22 Comments
May 24, 2023·edited May 24, 2023Liked by Erin Reed

Shameful, but unsurprising. Corporations only support us to profit off us. This is why we should all buy pride gear from queer owned companies, and support queer content creators!! The internet is where we can support each other and funnel our money around the patriarchal corporate machine.

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Are there particular queer owned companies that you could recommend? ❤️

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Origami Customs is a good one.

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Honestly when it comes to buying things I particularly want from a queer-owned company and I have time to buy online, I usually just ask ChatGPT. It's hard to always find somewhere queer-owned for products, but I would think that wouldn't be the case for pride gear.

In terms of queer media, hyperpop is where it's at for music if you like super stimulating tunes (I make hyperpop myself and work under a queer-owned hyperpop label). Also Alice Gas and Tracey Brakes have had lyrics and themes I relate to a lot as a transfem. Lately I've gotten into animation, and I'm becoming a huge fan of Vivienne Medrano. Her show "Hazbin Hotel" is tipping the media traffic scales away from the industry and into the hands of creators, and the pilot has a ton of queer themes.

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May 24, 2023Liked by Erin Reed

Hitler had his brownshirts. Mussolini his blackshirts. These fascist terrorists are cut from the same cloth. This is classic fascist thuggery. Violence and violent rhetoric grows every Their clear intent is to "Make America like Florida". We need to make every effort to shine a light on this.

It is not a surprise for Anheuser Busch and Target to fold in the face of violence. Disappointing but not surprising. Make no mistake: January 6 was not a one off effort to overthrow our democracy. Efforts are active and ongoing. It is not hyperbole when they say they want to eradicate transgenderism. They really are in a war. Alarms need to sound on every platform available.

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The analogues are definitely there.

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May 24, 2023Liked by Erin Reed

Well said. Corporate pride is trash. I don’t remember who it was that brought this up (honestly, it may have been you, Erin), but I recall someone making a really good point about how brands co-opting pride symbols also suggests to laypeople that we have systemic power that we absolutely don’t. A bank definitely does not give a shit about trans people, but a bank with pride flags and logos signals trans rights as being part of the “establishment”. That helps nobody. Especially if that same corporation folds the second they face any resistance.

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My partner Zooey talks about it a lot.

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Target has always supported local LGBTQ causes and concerns and have actively recruited members of the community for positions within the company. Being embraced as a valid consumer and delivering products that are valuable to us, inspires acceptance and normalizes us. In many ways, I believe that "pridewashing" is a good thing. Until this happens.

This type of behavior on the part of the violent anti-LGBT community should NEVER be accepted. The answer is not to remove the product, but to stand in opposition to hatred - not cave to it. I am disappointed.

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If you are a visible market, you probably count more in this crazy corporate run society. So it's true that they're not reliable and also true that the money spent creates a certain political advantage.

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May 24, 2023·edited May 24, 2023

“We’re gonna be exposing Target… We are going to be going on hunting expeditions soon. Hunting LGBTQ+ supporters across Arizona and Phoenix.”

JFC. Of course, they'll insist that the context means simply "boycotting companies" but anyone paying attention knows perfectly fucking well how much they'd like to hunt us.

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May 24, 2023Liked by Erin Reed

Just proving what the enthusiastic corporate pride displays were all along - a capitalistic money grab.

Thanks, Erin, for your thoughtful ideas about pride going forward

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May 25, 2023·edited May 25, 2023

It’s clear to me that most of corporate america are at best tolerable frenemies who are almost exclusively motivated by profit - there are exceptions and they are few and far between.

I think it’s also clear that driving a wedge between the LGBTQ community and corporate america is a goal in the GOP playbook - to try to erode worker protections for example - and that we should acknowledge that as a tactic.

Having to rely on flawed “allies” in this fight is hard to accept - and there are so many better ones out there - but my hope is so long as supporting LGBTQ folks means attracting great employees and increasing profits, when compared with siding with the bigots, corporate donors will align slightly more with us than with them, which is better than the alternative.

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I remember Pride in the 90s, as an activist with ACT-UP and Queer Nation. Pride was as much protest as celebration. https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2022/06/pride-pictures-reminder-pride-started-protest/ Fuck Rainbow capitalism. Things like the DC Dyke March are much more the true spirit of Pride. And with the threat from the Fash like the Proud Boys and Patriot Front targeting Pride celebrations, one wonders how safe the police being there will make us...

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Absolutely appalling. I'm heading over to my local Target (where my gay daughter used to work) and checking out whether they have preemptively done the same. Most of our local fascists live upcountry and shop at Wal-Mart when they come into town.

Thanks Erin for keeping us (community and allies) informed. Have been reading you for a while, but just subscribed.

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I'm back. The whole Pride kiosk is intact at the front of my local Target. Looks fully stocked, like they just placed it. 👍

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Not my Target in Austin TX. Hardly anything was on display vs. a year ago when it had lots of stuff that I bought.

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I wanted to believe in the Bud Light thing. But they disappointed me. They had a golden opportunity to stand for something, and effectively backed down instead. I had bought Budweiser, a beer I really don't even like anymore, to show some appreciation, and then they did as you say in the article. It's just so strange to me, that we have to have this cultural fight, when the evidence is so clear that transgender identity is real.

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I'm not so naïve to think that emails make any tangible difference, but I hope people will nonetheless express their concerns to Target. Here is a copy of the complaint I just sent. If you're so inclined, please also feel free to adapt and send:

VIA EMAIL: CorporateResponsibility@target.com

To Whom It May Concern:

While I have always been wary of so-called Rainbow Capitalism—the corporate peddling of otherwise ordinary items carelessly festooned with several dozen rainbows and thoughtless buzzwords—I must admit that I had recently come to accept that the ends perhaps justified the means. Even though the pride displays so prominently and strategically placed throughout Target’s stores were motivated solely by money, I recognized that they gave many individuals – especially those living in more conservative areas – a voice. It gave them hope. And, ultimately, it left people, me included, feeling seen, and heard.

I am, therefore, writing to thank Target for finally dropping the pretense that it ever cared about the community it hereto claimed to support.

Perhaps the only thing more offensive than Target’s shallow and transparent commercial exploitation of a group it claimed to care about is its subsequent and immediate capitulation to those who, quite literally, are actively attempting to erase that group from existence. And not only is Target’s sudden renouncement or its alleged ideals incredibly offensive. It is also irredeemably harmful. By pandering to fascist, homophobic, and transphobic views, Target has sent a clear message to those who tout those ideologies on a daily basis. A message that their boycotts work. A message that purports to lend credence to their baseless yet fervent assertions. A message that will ultimately only embolden those opinions in a time where viewpoints are already becoming more extreme and irrevocably entrenched.

Even more concerning is the devastating message it also sends to the LGBTQIA+ community at large: simply put, that LGBTQIA+ individuals are not worth protecting. Nor could that message have come at a worse time – not only are we on the cusp of pride month, but as Target’s board and CEO are doubtless aware, the LGBTQIA+ community has recently been confronted with an unprecedented and still growing number of attacks, both figurative and physical.

Of course, many of us are also rightfully concerned not only about attacks on the LGBTQIA+ community. We are, of course, also concerned about the potential for attacks on Target’s employees. I believe we all recognize their right to work in a safe environment without feeling threatened. The irony, of course, is that LGBTQIA+ plus individuals come under similar types of threats every day simply for daring to exist. And those threats that will now only increase as more and more supposed allies, like Target, vocally and prominently withdraw their support. The fact remains that if Target actually cared, it could have found better ways to protect its employees - and could have done so using methods that didn’t also involve casually (and callously) throwing the LGBTQIA+ community to the wolves.

Ironically, Target has always told me to "expect more." However, in the current pollical and social climate, I am here to tell Target and its board – whether they care to hear it or not – that we don't need "more." What we need—and what, in Target’s own words, we “expect”—is for companies like Target to stand by us with actions instead of words. To stand for justice instead of profit. And, ultimately, to stand on the side of free speech and human rights. And until we can, at least, expect that most basic of actions, I shall not be returning to Target.

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"if corporate advocacy consists merely of rainbows that disappear at the first gust of fascist wind, it amounts to net harm. That support was never truly there."

Well said. The comparison of current organized hatred in this country, and other places, to street thugs in Europe in the 1930's and 40's is chilling but meaningful. Todays right-wing fascist media is the rocket fuel that spreads and reinforces it.

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The reality is that most major corporations do the things they do to grow their bottom line. If it aligns with a particular cause that’s to their benefit, not the cause (other than incidentally). So as much as I appreciate the “support” I also realize that it is ephemeral at best given corporations do what they do to make money . . . all else is incidental.

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