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Can Gays (And Those That Love Them) Really Boycott Target And Should We Even Try?

Updated on August 6, 2010


Last week I came across a video that was posted on YouTube (thanks to The video features the mother of a gay son who makes purchases at Target, returns them telling the manager of the store exactly why and explains to us what it means to be a lone voice in opposition when corporations do wrong doing. The reason for her act was promoted due to the fact that the Target Corporation gave $150,000 to a Minnesota gubernatorial candidate who has connections to anti-gay groups. Watching the video and listening to this articulate mother and grandmother pulled at my heart strings and I silently joined her protest and haven’t been to Target to shop since (watch the video here but I started wondering if this is the best approach and if the message will be heard and frankly if I can live without Target! Can gays (and those that love them) really boycott Target and should we even try? – Don’t Get Me Started!

“What’s important in life is people. I love the people in my life. I love them more than anything I can buy at this store.” This is the quote from the mother and grandmother that got me the most. When you think of anyone in your life, aren’t they more important than a cheap messenger bag or not having to be seen in Walmart? Absolutely. And while it seems so simple in her delivery, I think it speaks volumes about us and just how much we’re willing to be inconvenienced in this day and age.

I say this all the time but I look back at wars like World War I and II where the entire country banded together, making sacrifices of rationing certain foods, turning in metals to make aircrafts and weapons and I look at today where unless you know someone allowed to serve in the military, your life is not affected one bit. Maybe the modern wars wouldn’t go on so long if we all were a little more inconvenienced more than just having to watch uncomfortable scenes and statistics of deaths on our televisions (of course I think many just change the channel). So too I think is the way of the modern way of civil protest. How many of you reading this right now had a clue about this issue? I didn’t. Had I not been looking at gayagenda (a gay news reporting site) I wouldn’t know about it at all.

I could make the argument that I don’t live in Minnesota (where the Target headquarters is located) so really, what is boycotting Target in Vegas going to do to them? Will it stop the executives at Target who rely heavily on gay designers, workers and I’m sure even executives to continue to keep Target on target with all consumers as a hip, trendy and affordable place to shop from supporting politicians who support anti-gay sentiment in the future? Probably not but the question isn’t whether or not it WILL affect them, it’s whether or not I’m willing to be complacent and apathetic therefore affecting my own psyche.

I don’t shop at Target every week but as the weekend went on I couldn’t help but think of all the things I wanted to purchase there. Why? What sort of strange mental illness causes you to start wanting something as soon as Jiminy Cricket playing your conscience on your shoulder tells you that you shouldn’t? It took mere moments for me to rationalize that by me not spending money at Target it might affect shifts and staffing causing the (what I can only assume is partially a gay staff) at my local Target  to lose money and not be able to pay their rent. So was I really hurting the fat cats at the corporate office or was I hurting my fellow gays right here by not shopping there? I don’t think I spent more than $100 at Target last month so why all of a sudden did I want to get in bed with the “bad boy?” Certainly Target can’t be seen as some sort of forbidden fruit? (Okay, bad choice of words considering the subject matter.) And is my $100 going to change who corporate execs spend the company money on when supporting candidates and causes?

In a day and age where it’s easier to do what feels right for you instead of what’s right to do period I find myself knowing in the back of my head that at some point I’ll buy something at Target but for now, I won’t. Everyone of us has to make this call for ourselves but if you feel anything from watching this video or from this blog, I would hope that at the very least you’ll let Target know how off target they are – here is a link to the contact page and my email that I sent.

I was shocked to learn that a company that prides itself on diversity and community like Target would donate $150,000 to the campaign of Tom Emmer who has connections to anti-gay groups.

Where exactly would Target be without the gay designers and employees who have made Target what it is today?

I would hope that in the future you would donate money to candidates who are in sync with what the Target marketing campaigns try to make us believe about your corporation.


No Longer A Target Shopper!

Here’s the response from Target:

Dear Target Guest,

Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts about Target’s political contributions and the voting records of certain candidates and elected officials.

Many of our guests make Target a part of their life and that’s why we appreciate hearing your comments.

Although I can’t provide the personalized reply I know you’d like to receive, I encourage you to visit our Corporate web site, to find statements and information about Target’s Civic activity and political contributions. Here’s the link:

I understand the disappointment and frustration that you’ve shared with me, so I’ll be sure to share your comments with our executives.



Target Guest Relations

Can gays (and those that love them) really boycott Target and should we even try? – Don’t Get Me Started!

Read More Scott @


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    • Daffy Duck profile image

      Daffy Duck 6 years ago from Cornelius, Oregon

      I almost never went to Targe, but now I never will again.

      It doesn't matter if they're affected by my boycot, I will be a positive way. Taking a stand is important, even if it seems that your contribution is unimportant.

      I also don't shop at Walmart for how they treat their employees.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 7 years ago from Upstate New York

      I guess I'm not shopping at Target anymore, either. I'm glad to be aware of that right-winger donation. I'm very, very against the anti-gay stance some politicos take just to get votes. They target a minority with hate messages, trying to zero in on the right-wing vote. This, needless to say, sucks!

    • somelikeitscott profile image

      somelikeitscott 7 years ago from Las Vegas

      LT - I am with you!

    • ltfawkes profile image

      ltfawkes 7 years ago from NE Ohio

      I didn't know about this, either, and I'm glad you've written about it. The response from Target made me even madder.

      When consumers band together to make their opinions known, corps. are forced to change, but there's been an almost total lack of consumer activism in recent years, and it's been for the very reason you cited: we don't boycott BP because BP stations are locally-owned and we're only hurting little guys. We shouldn't boycott our local Target store because we'll only hurt local people who work there, etc. etc. There's always a reason why we shouldn't use the power of our wallets.

      I remember a decade or so ago when there was a very strong Buy America movement, and when people started looking for the Made in USA label on things, they had some effect for a while, until the steam went out of the movement.

      I'm not shopping at Target any more. There are plenty of other retailers that will be happy to have my money. If losing my business hurts my local Target store (not likely . . .) they can take it up with their corporate headquarters.


    • somelikeitscott profile image

      somelikeitscott 7 years ago from Las Vegas

      gqgirl - I feel you

      Mike - thus this hub, I'm with you on this one.

    • profile image

      Words by Mike 7 years ago

      Scott, I have an activist friend that brings me his, Cause of the week, as I call it on a regular basis.(Love him dearly) I do not consider myself an activist, negative or not, not sure. I just feel the best contribution I can do is to be the best example I can be. Hoping that in my little part of the world I will make people think twice about the coveted stereotype against our community. This in my way of thinking is my contribution to our community.

      That being said, I applaud those that take up the cause responsibly. I think that positive activism is awesome and appropriate. I just think that it should be left to those that feel it is their purpose. Opposed to those like myself, or the innocently mislead that go off half cocked while uneducated to the true cause. So, I guess in all I am torn on the way to support in the cause for our community. Boycotts are so difficult when so few are really willing to forgo the ease of availability in order to make a statement.

      Very good hub, Thought provoking to say the least. (Hence the length of my reply) Just my two cents on the topic.

    • gqgirl profile image

      Sabrae 7 years ago from Georgia

      I hate the fact that big corporations are funding the moronical bastards. Let people live as they want to live, marry whom they want to marry and let well enough be. I have never been hurt by a gay person wanting to get married, and I'm sure no one else in this country has either. They don't but their noses into the hetro's sky rocketing divorce rates, yet our government feels the need to but a silent touch on gays wanting to marry in this country. A country that is supposed to be a land of the free? What freedom is there if you can't marry the person that you want, be it man or woman? Ugh don't get me started!

    • somelikeitscott profile image

      somelikeitscott 7 years ago from Las Vegas

      Oh Amber, how I feel you on this one. And now apparently Best Buy is on the list for giving this same gubernatorial moron money!! I guess the only one we can trust anymore is Joan Rivers on QVC (tongue planted firmly in cheek)but that won't help getting your kids back to school clothes...or will it?

    • profile image

      Amber 7 years ago

      Scott, you summed up my emotions on this issue really well (and me, a straight female Christian, how do you manage?). I have two small children, it's back to school time, and as a rule, I spend a boatload of money at Target (that avoiding WalMart thing).

      Now, I staged my own short-lived boycott a few months ago when they insisted on swiping my driver's license before I could buy a bottle of over the counter cough medicine for my kid (seemed a little big brother to me---OK, not a little, a lot). I understand that for liquor, fireworks, spraypaint, porn sales (stuff where there's an age requirement), but I don't think you have to be 18 to buy cough medicine here (maybe I'm wrong). In any case, boycotting Target was hard. Really hard.

      Still, I am growing ever more resentful of the role corporations play in our political system and to provide funding to a candidate affiliated with organizations who are opposed to equal rights for all American citizens is unconscionable. So, am I boycotting Target? Hard to say. What's easy to say is that I will be getting my kids' school supplies at Staples and at the supermarket (until I find out Staples has also done something wicked) and their clothes somewhere else (I'm thinking Old Navy is also on the 'bad' list).

      I'm ready for someone to fill the niche needed for a department store for mindful shoppers on a budget. Something where everything costs a little more but isn't twice the price of everywhere else. Sigh.