Conservative Hate Towards Target Has Led to Attacks on LGBTQ+ Nonprofits

From attacks on Target to attacks on their associates, right-wing conservatives’ next battle is with GLSEN.

Last Tuesday, retailer Target announced that they would be removing different Pride merchandise from their stores after conservatives filmed themselves ranting about the items in the store, attacking Pride displays, and confronting store employees. Various conservatives are taking their frustrations out on Target for accusing the retailer of “grooming” children with “woke” ideology. Now, Target partner GLSEN, is in the line of fire thanks to various conservative outlets, including Fox News.

GLSEN is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment and harassment in K-12 education. The nonprofit has had a longstanding relationship with Target. Their decades-long connection has resulted in Target donating over $2 million to the nonprofit. But conservatives see this relationship as one that supports “grooming” children.

One incident came from Fox News where the outlet claimed that GLSEN was pushing “gender ideology to be integrated into all classes,” conflating the GLSEN’s guidance on how educators can make math class more inclusive of trans and nonbinary students. Another attack came from a report from Fox New Digital that accused GLSEN of advising schools to hide their students’ gender identities from their parents due to the nonprofits’ guidance and advice for educators on pronoun use. Additionally, GLSEN has been accused of pushing “sexually explicit” books onto children, due to the nonprofit’s support of LGBTQ+ authors and books. 

This media onslaught has resulted in hateful messages and threats that potentially endanger the physical safety of GLSEN employees. 

“GLSEN’s mission is to create safe, inclusive learning environments for K-12 students, and these recent attacks from right-wing extremists show how important and necessary the work that we do is,” said Melanie Willingham-Jaggers, GLSEN’s Executive Director, in a statement. “We are seeing the far right harass companies in an attempt to erase the LGBTQ+ community. We cannot let a violent, angry minority hold our democracy, our school system, or our community hostage.”

These attacks from conservatives are coming from a micro and macro level. The anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment that continues to sweep across the country points to the growing number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills within the U.S. To date, the ACLU counts 491 anti-LGBTQ+ bills within the U.S., with many of these bills infringing upon the rights of LGBTQ+ youth. Ultimately, this opposes GLSEN’s mission “to ensure that every member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.”

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