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Amid backlash, Target still launched its annual LGBTQ pride line. Hell yeah.

You might see a lot of rainbows during your next trip to Target.

For the fifth year in a row, many Target shoppers will find their local store covered in rainbows.

It's all part of the retail giant's annual #TakePride campaign celebrating the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.

The launch, which comes ahead of LGBT Pride Month in June, features a variety of rainbow-themed apparel and merchandise, including shirts, hats, swimsuits, and beach towels. The products will be found in over 150 of Target's U.S. stores and online, according to a company spokesperson.


Target has repeatedly been threatened with boycotts from anti-gay and anti-transgender groups over its support for the LGBTQ community in recent years.

In 2014, the retailer publicly endorsed marriage equality. The following year, it announced it was ending gender-based signs in certain areas of its stores — like the toy aisles and entertainment sections — that needlessly assigned genders to products.

Last spring (after taking some heat for dropping the ball), Target launched a new kids home line with more gender-neutral items — a move, the company said, that helps parents shop for their kids while also helping squash gender norms. And Target explicitly stood on the side of transgender rights when it came to bathroom access in its stores, which ruffled enough feathers to spark a national boycott.

This year's #TakePride campaign is especially notable in the face of that backlash.

"We’re making our message loud and clear: Target proudly stands with the LGBT community," Laysha Ward, the company's executive vice president and chief corporate social responsibility officer, said on the #TakePride web page.

Customers let Target know just how much they appreciate the store having their back.

They're sending rainbow hearts — emojis worth a thousand words.

Target employees love the message #TakePride sends too.

Some are "freaking out" over all the rainbows (and rightfully so).

And others are glad some folks won't show up because of the campaign.

Target noticed all the fanfare online — and they are loving it.

While Target deserves credit for standing up for LGBTQ issues, it's not an entirely selfless move, of course.

As the tide has turned in favor of LGBTQ rights, many corporations have jumped on the bandwagon, highlighting same-sex couples in their ad campaigns and making public statements in favor of equality, hoping their advocacy draws positive attention from customers, boosting their bottom lines. It's commodifying a social cause, in a certain sense.

That point was also debated by some LGBTQ advocates on Twitter:

Still, it's commendable when companies stay on the right side of history, particularly when it's not the easiest thing to do.

And for that, Target, once again, hits the bull's-eye.

Photo: Jason DeCrow for United Nations Foundation

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