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Target Encourages Employees to Participate In 'Pride Week' Activities

Activities Include 'Queer Bingo & Board Games,' A Seminar On 'How To Be A Better Ally,' Along With A 'Pride+ Sports Panel'

Retail giant Target has released an internal email encouraging employees to participate in “Pride Week” events hosted by the company.

“In honor of Pride Week, join team members across the company for a variety of events to connect and build community virtually and at Minneapolis HQ,” the email reads.

Target’s email informs employees of activities throughout the week, including “Queer Bingo & Board Games,” a Pride+ Culture Club seminar on “How to be a Better Ally,” along with a “Pride+ Pro Sports Panel.”

The email also informs employees of a discussion about mental health hosted by the Disability and Mental Health Business Council.

“This is a safe space to talk about anything that’s been on your mind lately,” the email states.

Target’s shares have plunged 20 percent since mid-May, totaling $15 billion in market devaluation following backlash over the retail giant’s 2023 Pride collection, per the New York Post.

The Pride collection features “tuck-friendly” swimwear for those who identify as transgender women, and also features Pride-themed onesies and children’s clothing, as well as apparel featuring phrases like “Queer! Queer! Queer! Queer!” and “Trans People Will Always Exist!” 

“I think those are just good business decisions, and it’s the right thing for society, and it’s the great thing for our brand,” Target CEO Brian Cornell said during a recent appearance on Fortune’s “Leadership Next” podcast, per The Post. “The things we’ve done from a DE&I [diversity, equity, and inclusion] standpoint, it’s adding value.”

He added: “It’s helping us drive sales, it’s building greater engagement with both our teams and our guests, and those are just the right things for our business today.”

In late May, Target released an eight-slide PDF document titled “PRIDE Support Deck,” warning of increased threats of violence following customers boycotting the company over Pride merchandise.

“As political and social tensions rise ahead of the 2024 presidential election, Target will face a continued increase of physical security threats related to our commitments on continuous social issues including support of the LGBTQIA+ community and Pride Month,” reads the internal memo obtained by Timcast News.

The memo warned online campaigns and boycotts resulting from the company’s Pride merchandise have the potential to “motivate extremists to violence.”

“Recent extremist focuses are: ‘sexualization’ of children, gender issues, and drag performances,” the memo continues. “Guests may express their opposition to Target’s support of the LGBTQIA+ community in general or to specific Pride merchandise through disruptive incidents in our stores or by making threats of violence.”

“Our Pride merchandise may spark disagreements among team members or prompt concerns that Target’s values don’t align with their own,” the memo continues, saying physical security risks will be highest for employees “within the LGBTQIA+ community.”

“We have not seen any indicators yet in 2023 that raise concerns of a unique risk to Target,” the memo concludes. “Our retail competitors have seen similar positions supporting the LGBTQIA+ community and Pride specific merchandise assortments.”

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