Target Launches Online Promotion Supporting Gay Pride
Target Corporation recently launched an online promotion that supports gay pride.
On Sunday, the Minneapolis-based retailer began selling T-shirts with gay-friendly themes online—and it has pledged to donate the full purchase price of each one, up to $120,000, to the Family Equality Council. The T-shirts will be available through June 30, or while supplies last.
The promotion comes almost two years after Target gave $150,000 to MN Forward, a political organization that supported then-gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, who opposed gay marriage. Shortly after making the donation, Target received significant backlash from both employees and members of the GLBT community. Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel later apologized for the company’s actions, and Target revised its policy on political donations.
Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder told Twin Cities Business that the previous donation and the current promotion are not related—and she indicated that the company’s current online promotion was a grassroots effort.
“Over the past year, we heard from our team members and guests that they’d like to see an assortment of Pride merchandise available at Target,” Snyder said via e-mail. “A team of people from Target’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Ally (LGBTA) Business Council and across the organization came together to bring this program to life.”
Target is selling 10 different T-shirts, two of which were designed by well-known singer Gwen Stefani. Her Target-exclusive clothing line, Harajuku Mini for Target, has been in stores since November. Stefani’s two Pride T-shirts picture a person’s face and a rainbow and display the words “Love is love.”
Snyder pointed out that Target has long supported the Washington, D.C.-based Family Equality Council, which supports gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender parents in the United States. In 1999, the retailer was a founding partner of Twin Cities-based Rainbow Families—which merged with the Family Equality Council in 2008. According to Snyder, Target has awarded “thousands of dollars in grants” to the council over the past decade.
“Target’s commitment to the LGBT community, including our team members and guests, is unwavering,” she added. “This [promotion] is about bringing our guests and team members the products they want while being able to support families through the Family Equality Council.”
The T-shirt promotion coincides with gay pride festivities that are taking place next month—including the Twin Cities Pride Festival, scheduled for June 23 and 24.
It also comes at a time when gay marriage is on the minds of many. On the heels of North Carolina’s vote to pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, President Obama two weeks ago voiced support for same-sex marriage. In November, Minnesotans will vote on whether to amend the state constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman.
Few local companies or business leaders have spoken out on the issue, and Target hasn’t taken a public stand on the proposed amendment, but former Medtronic CEO Bill George recently urged local executives to speak out against the amendment, saying that their companies stand to lose a great deal if it passes.
“Defeating this amendment is essential not only to provide civil rights, but also to ensure that Minnesota is open and welcoming to everyone—regardless of religion, gender, race, national origin, or sexual orientation,” George said in an opinion piece that appeared in the Star Tribune.