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In addition to the adult collection, which included a T-shirt emblazoned with the words “Queer Queer Queer Queer,” a short sleeve bright green boilersuit, and a hoodie which declares “Not A Phase,” the company offered several items meant for kids and babies. The store is selling onesies and small shirts with phrases like “Bien Proud” and “Just Be You And Feel The Love,” as well as rainbow-colored leggings, tutu skirts, and jumpers.
Target likewise offers bibs that say “I Am Proud Of You Always,” rainbow sandals and swimwear, and socks with various LGBTQ-related themes. Shoppers with pets can purchase rainbow backpacks, chew toys, treats, leashes, collars, and cat scratchers.
The retailer has garnered controversy for several years with “Pride” collections meant to commemorate the June LGBTQ festivals. Items sold last year included breast binders, packing underwear, and other offerings meant for self-identified transgender individuals, drawing backlash against the company.
Efforts to advance radical gender theory among children have been spotlighted over the past year. Lawmakers in some states have moved to ban sexually explicit drag queen performances for minors.
Target is also selling books that advance the tenets of transgender activism among children. One book called “Bye Bye Binary” centers on a “joyful baby” who “refuses to conform to the gender binary and instead chooses toys, colors, and clothes that make them happy” and is marketed as a “perfect tool to encourage children to love what they love and is also a great baby shower gift for all soon-to-be-parents.” Another volume entitled “The Pronoun Book” exposes “readers both young and old” to a “diverse cast of people and simple text that introduces their pronouns.”
Continued sales of the controversial books occur as material with LGBTQ themes, including some with explicit and pornographic images, are uncovered by parents in government schools and public libraries, prompting efforts from conservative lawmakers and activists to remove the content. Officials from the American Library Association issued a press release earlier this year in response to the backlash claiming that the number of demands to “censor library books” has nearly doubled between 2021 and 2022. Some 58% of the requests “targeted books and materials in school libraries,” while 41% “targeted materials in public libraries.”
“We’re seeing these challenges come from organized censorship groups that target local library board meetings to demand removal of a long list of books they share on social media,” American Library Association Office for Intellectual Freedom director Deborah Caldwell-Stone said. “Their aim is to suppress the voices of those traditionally excluded from our nation’s conversations, such as people in the LGBTQIA+ community or people of color.”
Despite the annual campaigns from Target to commemorate “Pride” celebrations, some businesses draw rebukes from their consumer bases as a result of their nods to radical transgender activism. Anheuser-Busch, the company which owns Bud Light, has faced plummeting sales and considerable market backlash after the brand partnered with social media influencer Dylan Mulvaney, a male who claimed to transition into a woman.