LGBTQ+ activists call for new strategies to promote equality after targeted backlash

Richmond, Va. (AP) – follows the target Announcement last week It removed the product and relocated Pride displays to the back of some stores in the South, prompting activists in the LGBTQ+ community to call for new campaigns to convince corporate leaders not to pander to anti-LGBTQ+ groups.

“We need a strategy on how to deal with companies that feel great pressure to throw LGBTQ people under the bus,” said California state Sen. D-San Francisco, a member of the LGBTQ Legislative Caucus. Scott Weiner said.

“If you’re our partner — if you really are our partner — you should be our partner, not just when it’s easy, but when it’s hard, and we need to send a clear message to corporate America,” he said.

The controversy comes at a time when conflicts over LGBTQ+ rights are simmering, although the retailer said its actions were aimed at ensuring the safety and well-being of its employees, after protesters knocked down Pride signs and confronted workers in stores.

Nearly 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced In state legislatures Nationwide this year. At least 18 states have passed laws restricting or prohibiting gender-affirming care for transgender people.

The hostile atmosphere has prompted some groups to hire security consultants to advise them on planned activities for Pride Month, which begins Thursday.

“We’re forced to think differently about how we handle security at our events and whether or not we post the names and emails of our employees on our website,” said Johnson Wu, executive director of GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, a nonprofit legal rights organization. Located in Boston.

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Debra Porta, executive director of Pride Northwest in Portland, Oregon, said there have been discussions about a possible boycott, letter-writing campaign and other targeted actions, but plans for an organized protest have yet to materialize.

“Since the news is so fresh, more acts may be announced, especially as Pride month gets here,” Porta said.

Target isn’t the only company facing public criticism.

Bud Light is still there Dealing with fallout From that Collaborate with transgender influence Dylan Mulvaney posted a picture of a beer can with his face on Instagram in April. In response to the hateful and transphobic backlash that followed, the company said it “doesn’t want to be part of a divisive debate,” but didn’t direct the rhetoric or show clear support for Mulvaney. Bud Light’s parent company is Anheuser-Busch Triples its US marketing spend Trying to recover lost sales this summer.

In early May, several gay bars in Chicago stopped selling Anheuser-Busch products to protest the company’s response.

Chicago’s 2Bears Tavern said the company’s response “shows how much Anheuser-Busch cares about the LGBTQIA+ community, and transgender people in particular, who are under constant attack in this country.”

“Because Anheuser-Busch doesn’t support us, we won’t support it,” the company said.

Sidetrack, the largest gay bar in the Midwest, said Anheuser-Busch “falsely validates the position that it is acceptable to accede to the demands of those who do not support the trans community and want to erase LGBTQ+ visibility.”

In Florida, the Disney engagement took place In a legal battle Since the company expressed its opposition, Gov. With Ron DeSantis State Classroom Limits In discussing gender identity and sexual orientation.

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The Los Angeles Dodgers last week announced a satirical LGBTQ+ group called the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Welcome back The group’s annual Pride Night — nearly a week after the group canceled its original invitation, citing backlash from conservative Roman Catholics and politicians who accused the group of mocking the Christian faith.

Brian K., executive director of PFLAG, an organization founded in 1973 to advocate for LGBTQ+ people and their families. Bond said.

“I think business and we as citizens need to look within ourselves for new strategies. The old models don’t necessarily work,” he said.

Victoria Cope, president of The Family Foundation of Virginia, a conservative, faith-based organization in Richmond, said some are concerned about the effect Target’s Pride displays may have on children.

“Target is paying the price for telling kids to be dissatisfied with their bodies, putting ideology over investors’ interests, and creating a store environment hostile to parents with children,” Cobb said in a statement.

At a Richmond Target store on Sunday, Pride products were prominently displayed in the front of the store.

Brenda Alston, a 75-year-old retiree, said she bought a pair of rainbow sandals to show support for the LGBTQ+ community and the cause.

“If you come to the store and you don’t support this, keep walking and get what you need in another part of the store,” Alston said. “Who are you to tell me what to buy and what to target their customers?”

Still, some see hostility toward Target and other retailers as the latest hurdle in a decades-long fight for equality.

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“To me it’s a sign that we’re winning,” said Derek Mize, a gay attorney who lives in suburban Atlanta with his husband and two children.

“I think these people whining about our vision is the last gasp of dying prejudice,” he said. “Society is changing, and most people don’t care about selling an LGBTQ shirt.”

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Selsky reported from Salem, Oregon.

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