pansies

Equality Michigan Comes ThisClose To A Formal Target Boycott. Why Hold Back?

For donating to anti-gay political candidates — and then apologizing for it, while continuing to, uh, donate to anti-gay candidates — Target has already drawn the ire of queers across the country. And while your decision whether to shop at the bullseyed retailer is a personal call, Equality Michigan just made it an institutional one. Well, almost. The state gay rights group is calling on supporters to reevaluate where they spend their dollars. And yet, the organization is not calling for an outright boycott. Where are your balls, boys?

“We cannot tell anybody where they should spend their money. However, it is Equality Michigan’s position that if Target’s political investments are considered, supporters of equality will conclude that continuing to shop there would be counterproductive to their goals, to put it mildly,” says Emily Dievendorf, Equality Michigan’s policy director, who fails to note that Equality Michigan regularly tells people where to spend their money: with donations to Equality Michigan.

It’s as close as she’ll get to saying Target should be banned by gays. Which is ridiculous.

Target and its executives are using the money you spend with them to try to buy anti-gay politicians like Michele Bachmann and Tom Emmer public offices, from which they will infringe on your rights. And yet the Human Rights Campaign, let alone a state group like Equality Michigan, won’t say enough is enough?

(Meanwhile in Grand Rapids, Michigan’s Gay and Lesbian Community Network is also refusing to grow a pair: Interim president Pat Ward says she and her partner work at Target, and “the Target on Alpine is truly supportive of gay rights and they do not tolerate any gay bashing in any way, shape or form. They’ve actually dismissed employees for doing that.” As if that excuses the corporation’s executive suite behavior.)

Should we at all be concerned about all the LGBT employees at Target who, theoretically, will face job losses if Target stores do less business because of a boycott? Of course. By no means do we want to see any American, let alone a member of our own, face even more difficult economic circumstances. And yet I’ve never been somebody who can rationalize the sacrificing of my principles and cash a paycheck from a company that doesn’t think I’m an equal person. I know I’ll take heat for it. So be it.

The real test I’m interested in seeing, however, will be in Minnesota where this all started. Will Twin Cities Pride, which accepted Target’s donations in the past to put on its events, this year refuse to take the retailer’s cash? Or will it act as PFLAG Minnesota did, and opt not to bite the hand that feeds it, effectively letting a multi-billion dollar behemoth railroad your equality? AND THEN GET YOU TO WEAR ITS LOGO.