The Divisive Cultural Battlefield For Supporting The LGBTQ+ Community
I am sure by now you have seen the news of radical ideologues threatening businesses like Bud Light and Target for minor support for the LGBTQ+ community. More and more companies seem to be losing their freedom to sell profitable products to a community that wants to buy them. This aggressive culture war could not only restrict a company’s choices on whom they can serve but also pose a clear and present threat of violence to employees and customers.
The Current Situation
Bud Light made waves when they sent a commemorative can featuring trans-TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney and did a paid advertisement for her Instagram fans for March Madness. Likewise, Target was selling LGBTQ+ Pride-themed merchandise as they have done for years. Other companies that have been targeted for freely selling LGBTQ+ Pride-themed merchandise that was driven by market demand and profit are Kohls and North Face.
The Backlash: Threats of Violence
The backlash against companies that are selling LGBTQ+ products is unyielding and violent. Bud Light faced bomb threats at factories and “canceled all planned appearances of the iconic Clydesdale horses, citing threats to its employees.” Similarly, Target has received threats of violence to employees and at least nine bomb threats across Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Utah. Other companies have faced similar hostility for doing nothing more than selling merchandise that offends the feelings of conservative fundamentalists.
Unfortunately, companies like Target are giving into the hysteria and threats of violence. They have begun to recall pride merchandise, stating they have “experienced threats impacting our team members’ sense of safety and well-being while at work.”
Over 100 leading LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations and allies called on Target and the business community to reject coordinated, extremist anti-LGBTQ+ attacks. Businesses should not back down to the attacks. In fact, research shows “that if a brand publicly supports and demonstrates a commitment to expanding and protecting LGBTQ+ rights, Americans are 2x more likely to buy or use the brand.”
Despite the pushback, companies should maintain their commitment to diversity and inclusivity and defend their freedom to market and sell products that appeal to LGBTQ+ communities. That means hiring more security to protect team members and releasing public statements affirming their commitment to LGBTQ+ customers and staff.
If companies stand firm in the face of these attacks, the extremists will give up and move on to another reactionary issue. The stakes are too high to allow a few extremists to dictate the landscape of American business.
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