Target has come under fire due to a continued collaboration with what some parents consider a problematic organization.
The organization in question is the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network or GLSEN. Many consider GLSEN’s educational interventions extreme and indoctrinating and have called on Target to end its annual Pride Month collaboration with the group.
It Advocates Inclusive Education
GLSEN is an American educational organization whose mission is to create a “safe, supportive, and LGBTQ-inclusive K-12” learning environment for every student.
The national network includes educators, students, and local chapters. GLSEN centers its work around four main areas, which they share with schools. These areas are: Develop Supportive Educators, Comprehensive Policies, Support Student GSAs (Gay-Straight Alliances, a type of after-school club common in schools), and Inclusive Curriculum.
Parents: They’re Brainwashing Children
The latter has particularly upset parents. The organization provides educators with free resources and guides as to how to make every lesson more LGBTQ-inclusive.
Things like including gender-neutral pronouns in math word problems or LGBTQ-related content during history lessons are seen by some as a way of brainwashing children.
The Secrecy Surrounding Gender Transitions
However, Target has partnered with GLSEN for a decade now, so why this latest backlash?
The argument over whether educators should be forced to disclose student’s sexual orientation or gender identity to parents has propelled GLSEN to the forefront.
Many parents are accusing GLSEN of promoting secret gender transitions. A gender transition is the process of affirming gender identity; it may involve name changes, new pronouns, hormone therapy, or even surgery.
But where does the fear of parents’ remaining in the dark stem from? It may be due to GLSEN’s support of student privacy.
In Know Your Rights: A Guide for Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students, GLSEN tells students, “If you don’t want [the school] revealing your private information to others, tell them very clearly that you want your information kept private and that they shouldn’t out you to other students, parents, or anyone else without your consent”.
A Potentially Close Partnership
This aspect of GLSEN’s advocacy is being linked to Target, leading to the conclusion that the retailer is somehow promoting these secret transitions.
One Pride Collection item in particular, a tuck-friendly swimsuit that was allegedly for children, further fueled these concerns.
Parents were outraged at what they considered a blatant attempt at indoctrination. Though the claim was quickly debunked, as the swimsuit is only available in adult sizes, the damage was done.
GLSEN And Target Come Clean
While it’s true that GLSEN supports policies that make it safer for students in anti-LGBTQ households, the claims that the organization—and by extension, Target—are pushing students to transition are unfounded.
There is no evidence in any of GLSEN’s resources that suggests the organization is trying to convert students or make them transgender.
Despite this, outrage over the collaboration has led Target to reconsider its merchandising.
According to an anonymous insider, the company allegedly ordered stores to reorganize their Pride section within thirty-six hours. Items were moved from the front of the store to the back. The section was also reduced to a third of its original size.
LGBTQ+ Community Reacts
This shift led members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies to call out Target, demanding an explanation. In an attempt to salvage both sides of their customer base, Target released a statement clarifying the choice.
In the press release, the retailer explained its decision. “For more than a decade, Target has offered an assortment of products aimed at celebrating Pride Month,” the press release stated.
“Since introducing this year’s collection, we’ve experienced threats impacting our team members’ sense of safety and well-being while at work.
Given these volatile circumstances, we are making adjustments to our plans, including removing items that have been at the center of the most significant confrontational behavior.”
What Happens To Target And GLSEN?
How Target will navigate Pride Month and its collaborations, in the future remains to be seen.
The retailer wasn’t alone in experiencing anti-LGBTQ backlash for its choices this summer. Bud Light also suffered major losses after collaborating with a transgender influencer.
Whether or not Target continues to work with GLSEN, the organization will continue its mission to help LGBTQ+ youth.
This article was produced and syndicated by TPR Teaching. Source.
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Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.