I can’t even begin to calculate the amount of money I’ve spent at Target in my lifetime. What I’ve spent on cleaning supplies alone would probably support a small country for a year. Then there are the toys. Not only have I bought bits of plastic for myself over the years, but also for my niece, nephews and all the other kids that my straight friends keep producing. Plus, I could always buy cool comic book t-shirts for the FBOTM photo shoots there. Honestly, you could find me at Target at least twice a week.
Well, several weeks have passed now, and I haven’t stepped foot inside a Target store. Since Target brazenly donated $150,000 to Minnesota Forward for the purpose of supporting anti-gay gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, I, along with millions of other LGBT consumers, have felt betrayed. Target’s actions are particularly painful, because, let’s face it, we’ve always considered them to be “our” store. When Long-Suffering Boyfriend Michael and I used to make our weekly sojourns there, we’d often play a rousing game of “count the gays.” Like Home Depot, Target was always gay central. And that’s not even counting the West Hollywood location, which could qualify as its own circuit party most of the time.
Target has proclaimed that while they don’t support Emmer’s stance on gay rights, they do like his stance on job creation and, oh yeah, slashing the minimum wage in Minnesota. Everyone has the right to hate whoever they want to and use whatever power they have to subjugate and destroy others. Fine. But if Target is telling me that when I hand them my money, they turn around and hand it to some nut job who wants to block or take away my rights, then we have a problem.
The bigger issue here, of course, is that while the democracy we enjoy in America has always been influenced by people and corporations with power and money, it was never blatantly written into law until the Supreme Court (Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission) eased restrictions on how and when corporations can contribute to political candidates. Luckily, there’s also disclosure, which is how and why we found out about this contribution in the first place.
Target has issued a couple of tepid apologies, but stands by its donation. This week, talks broke down between Target and the Human Rights Campaign (and don’t even get me started on them; that’s a whole other bucket of crazy). So, Target is sticking to their guns and are, presumably, hoping this will all blow over, and that the gays will come back and give them more money that they can then use to limit or eliminate our rights.
I know it’s hard to change habits, especially when they involve fanboy passions, like action figures and DVDs and music and really cute Superman t-shirts. And I know that corporations like Target and Best Buy are hoping we just shrug and go back to shopping, business as usual. But until Target takes responsibility for the damage they’ve caused and really do something to make it right, I can shop elsewhere. I’ve been driving out of my way, making more stops than usual, and either spending more or doing without, but I believe it’s worth it. If, in this struggle for equality, I can’t deal with a little inconvenience for the cause, then I don’t deserve equality. So, I’m boycotting.
That’s my stand. That’s FBOTU’s stand. I hope you’ll give it some thought, read up on the issue and take a stand as well.