Blog – Cheryl Duncan-Hein on Target and Pride

Corporations have faced backlash for LGBTQ+ support during Pride month and other times. Some held their ground; others fumbled. North Face and Bud Light were both criticized for their support of the LGBTQ+ community; for more information see the article by clicking here.  I don’t drink beer and I rarely purchase North Face products. But I do shop at Target, and when Target was reported to have pulled their Pride merchandise off the shelves following pushback from some community members, my conscience was activated, and this letter to Target CEO, Brian Cornell, is my response. 

Dear Mr. Cornell,

I have shopped regularly at Target for many years as do my family members. I like shopping at Target; I can accomplish multiple errands making just one stop at my local Target, which carries a vast variety of items. I view the merchandise to be of quality.

I understand that leadership at Target was in an awkward position recently weighing both the safety and comfort of employees and secondly valuing our LGBTQ+ Americans. Likely, there was also consideration of the impact on profits too as some community members chose to focus on Target store leaders and employees out of a rejection of our LGBTQ+ friends, family, and neighbors.

My understanding is that Target made the decision to give in to the threats by those who reject LGBTQ+ Americans by withdrawing from the shelves the Pride merchandise. I can only try to imagine how this decision feels to Americans who identify as LGBTQ+

It was deplorable for some community members to use threats against one group (i.e.Target employees) to harm another group.

I want to shop at Target, but I cannot do this in good conscience with the withdrawal from the shelves of Target’s Pride merchandise. Not when I have family members and friends who are gay; not when we don’t know who the next group of rejected individuals will be for those who made threats against LGBTQ+ community members through Target. Will it be Asians? Will it be Jews?

I urge Target to publicly apologize to our LGBTQ+ community members and develop a plan to carry Pride merchandise next June.

I enclose the following poem from Martin Neimollar for your consideration….

First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me

Cheryl Dunican-Hein

Maple Shade, NJ

Living on Land of the Leni Lenape