There once was a time when a man ran for Governor of Minnesota named Tom Emmer. Mr. Emmer was a man who believed in “traditional family values” and thus, was supported by MN Forward, a conservative group that helped conservative candidate. MN Forward donated to Mr. Emmer’s Gubernatorial campaign to help the potential governor execute his agenda, which included, denying GLBTQ citizens, equality. One of the most famous donors, however, to MN Forward’s support of Tom Emmer’s campaign, was mega retailer, Target. Target donated $150,000 to MN Forward to help get Emmer elected.
The response to this news did not sit well with GLBTQ people and allies of the community took a stand once this video hit the internet:
With that video, the Target Boycott by the Gay Community began. Target apologized and donated an equal sum to the Human Rights Campaign and all seemed to be ok…and then Target felt a bit more charitable.
Target donated close to $50k to none other than her:
…and if you don’t know, she REALLY doesn’t like the gays…aside from the one she’s married to.
After so many GLBT people had given Target so much money over the years, this felt like a slap in the face. I decided to join this Boycott and to not return until after Michelle Bachmann and Tom Emmer either lost their election or left office.
Well, Emmer lost but Bachmann won and in my mind, the boycott was still on. Target directly contributed to this victory and who knew what else they might spend their money on, all I knew, they could donate to the KKK for all I cared, but it wouldn’t be my money they would be donating.
As the years went on without Target and those who boycotted found other places to shop, it’s how I got an Amazon.com addiction (I can quit anytime!). Anyways a couple years after the controversy, something intriguing started to happen. Target started to get more Pride focused, starting putting an emphasis on their gay customers wants and need. They released fun Pride shirts during June.
A year later they began running ads that featured same sex couples kissing and inviting them to do their registry at Target. This change didn’t come cause it was forced upon them, it happened a couple of years after they were in hot water.
Lastly, in 2014 Target came out publicly, declaring their support for same sex marriage, an act that was met with Boycott from the National Organization for Marriage.
Real change had happened.
This was so much more than just change though, it was an evolution. It was incredible to see. More and more gays went back but some still held true to their Boycott…until today. Today the new Congress is sworn in and Michelle Bachmann is gone. Leaving behind a legacy as the crazy Tea Partier that was investigated for questionable ethics.
Now I don’t want this to read that if you didn’t boycott Target you’re a bad gay or if you did boycott Target for any amount time you’re a better gay. That isn’t what this is about. The point of all this is what this boycott has meant. Boycotting Target was above all things about sending a message, a message that eventually broke through. It’s a lesson about how when the GLBTQ community mobilizes together they can make a message speak volumes and make change. Boycotts like this, or against Chik-fil-A, might not be a full stop measure, but they can be a wonderful tool to use while building the road to equality that we are still paving.
Target, it is a pleasure to be reacquainted with you, I just love how colorful you’ve gotten.