LGBTQ+ Book Authors Taken From Target Speak Out

The creatives behind products from Target’s LGBTQ+ Pride line have spoken out as the retailer continues to recall more products amid a backlash.

Ash+Chess, which has designed a series of products for the Target line, said its products were removed “due to threats from domestic terrorists,” in a statement on Friday. Ashley Molesso and Chess Needham, who run Ash + Chess, have written a children’s book, ABC-Deconstructing Genderwhich has been caught up in the controversy.

Target has faced boycott calls from conservatives and threats against its staff after displaying a range of products to celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride Month in its stores, such as rainbow-themed clothing. sky and LGBTQ+-friendly accessories for infants and children.

The exterior of a Target store in Los Angeles, California, prior to the start of business on August 17, 2022. Designers who worked with the retailer to develop LGBTQ+ products that are now pulled from stores have spoken out.
Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty

One item that received particular scorn was a transgender-friendly one-piece swimsuit that provided additional material to conceal their genitals.

While some argued the range helped indoctrinate children, others said it was positive for LGBTQ+ youth and allowed them to express themselves through clothing.

The uproar has fueled a wider debate over the acceptance of transgender people in public life. Beer brand Bud Light has also been embroiled in controversy since early April, after it sent a commemorative can to transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney to celebrate his first year of transitioning to a woman.

Earlier this week, Target said it would remove items “at the center of the most prominent confrontational behavior.” Since then, as Target’s stock price plummeted, products were pulled from its stores, made available only online, and moved to the back of stores in select locations.

Target’s decision to remove some of the items from sale has been criticized by LGBTQ+ groups as bowing to pressure from “extremists”.

Target partnered with LGBTQ+ creatives including JZD, a Queer Latina-owned apparel and lifestyle brand, and stationery and gift company Ash + Chess to create the product line, including apparel, books, party supplies and toys.

Now, these two companies have expressed their dissatisfaction with the retailer’s decision to remove products from the store.

Newsweek contacted Target via email for comment.

“We are saddened to say that the majority of our collection has been removed from Target stores due to threats from domestic terrorists,” Ash + Chess said in a statement posted to Instagram on Friday, without giving details.

“Emotionally, we don’t currently have the bandwidth to comment further on this. We appreciate your support and love. Queer and trans people exist in the past, present, and future, and we are stronger together. We all love you.”

Mom Sara Broussard told Newsweek this week she was in her local Target in Texas on May 11 when she picked up the book, ABC-Deconstructing Genderby Molesso and Needham, which was part of the store’s Pride merchandise section, unveiled to celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride Month in June, but was surprised when she was told at checkout that she couldn’t. ‘buy.

Posting to Instagram on Thursday night, clothing retailer JZD, which has created many of the range’s products, also commented on the controversy: “These past few days have been emotionally draining for us and our community… The hatred that surrounds the community LGBTQIA+ is and always has been devastating We have never backed down from our identities as we exist to celebrate all aspects of who we are and the communities we belong to.

JZD noted the effort that went into designing the products to be stocked for Pride Month at Target, saying, “We were thrilled to return to our retail partner for Pride Month this year and spent over a year designing custom pieces for the national campaign. .

“Unfortunately, our retail partner informed us today that they have removed two of our items to be available online only and have completely removed one style from their stores. Additionally, they have moved our items to the back of stores in the southern states.”

After the designers shared their grief over the retailer’s decision, many stepped up to support them.

“Sending love and solidarity,” one commenter said on JZD’s statement. While a response to Ash+Chess simply said, “I’m so mad about this.”

Many also asked designers where they could buy their products outside of Target stores, seeking to support LGBTQ+ designers.

“To our LGBTQIA+ community, we love you, we see you, we stand by you. WE deserve equality, respect, safety, covenant and love. We promise to keep fighting alongside you “, said JZD.

“To our allies, we thank you for your support. We encourage you to remind queer people around you that you are a safe space for them. Remember that hate will never win. We love you.”

Newsweek reached out to Ash+Chess and JZD for comment via Instagram and email.


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