the controversy, and defended the move by noting the bomb threats and hostility directed at his employees
Target CEO Brian Cornell pulled the merchandise from stores just days before Pride Month began amid the controversy, and defended the move by noting the bomb threats and hostility directed at his employees.

'I've seen natural disasters, the impact of COVID, the violence that took place after George Floyd's murder,' he told CNBC at the time.

'But I will tell you what I saw back in May is the first time since I've been in this job where I had store team members saying, "It's not safe to come to work."'

'We had to prioritize the safety of our teams... And I knew personally this was not going to be well received. But we had to prioritize the safety of the team.'

Experts have now said that the recent move to limit the offerings this year come as Target finds itself in the unenviable position of being in the middle of culture war debates.

The move was a 'sensible approach,' Neil Saunders, managing director of retail for GlobalData, told CNN. But he warned 'it runs the risk of Target being accused of not being proud of Pride.'

'Unfortunately for Target, it has been dragged into the culture wars and is in a position where it can't win whatever it does,' he said.

Target executives reportedly said at a recent earnings call that they acknowledged the 'strong reaction' last year, and it was an indicator the company had to 'pause, adapt and learn.'

Target has supported Pride - celebrated throughout the month of June - every year since 2013, with last year's collection only the latest to prove polarizing.

In 2014, Target publicly endorsed marriage equality, and the following year 2015 announced it was ending the policy of dividing certain products, like toys, by gender.

Target also introduced a gender-neutral line for children, and in April 2016 - amid a nationwide discussion about bathroom access - announced that transgender people were free to use whichever bathroom they chose.

Three months later, it responded to protests by spending $20 million to add a private bathroom to each of its stores.

At the time, Cornell said: 'I think those are just good business decisions, and it's the right thing for society, and it's the great thing for our brand.

'The things we've done from a DE&I (diversity, equity, and inclusion) standpoint, it's adding value.

'It's helping us drive sales, it's building greater engagement with both our teams and our guests, and those are just the right things for our business today.'