Target has been at the center of controversy regarding LGBT rights for a couple of years now. The company garnered nationwide disgust from many customers after the company donated $150,000 to a Republican candidate that opposed gay marriage.
Just last month, Target started selling LGBT Pride t-shirts. All of the profits went to the Family Equality Council, a group that supports LGBT and equal marriage rights. The shirts, notably, were only sold online and not in-store. Target is about to step up its game again on the merchandising front. Attempting to appeal to the gay and lesbian community, the stores will now sell same-sex greeting cards.
The Minnesota Star Tribune reports that the new Target greeting card sections will be labeled “For two special women” and “For two special men” and will contain a variety of cards for same-sex couples on their wedding day, or on other momentous occasions.
It’s difficult to ascertain what the motivation behind these merchandising moves may be. Partially, the company is hoping to appeal to young professionals who commonly support LGBT rights. The cards, produced by Carlton Cards of American Greetings, are supposed to illustrate Target’s commitment to “diversity and inclusivity,” a Target spokeswoman stated. The move might still be tied to an attempt to move beyond the backlash that the donation to the right-wing group caused two years ago.
Target’s mixed interaction with LGBT rights and activism has not ended with fully stocked sections of t-shirts and greeting cards. The company also failed to stock R&B legend, Frank Ocean’s album this week.
The album is making waves across the music industry. Ocean also made waves in the music and R&B worlds after he announced that he was gay in the last month. Although Target maintains that the album was not denied shelf space based on the artist’s sexuality, many critics remain skeptical about the motives behind the company.
The Huffington Post quotes a statement from Target regarding this issue:
Target has a longstanding tradition of supporting music and artistry that reflects the diverse landscape of American culture. Our history of partnering with diverse artists includes recent partnerships with a variety of musicians, such as Ricky Martin, B.o.B., and Gloria Estefan.
While marketing professionals for Target have been concerned that reaching out to the LGBT community through merchandise could alienate customers who are resistant to marriage equality, the company looks to be standing with the concept of reaching out to a wider variety of people in the products they produce.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune points out that the move by the company has excited many LGBT rights supporters because it pushes American society to accept that these relationships exist and aren’t going anywhere.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia, Jay ReedLGBT, Target
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