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.
Damn @Target! I am LOVING the #takepride section! https://t.co/b27dSNub0H— Kristin Crites (@Kristin Crites)1494360101.0
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.
...and then THIS happened today in #Miami @outmiami @MiamiBeachPride @Target #Targetvolunteers #lgbt #diversity… https://t.co/pMEfyyRsLR— Bernard Boudreaux (@Bernard Boudreaux)1491794357.0
Customers let Target know just how much they appreciate the store having their back.
I am 100% here for @Target's #TakePride campaign 🌈— Kristen Zimmer (@Kristen Zimmer)1494286883.0
They're sending rainbow hearts — emojis worth a thousand words.
i love @Target #takepride ❤💛💚💙💜— Kasey Lovicott (@Kasey Lovicott)1494284401.0
Target employees love the message #TakePride sends too.
Some are "freaking out" over all the rainbows (and rightfully so).
Me when I found target's #takepride section at the Beaverton store. Had to snap my girlfriend https://t.co/YtOHki9PPK— Kat (@Kat)1494296394.0
And others are glad some folks won't show up because of the campaign.
Anyone boycotting Target because of their #takepride campaign: Thank you. I don't like shopping with assholes.— JustChristal (@JustChristal)1494352759.0
Target noticed all the fanfare online — and they are loving it.
@itsmarky5 We love putting up these fun, colorful displays. Thanks for noticing. 🌈 😍 #TakePride https://t.co/3JRmjM1VSF— Target (@Target)1494428339.0
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:
@DavidLevitz @Target I'm for #TakePride with @Target . One of the largest American corporations showing support for… https://t.co/v67FneRd4T— Nick Pateezy (@Nick Pateezy)1493935047.0
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.
Dear @Target Thanks for always being brave enough to stand at the side of hundreds of voices who can't speak out against hate. #TakePride— Julian Ortega (@Julian Ortega)1494337849.0