Recent pushback against businesses such as Anheuser-Busch and Target, blatantly organized by extremist groups, serves as a wake-up call for all businesses that support the LGBTQ+ community. We’ve seen this extremist playbook of attacks before. Their goal is clear: to prevent LGBTQ+ inclusion and representation, silence our allies, and make our community invisible. These attacks fuel hate against LGBTQ+ people, as we’ve seen this year with more than 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that restrict basic freedoms and aim to erase LGBTQ+ people.
Extremist attacks and harassment of businesses for standing in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community and values of diversity, equity, and inclusion have challenged Target, and businesses more broadly, to lead – to demonstrate they mean what they say when investing in and standing with LGBTQ+ people, creatives, and organizations. Businesses must continue to lead and respond with unwavering support for LGBTQ+ employees, shareholders, customers, allies – and the broader community. When values of diversity, equity, and inclusion are tested, businesses must defend them unequivocally.
Doubling down on your values is not only the right thing to do, but it’s also good for business. Research shows that if a brand publicly supports and demonstrates a commitment to expanding and protecting LGBTQ+ rights, Americans are 2x more likely to buy or use the brand. Americans age 18-34 are 5.5x more likely to want to work at a company if it publicly supports and demonstrates a commitment to expanding and protecting LGBTQ+ rights.
It isn’t just LGBTQ+ consumers and communities: 70% of non-LGBTQ+ people believe companies should publicly support and include the LGBTQ+ community through practices like hiring, advertising, and sponsorships (Accelerating Acceptance, 2023).
At this moment, it’s critical that Target champions equity and inclusion as it has for over a decade. Target consistently tops the list for brands that show genuine, authentic support of the LGBTQ+ community through outreach and policies. Target received recognition for outstanding commitment to DEI from the Executive Leadership Council in 2022. It’s time to prove that recognition was earned.
When it comes to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion, there is no such thing as neutrality.
We’re calling on Target to:
- Release a public statement in the next 24 hours reaffirming their commitment to the LGBTQ+ community
- Put Pride merchandise back on the sales floor and online in full
- Ensure safety of team members who are on the front lines
Target, and all businesses, can leverage the support of LGBTQ+ organizations to navigate this hate so that together, we can let extremists know unequivocally that, just as with every other failed anti-LGBTQ+ campaign of the past, fear will not win.
Organizations calling on Target and all businesses to stand up against anti-LGBTQ2S+ extremism:
- Family Equality
- The Human Rights Campaign
- National Center For Lesbian Rights
- National LGBTQ Task Force
- National Black Justice Coalition