On Tuesday, I did something that I have not done for a long while: I stepped into a Walmart.
For as long as I can remember, my go-to retail establishment for groceries, clothing, and various other essentials has been Target. Last year, during Pride month, I was elated to see a Pride department with merchandise for sale at the front of the store. I bought a few towels and some clothes, including a shirt I plan to wear to Pride this year.
This year, I was dismayed to read that anti-trans bigots have taken a “bullseye” to Target stores, including smashing products and damaging signage. I was even more disheartened to see that Target’s leadership has let the terrorists win by pulling “some” Pride merchandise from shelves and relocating the rest to the back of the store, showing them a clear sign that violence is the answer. This is a bold face rewarding of hate, embracing the worst impulses of society and giving them comfort.
Furthermore, despite these threats being made against specific store locations, this move of erasing Pride merchandise has been done at all Target stores nationwide and on their Web storefront as well.
To add insult to injury, the explanation given was that they are concerned for the “safety” of the employees. Of course, everyone has an unalienable right to a safe workplace, but the implications are disturbing.
Why is a multi-billion-dollar enterprise not using their own security team – one of the most notorious asset protection organisations in the American retail industry – to protect their workers from angry Karens throwing merchandise around? Why weren’t the police involved? Why weren’t these threats of violence responded to with legal action, including prosecution of trespassing and vandalism?
A further-reaching implication is this means that, by their own admission, their stores are not safe for trans people. If the employees are being attacked for the simple fact they sell Pride merchandise, I cannot imagine the reactions of these same people if they see me wearing a “Trans Rights are Human Rights” shirt.
Their caving to this form of pressure is disturbing on its own, but in the culture that we live in, safety is paramount. Target seem to think that their stores across the nation are no longer safe spaces for trans people. It is for these reasons that I am considering no longer shopping at Target in the future.