‘Speak your mind – even if your voice shakes.’ - Maggie Kuhn, founder of the Grey Panthers (a group that works for the progression of rights for the elderly).
So Target is getting some major backlash right now about spotlighting pride items, carrying children’s pride-related items, and just - in general - supporting the LGBTQ+ 'agenda'.
Everyone is free to vote with their dollars, and I think they should. But I have to speak up here. When I sat down to write my new T-Shirt companies values last week, not only did Equality and Inclusivity make the list, but so did Courage. And, in fact, I would argue that the first two don’t mean a whole lot without the third. For what good is believing in something if you remain quiet about it?
So courage is what I will summon up here for our first blog ever. It’s sad that I feel this requires courage. I’m almost embarrassed about that. As a business owner, we are generally taught and expected to put profits over politics and remain neutral.
But here’s the thing. Even remaining neutral requires somebody to speak up. Because otherwise the other side gets loud, real loud. And it becomes a matter of whoever is loudest wins. Not whoever is ‘right’ wins. Not whoever means the best and is coming from a good place wins. Not even majority wins. The majority of folks don’t hold the most extreme views (on either end). Even I do NOT hold the most extreme views.
Whether you are in support of the LGBTQ+ movement or not, it doesn’t mean you have to actively hate it, protest it, or in the most extreme cases become violent over it.
Let me be clear here and now though we, here at this company, are allies.
But I don’t expect everyone to agree with me. I can co-exist or even, dare I say it, still love those who don’t agree with me. That’s because I have an open mind to their being more than one single possibility of the absolute truth. And that, to me, is the real issue here. We do not all have to believe the same things. But we should still be kind to each other. We should still accept one another. We should still be open enough to hearing other points of views and even trying to understand our differences where we can.
If you believe in God (me, I’m not so sure, we can get into a discussion on religion another day), then remember that you are not the final one to judge. You know it’s God, so leave it to them. And there is nearly no world where I believe that God meant for us to truly hate anyone. Where God meant for us to shame anyone. Where God meant that we should enact anger, yelling, or even violence upholding these rigid beliefs.That we should look down on others and tell them how they are living and what they believe is wrong.
And the argument is that kids are being what? Indoctrinated? Please. What about the children who are raised, instead, to be more loving and accepting to others (including themselves)? What if our society allowed people to more freely express themselves?
What if our society helped prepare children for the differences so that when they feel differences in themselves, they aren’t afraid of it. They don’t bottle it up in shame so deep that when they are finally ready to express it, to take their life back, it takes them years of painful self-work to get through it. What about when they never have the courage to do that hard work and remain repressed and miserable their entire life (or end their life prematurely because of it). What if our society helped children prepare for the differences so that when they see these in others, they aren’t afraid of that either. So they don’t ever contribute to someone else feeling less than. So that they don’t bully another.
We are celebrating pride month here, not just this month - every month. But if one month a year, we can make the choice to bring that celebration a bit more front and center together on behalf of all those who have been unable to express themselves for a long time now and are still being repressed by some of those that are the loudest?? Let’s do it!
And in terms of Target, I don’t know. I understand they have to do what they have to from a business standpoint. But I just hope that, at the end of the day, their real values are more important. That they don’t buckle. But I suppose only a few people truly know what Targets values really are, right? In the meantime, I still shop there. Just not for graphic tees, because I get those right here.