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Corporate America’s embrace of Pride month now involves heavy marketing of LGBTQ products to kids

Toy companies such as Build-A-Bear Workshop and Mattel have pride collections for children.

Published: July 4, 2023 11:21pm

Updated: July 5, 2023 1:24am

Many companies during Pride month marketed LGBTQ-themed products to children, while also donating money to advocacy organizations in the movement.

Target, Kohl’s, and North Face were all targeted for boycotts over marketing LGBTQ-themed children’s products. The backlash resulted in Target removing some transgender merchandise, Kohl’s marking down its pride products by at least 50%, and North Face removing the pride-themed clothing items for kids.

Amid the boycott, by mid-June, Target’s market cap had fallen by more than $15.7 billion.

The Target boycott began shortly after Bud Light faced its own protests after entering into a paid partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.

Target was a platinum sponsor of NYC Pride 2023, a status that requires a donation of $175,000 while Bud Light’s parent company, Anheuser-Busch, sponsored pride events in various U.S. cities.

“Woke corporations can play ball with radical leftists all they want – it’s their right,” Doug Truax, Founder and President of Restoration of America, said in a statement. “But they need to understand that vast numbers of Americans disagree with the fringe agendas and will take their spending elsewhere. The woke backlash already has begun, and I expect it to continue.”

There were also several other companies that marketed pride-themed products to children while donating to pro-LGBTQ organizations.

Build-A-Bear Workshop has a pride collection that includes rainbow-colored stuffed animals and LGBT-themed accessories for them.

Through December, “for every Pride collection item purchased, Build-A-Bear will donate a portion of proceeds ($1 for furry friends, $0.50 for other items) to Build-A-Bear Foundation to support organizations committed to the work of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Maximum donation of $50,000,” the company’s website reads.

Disney also has a pride collection for children, including Star Wars, Marvel, and The Little Mermaid rainbow-colored t-shirts.

Also, Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., will host an LGBT+ conference this fall that organizers are calling the world's largest, amid the company’s legal battle with Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Last year, Disney denounced Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act – which critics called the "Don't Say Gay" bill – that restricts discussion of certain sexual topics in schools from kindergarten through third grade. As a result, Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law in February revoking Disney's special control over the district where its amusement park is located.

Disney filed a lawsuit against DeSantis and other state officials in April for allegedly creating a "targeted campaign of government retaliation" over the company's opposition to the parental rights law.

The toy company Mattel, which sells brands such as Barbie, Hot Wheels, Fisher-Price, and American Girl, had a pride collection for its Monster High brand that includes rainbow-themed shirts, mugs, and posters.

According to Mattel’s website, “From May 31st until June 30th, for each Monster High Pride Capsule Collection item sold, Mattel will donate $1 to GLAAD, the world's largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization which works to protect all that has been accomplished while leading the charge to create a world where everyone can live the life they love.”

Microsoft’s Xbox sells in its gear shop a kids’ t-shirt with a Minecraft rainbow heart. On the webpage with the t-shirt, it reads, “To recognize the launch of our 2023 Pride campaign and products, we're contributing a total of $200,000 to GLAAD, Outright International, Stonewall, SAATHII and Casa Rara to help in the fight for LGBTQIA+ equity and equality.”

Macy’s is selling a pride-themed, plush Mickey Mouse and a book from Barnes & Noble titled, “Twas the Night Before Pride” that is for ages 4 to 8. The company also encourages customers to “donate online to our national partner The Trevor Project, the leading suicide prevention and crisis organization for LGBTQ young people.”

Vans is selling pride-themed shoes and a t-shirt for kids, which reads, “Always Authentic Together As Ourselves.” The webpage for the shirt also reads, “In celebration of Pride, Vans is donating a total of $200,000 from the Checkerboard Fund at Tides Foundation to organizations committed to advocating for and providing the space, access and community needed to uplift the LBGTQ+ community.”

Pottery Barn Kids sells a pride-themed family pajama collection, with an explanation that reads, "Each one-piece sold benefits The Trevor Project's lifesaving suicide prevention and crisis intervention services for LGBTQ youth. We'll donate 25% of the purchase price of each set to support the critical mission of The Trevor Project.”

Gap is selling rainbow-themed t-shirts for children, and notes under "product details" that the company is “proud to donate $25,000 to GenderCool, a youth-led movement bringing positive change for transgender and non-binary youth.”

Dr. Martens is selling pride-themed shoes for toddlers and partners with The Trevor Project.

Amid the backlash against companies selling LGBTQ-themed products for children, Evan Nierman, the CEO of the crisis management firm Red Banyan and author of Crisis Averted, previously told Just the News that the shift against Pride Month is "because of the transgender issues."

"It has been thrust front and center into the national debate and has made it harder for a lot of people in the country to feel comfortable endorsing Pride Month and celebrating it because in the LGBTQ acronym, it's really the 'T' in it that has started to dominate the national conversation," he said, referring to transgender. 

He also argued the backlash is “simply a reaction to what has been perceived as an explosion of acceptance and promotion of transgenderism among youth."

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