Thursday, May 25, 2023

LGBTQ+ Advocacy Orgs Raise Alarm to Business Community on Coordinated Anti-LGBTQ+ Attacks; Call on Target to Lead

Recent pushback against businesses such as Anheuser-Busch and Target, blatantly organized by extremist groups, serves as a wake-up call for all businesses that support the LGBTQ+ community. The extremist playbook of attacks aimed at preventing LGBTQ+ inclusion and representation, silencing allies, and making the community invisible is all too familiar. These attacks fuel hate against LGBTQ+ individuals, as evidenced by the onslaught of over 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills restricting basic freedoms and seeking to erase LGBTQ+ people this year.

The harassment and extremist attacks targeting businesses standing in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community and upholding values of diversity, equity, and inclusion have forced companies like Target to step up and lead. It is essential for businesses to demonstrate unwavering support for LGBTQ+ employees, shareholders, customers, allies, and the broader community when their values of diversity, equity, and inclusion are put to the test.

Reaffirming and doubling down on these values is not only the right thing to do but also good for business. Research shows that when a brand publicly supports and demonstrates a commitment to expanding and protecting LGBTQ+ rights, Americans are twice as likely to buy or use the brand. Among Americans aged 18-34, the likelihood of wanting to work at a company that publicly supports LGBTQ+ rights increases by 5.5 times.

The support for LGBTQ+ communities extends beyond LGBTQ+ individuals themselves, with 70% of non-LGBTQ+ people believing that companies should publicly support and include the LGBTQ+ community through practices like hiring, advertising, and sponsorships (Accelerating Acceptance, 2023).

In this critical moment, Target, known for its consistent and genuine support of the LGBTQ+ community through outreach and policies, must champion equity and inclusion as it has for over a decade. The recognition Target received for its outstanding commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion from the Executive Leadership Council in 2022 must now be proven.

When it comes to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion, neutrality is not an option. HRC and other LGBTQ+ advocacy orgs call on Target to release a public statement within the next 24 hours reaffirming its commitment to the LGBTQ+ community, put Pride merchandise back on the sales floor and online in full, and ensure the safety of team members who are on the front lines.

They say that Target, alongside all businesses, can leverage the support of LGBTQ+ organizations to navigate this wave of hate and send a resounding message to extremists: fear will not prevail, just as it has failed in every other anti-LGBTQ+ campaign of the past.

Organizations calling on Target, as well as all businesses, to stand up against anti-LGBTQ2S+ extremism include Family Equality, GLAAD, GLSEN, The Human Rights Campaign, National Center For Lesbian Rights, National LGBTQ Task Force, and National Black Justice Coalition.