By Zack Jenkins
As more focus comes to the issue of gay marriage and as large corporations show support for LGBT rights, Target has announced the launch of a charitable line of T-shirts to support Gay Pride. Though the retail giant has had a somewhat rocky history with the gay community, they pledge to donate up to $120,000 of profits.
Ten T-shirts have been created by the Minnesota-based chain store as part of a 10-year partnership with the Family Equality Council, a Washington D.C. based LGBT advocacy group. Two of the shirt designs were reportedly designed by rock star Gwen Stefani.
Jennifer Chrisler, the council’s executive director, told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that Target, “is 100 percent committed to the goal of families being respected in all communities including parents who happen to be LGBT. This is just a continuation of that support.”
After gay activists called for a boycott of all Target stores two years ago, when Target donated $150,000 to help a Minnesota gubernatorial candidate that was publicly against gay marriage, Lady Gaga boycotted the chain by dropping an exclusive album distribution deal with the retailer for her “Born This Way” album launch.
Since then, Target has made steps to publicly embrace and support the gay community and LGBT customers. They have sponsored Pride festivities in Minneapolis, they score well on the Human Rights Campaign’s corporate equality index that ranks businesses on workplace policies for LGBT employees, and they have also donated over $500,000 to various other gay rights organizations according to their executive vice president and chief marketing officer, Michael Francis.
Though many critics are disappointed that the T-shirts will only be sold online, and not on shelves in Target retail stores, leaders do see this a step in the right direction for the company’s reparative image with LGBT customers. The T-shirts feature various messages such as “Love is Love,” on one of the Gwen Stefani designs, or a rainbow with the words “Wear It With Pride” and “Harmony.”
This online product launch follows Lady Gaga’s 2011 decision to re-partner with Target in the hopes of repairing relations with LGBT consumers and promote gay rights and social equality with the retailer.
T-shirts can be purchased online between May 20 and June 30, and all proceeds up to $120,000 will be donated to the Family Equality Council.