film / tv / politics / social media / lists / web / celeb / pajiba love / misc / about / cbr
film / tv / politics / web / celeb


Target Caves to Anti-Trans Bigots

By James Field | Politics | May 24, 2023 |

By James Field | Politics | May 24, 2023 |


“Rainbow Capitalism” is the term given to the corporate trend of promoting products through advertisements that have an LGBTQ vibe. For example, ads featuring lots of rainbows and assurances that “everyone is welcome” in their stores during Pride month. It’s the gay equivalent of Fourth of July truck commercials. Chevrolet isn’t that invested in American flags, but they want to sell trucks to self-described patriots, so it’s how they promote their products. It doesn’t mean as much as the corporation would like you to think it does, but it’s generally harmless.

That changes, though, when your support is only skin-deep. Take the Target corporation. Target was an early adopter of rainbow capitalism. Their stores often have big Pride displays during June, with lots of rainbows and bright colors that work well with the summer’s theme of bright colors and bathing suits. But recently they’ve been the target (heh) of the people Ron DeSantis caters to like he’s Longhorn Steakhouse.

I don’t actually recommend watching this mentally unstable rant, but if you do, you’ll see the Wish version of 1997-era Jennifer Love Hewitt fuming about LGBTQ-supportive greeting cards and trans-friendly clothing she claims are aimed at children. They’re not — the clothes are in adult sizes only. Like every case of performative outrage, it’s a hoax and a grift. That hasn’t stopped a conservative backlash to the displays that have escalated to destruction of property and threats against store staff. Target caved to those threats in a statement yesterday.

No one stocking shelves for minimum wage should have to deal with a sentient beer gut smashing Pride displays. They didn’t sign up for that kind of confrontation, particularly in states like Texas and Florida where gunfights are the primary method of conflict resolution. From that perspective, Target’s decision makes sense, even as it smacks of cowardice. But above the individual level of store clerk versus anti-trans extremist, there’s the larger issue of giving into bigots. Nothing reinforces bad behavior better than capitulation. It’s why you don’t reward your screaming toddler with candy, and it’s why you don’t give bullies an inch. We should have learned our lesson during the pandemic. It’s not a surprise the same anti-vax conspiracists are the same ones shouting about the transgender lobby right now. They threw fits when staff tried to make them adhere to store masking policies. As a result, those policies were dropped. Pandering politicians and corporations that flinch away from confrontation confirm they can get what they want through threats of violence. Why would they stop when it clearly works?

The LA Dodgers were hit with a similar controversy when they caved to conservative backlash and uninvited the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence from their June 16 Pride Night. This drag group, which has raised millions for charity since its inception, is hugely popular and many organizations showed their support by threatening to pull out of the celebration. As a result, the Dodgers changed their minds again.

Kudos to the Dodgers organization for returning to their senses, but complaints from Bill Donohue and Marco Rubio shouldn’t have led to the Sisters’ removal in the first place. Drag artists being accused of grooming by Catholics is enough to induce irony poisoning, given recent reports that over 450 Catholic clergy sexually assaulted more than 2,000 children since 1950 in Illinois alone. The Catholic institution hid these rapists whenever possible, shifting them from diocese to diocese to escape punishment. We’ve seen this behavior from the Church many times. It’s not unique. The Southern Baptist Convention is equally culpable in masking child sexual abuse whenever possible. It’s behavior endemic to religious institutions across the globe. Less than 1% of the population is trans, but we’re supposed to believe they’re the biggest threat to child safety? Please.

Rewarding bullies never works. And let’s not forget these really are the worst people to surrender to. They’re deranged. They’re the people who ruin Thanksgiving and never take down their Trump banners and whose vehicles are held together with “Don’t Tread On Me” bumper stickers. They’re the people who “normal” folks avoid associating with at all cost. Moving Pride displays to the back of the store in a spasm of historical absurdity and cutting product lines from your store will not stop extremists from organizing conservative outrage against your corporation. All it does is shift the goalposts even further back until their actual target is in sight.


Don’t give them what they want.