Leave it to Lil Nas X to find the most hilarious way to smack down the conservative freakout over Target’s Pride Month products. Days after the mega-retailer removed or moved some Pride merch following backlash from conservative activists and media — which reportedly included some threats against the safety of its workers — the “That’s What I Want” rapper clowned the criticism with a hysterical tweet of his own parodying the tempest in aisle 20.
“Can’t believe target is supporting this nonsense, im never shopping there again, my son is not ‘too cool for school’ these shirts are ridiculous,” Lil Nas joked in a post that did not specifically mention the backlash, but instead alluded to it using the his signature arch comedic voice. “He is going to school and he WILL learn.”
In the midst of a wave of conservative legislation targeting the LGBTQ community — from bills restricting attendance at drag shows to laws banning gender-affirming treatment for transgender minors and adults — Target became the latest business to come under scrutiny after outrage from right-wing media over some of its pride products. According to NBC News, some Target customers posted TikTok videos showing Target Pride merch displays that had been moved to less visible locations, including in the back of some stores.
On Tuesday (May 23), a Target spokesperson told NBC News the company had “offered an assortment of products aimed at celebrating Pride Month” for more than a decade. But since rolling out this year’s collection, “we’ve experienced threats impacting our team members’ sense of safety and wellbeing while at work.”
“Given these volatile circumstances,” the spokesperson added, “we are making adjustments to our plans, including removing items that have been at the center of the most significant confrontational behavior. Our focus now is on moving forward with our continuing commitment to the LGBTQIA+ community and standing with them as we celebrate Pride Month and throughout the year.”
After Target rolled out some of this year’s products for June’s Pride Month — which includes rainbow tops, tees that read “Trans People Will Always Exist” and more — it reportedly began to get pushback on items from the LGBTQ brand Abprallen, which offers items featuring “spooky, gothic imagery, such as skulls and Satan, in pastel colors.” The AP reported that among the items conservatives were outraged about was a “tuck-friendly” women’s swimsuit that allows adult trans women to hide their genitalia.
One tweet showed a man tossing a Pride display to the ground and stomping on it. Human Rights Campaign president Kelley Robinson reacted to the latest culture war firestorm with a tweet featuring a dire warning: “Extremist groups want to divide us and ultimately don’t just want rainbow products to disappear, they want us to disappear.”
In April, transgender actor-activist Dylan Mulvaney reacted to a Fox News story over Bud Light sending one-off, not-for-sale commemorative cans to Mulvaney that spurred musicians Kid Rock, Travis Tritt and John Rich to swear off the popular brew.
“I think it’s OK to be frustrated with someone or confused, but what I’m struggling to understand is the need to dehumanize and to be cruel. I just, I don’t think that’s right. Dehumanization has never fixed anything in history, ever,” said Mulvaney, 26, in a video to her 13 million followers. After describing her childhood in a conservative family and in the church, Mulvaney said she still had faith, but that it’s been a struggle to hold on to it in the midst of attacks that reminded her of similar criticism she faced as a child for being “too feminine.”
“Now I’m being called all those same things, but this time it’s from other adults,” she said. “And if they’re going to accuse me of anything, it should be that I’m a theater person and that I’m camp. But this is just my personality and it always has been.”
See Lil Nas’ tweet mocking outrage over Target’s Pride Month products below.