June 6, 2023
To Brian Cornell, CEO of Target:
As an organization of more than 3 million parents and caregivers, our members help kids deal with bullies all the time, so we know that giving into bullies’ demands never achieves the results we want to see.
That’s why we feel disappointed about your decision to remove Pride merchandise from your stores after a few angry customers threatened employees and made demands rooted in hatred and discrimination.
After years as an LGBTQ+ ally, you’re now caught in the midst of a culture war ignited by partisan politics and an environment of increased targeting and attacks on LGBTQ+ children and families. Whether you aimed to be here or not, your choices in this moment really matter.
But here’s what we want you to understand: The group of people who angrily entered your stores or went on social media to attack your Pride collection do not represent the views of the majority of parents in this country.
In a recent survey of our members, 84% of parents told us that “companies should celebrate inclusivity and diversity, even if it upsets a small group of customers.” In fact, 46% of parents said they’ve bought Pride merchandise before, either from Target or another retailer, while another 17% said they would like to.
Of our members – 90% of whom said they shop at Target – 77% said Target should have responded by either banning the customers who issued threats from your stores, or by increasing security. Not by removing the Pride Month products.
We are aware of the difficulties of this situation. We know that protecting your employees is of the utmost importance, and that you strive to maintain safe spaces for employees and customers alike. But in a country where LGBTQ+ families are increasingly under attack, creating safe spaces, in your stores and beyond, means safety for ALL.
As parents, we ask you to help set an example for our children, and show them that bullies don’t get their way by spewing hate, anger, and cruelty. We defend against bullies by coming together to center care, compassion, and kindness, even when it’s hard or we feel pressured to give in.
Of course, like others, we hope you return the removed products to your shelves to continue celebrating Pride Month and all of our LGBTQ+ communities. We ask that you do as our members suggested: increase security to protect your employees and customers, permanently ban anyone who has made threats or vandalized your merchandise, and publicly announce those responses to send a clear message that bigotry is not welcome in your stores.
But more than that, we invite you to loudly and consistently speak out against hate, against bullies, and against the minority of people who have tried to make you a pawn in a political culture war that harms our most vulnerable families.
We urge you to stand up for your values. And know that if you do, the vast majority of parents will be standing with you.
The members of ParentsTogether