Right-wing group targets Target for offering Pride-themed merchandise | LGBTQ+ rights

LGBTQ+ rights

The retailer removed some clothes the CPAC group called “demonic paraphernalia” amid death threats against the designer

The right-wing Conservative Political Action Coalition (CPAC) has attacked US retailer Target over items in its Pride collection, the latest in a wave of conservative backlash against LGBTQ communities and businesses promoting their civil rights.

The political group issued a statement Thursday accusing the retailer of “promoting demonic paraphernalia” included in its LGBTQ+ collection.

“CPAC Chairman Matt Schlapp has sent a letter to Target Corporation Chairman and CEO Brian Cornell and its board members regarding the distressing news that they have collaborated with a satanic designer in promoting demonic paraphernalia in their stores,” the CPAC said. -declaration.

“Like Bud Light, Target has abandoned its customer base – many who are religious and find these actions by Target simply unacceptable,” the statement read, referring to the anti-trans backlash Bud Light received for briefly collaborating with a trans influencer. .

CPAC’s anger at Target comes after the retailer sold designs from British brand Abprallen, which featured skulls and pentagrams in pastels. The brand is led by trans designer Erik Carnell, who said he received hundreds of death threats after Target launched his clothing.

“I have had many death threats. I’ve had a lot of threats of gun violence,” Carnell told the Daily Dot, adding that he had “lost count” of the number of threats he had received after 500.

Target has reportedly removed Abprallen clothing and will remove other Pride merchandise from its stores, following backlash from a minority of its customers and threats against Target employees.

Target hasn’t said which items it will remove specifically. But “pleat-friendly” women’s swimsuits — swimsuits that allow some transgender women to hide their genitals — also received backlash from conservatives online.

“Since the introduction of this year’s collection, we have faced threats that affect our team members’ sense of safety and well-being at work,” Target said in a statement Tuesday.

“Given these unstable conditions, we are adjusting our plans, including removing items that were central to the most significant confrontation behavior.”

Target’s decision to remove some of its Pride merchandise has drawn criticism from prominent designers and public figures, including California Governor Gavin Newsom, who accuse the company of pandering to anti-LGBTQ+ views .

However, Carnell posted a statement on the Etsy store for Abprallen saying there had been a rush of orders following the attacks and that demand was so high that the company had temporarily stopped taking new orders.

“Your support during this extremely difficult time means more than I can express,” Carnell said on the Etsy page.

The latest news from CPAC comes as conservative politicians in the US pass a slew of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, many of which focus on transgender rights. Such laws affect almost every aspect of public life, including education and health care.

According to data from the Human Rights Campaign, a US LGBTQ+ advocacy group, more than 540 anti-LGBTQ+ laws will be passed in US states by 2023. Forty-five such bills have been passed, several of which focus on gender-affirming health care for minors.

Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen signed a bill Monday banning gender-affirming care for people under the age of 19. Nebraska now joins at least 19 other states that have similar restrictions on access to healthcare for transgender people.

“The governor’s decision to sign these sweeping restrictions into law reflects utter disregard for the liberty, health and well-being of the citizens of Nebraska,” said Mindy Rush Chipman, head of the American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska. , to Associated Press. “Much as we’ve seen in other states, these bans will result in significant harm, with already vulnerable communities most harmed.”

Anti-LGBTQ legislation also focuses on the right of transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice. Last month, the Kansas legislature overruled a veto from the state’s Democratic governor to pass one of its toughest bathroom laws.

At least eight other states have passed similar laws restricting transgender toilet use.

Other anti-LGBTQ+ laws target education, including materials taught in classrooms and the ability for transgender students to participate in activities such as school sports.

Legislation such as Florida’s “don’t say gay” law has resulted in book bans across the country. The law allows people to challenge material that “depicts or describes sexual conduct” and requires prior parental consent for challenged material.

Last month, House Republicans passed a bill banning trans girls and women from participating in sports teams at schools that receive public funding, joining several states that have passed similar bans under the guise of protecting women’s sports.

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