Illinois LGBTQ+ lawmakers speak out after Target withdraws Pride merchandise
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — Two Illinois lawmakers are speaking out against a major retailer after a controversial decision.

Last week, Target decided to remove certain items of its Pride merchandise and move some of their displays into the back of the store, citing several customers having violent interactions with their employees.

“Since introducing this year’s collection, we’ve experienced threats impacting our team members’ sense of safety and well-being while at work,” the company said in a statement last week. ”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.”

State Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) and State Sen. Mike Simmons (D-Chicago) issued a statement condemning the company’s decision.

“One of our country’s largest big-box retailers, Target, has removed certain Pride Month products from its shelves and moved others to the back of its stores citing threats, vandalism and unsafe workplace conditions due to confrontation and backlash from patrons. 

Target had an opportunity to stand in support with the LGBTQ+ community and denounce bigotry within its stores. By moving merchandise marketed to LGBTQ+ communities to the margins of their stores, it sends the wrong message to our communities and to those who are pushing hate and violence in oppressing the rights and visibility of the LGBTQ+ community.

We will not be moved to the back of the store. We will not be hidden in the shadows. We will not be intimidated by those who threaten violence or by those who cannot accept this simple truth — all humans are equal. To our LGBTQ+ communities – as we enter into the month of June, hold your head high, be proud of who you are, and know that we have your back.”

Rep. Kelly Cassidy and Sen. Mike Simmons

Cassidy and Simmons are the only openly LGBTQ+ legislators in the General Assembly.

“We have a responsibility to our entire community across the state to make sure that we are representing everyone, and that we are providing as much information and news and access to resources as we can,” Cassidy told WCIA.

Target has started selling its Pride collection in May. Pride Month is in June.

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