Casper’s Target store took down its LGBTQ pride apparel display around midday Thursday, joining stores across the U.S. South that did the same earlier this week.
Target stores in some states have moved their Pride Collections to the backs of their stores this week in response to national outrage over the collection's inclusion of children's toys and clothes.
Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom and others, in turn, criticized the big box retailer for caving to the pressure.
The store's national headquarters volleyed a response Wednesday, saying it shuffled the collection to the back of many stores because people have been threatening employees.
Target's trading shares have dropped by a collective $9 billion since the boycott started, the New York Post reports.
'Just Infuriates Me'
An employee at Casper’s Target said many of the items are now in the back of the store with women’s swim apparel.
“It’s disappointing,” said Casper resident Lisa Wertz Ehrlich in a Thursday interview with Cowboy State Daily. She said she reached out to LGBTQ advocacy group Casper Pride, and a group leader told her Casper is merely trying to protect its employees. “So, it’s not, you know, Target against them, or anything.”
Casper Pride did not immediately return an email requesting comment.
Ehrlich said she is straight but has a lot of gay friends and has been an advocate for LGBTQ issues since the mid-1980s.
“We think we get so far with this fight for equality for everybody, including the gay people and so on and so forth, and then now we’re taking significant steps backwards in this stuff, right?” she said. “It just … infuriates me.”
The Casper Police Department said it could not search its call logs specifically for threatening incidents at Target this month. A Casper Target’s human resources worker directed Cowboy State Daily to ask the corporate media office, which did not immediately return a voicemail Thursday.
Ehrlich said she hasn’t seen any “outright hostilities” in the community, but “the ugly comes out” on social media.
Cheyenne Still On Display
There have been zero threatening incidents reported at Target in Cheyenne, the Cheyenne Police Department told Cowboy State Daily.
Wyoming’s other Target store in Cheyenne still had its pride display as its front-entrance focal point as of Thursday afternoon. Employees told Cowboy State Daily they weren’t certain of its fate either way.
The controversy heated up this month on social media when many people, including non-partisan group Gays Against Groomers, called for a boycott on Target due to the Pride Collection’s emphasis on children. The group claimed Target is run by “groomers.”
Stuart Campbell of Pride Cheyenne countered, telling Cowboy State Daily that “trans kids have always existed,” but that some seeking to rile up the national social-political scene are using transgender kids to advance other anti-LGBTQ agendas.
Campbell said it’s unfortunate that the Casper Target has shunted its collection to the back of the store.
“Obviously, we think that visibility is important and it’s sad to see a corporation kind of bow down to national bullying, but we would obviously wish the situation were different,” he said.
Also, Toys And Books
The collections also contain toys, books, journals, candles and other merchandise, some for kids.
The Cheyenne and Casper collections have coloring books featuring gay couples kissing and snuggling, and Kidd Kenn dolls.
Also in the Pride Collection are adult swimsuits advertising “tuck friendly” construction for concealing male genitalia; and adult, child and baby-sized clothing.
Missed The Mark
State Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, speculated that Target could suffer as severely as Bud Light has after the beer brand partnered with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney, whom supporters call inspiring and detractors call sexist.
“What the hell are they thinking?” said Bouchard in a Wednesday interview with Cowboy State Daily. “Do straight people wear shirts saying, ‘I’m straight?’ Is that their main identity when they’re walking around? Why should anything of their sexual preference be worn on their sleeve anyway?”
Contact Clair McFarland at Clair@CowboyStateDaily.com