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Target's 'month to forget' continues: the company has donated millions of dollars to an NGO promoting transgender treatments for children without parental consent

In addition to the barrage of criticism on social networks, the stock market crash and bomb threats, Target has added yet another scandal since the release of its controversial "Pride" collection.

Photograph of a Target store as seen from the outside.

(Wikimedia Commons)

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Instead of LGBTQ Pride Month being a month to remember, it has become ’a month to forget’ for Target. The retailer kicked off June by launching a “Pride” collection to celebrate - or take advantage of - the occasion. It didn’t go as planned: it was criticized for including baby clothes and women’s swimsuits with “extra crotch room,” which helped hide male private parts. The latter, according to critics, came in sizes accessible to minors.

Days after the company’s CEO, Brian Cornell, publicly defended the collection, one of his employees reported that they had been told to move the pro-LGBTQ merchandise to a smaller section. In just 36 hours, as secretly ordered on an “emergency” call, the products were to be moved from the front to the back of the store. Then, in a brief public statement, the company announced that to protect the safety of its team members, it would remove some products.

After that, the complaints became even more intense because some who had initially defended the collection joined the campaign rejecting Target. The company even reported receiving bomb threats to at least five of its locations, according to an email obtained by Cleveland19, for having “turned their back on the LGBTQ community.”

The damages to the company’s image have been matched by economic losses in the billions. According to some estimates, Target has lost more than $9 billion since the scandal began. After reaching a yearly low of $138.15 on Thursday, it closed Friday at $139.10 per share.

The latest controversy

With six days to go before this ‘month to forget’ for the company finally ends, a new revelation worsened the situation: Target is funding an organization that encourages minors to make gender transitions without their parent’s knowledge. To date, the retailer has donated $2.1 million to the institution, according to Fox News.

“GLSEN leads the movement in creating affirming and anti-racist spaces for LGBTQIA+ students,” Target published according to Fox News, and the retailer also clarified that it has been collaborating with the pro-trans NGO for more than ten years and will continue to do so.

According to the nonprofit’s website, it is dedicated to promoting and “championing LGBTQ issues in K-12 education since 1990.” As part of these efforts, it published a guide to developing an “inclusive and affirming curriculum for all students.”

Among other recommendations on their website, they state that districts and schools should not disclose information about a student’s sexual identification, not even to parents:

School staff should not disclose any information that may reveal a student’s transgender status to others, including parents or guardians and other school staff, unless legally required to do so or unless the student has authorized such disclosure.

GLSEN responds

We are seeing the far right harass companies in an attempt to erase the LGBTQ+ community,” GLSEN commented in a press release Saturday. “We cannot let a violent, angry minority hold our democracy, our school system, or our community hostage.”

As GLSEN and LGBTQ+ people continue to face attacks, we’re committed to our mission and to the students that rely on us, and we’ll continue to fight to ensure that every single student can go to school free from fear.