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American Stores Backing Down on Pride Displays - and That's a Good Thing

AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez

It stands to reason that big-box retail establishments like Walmart or Target should be places where families feel comfortable taking their kids. All year around, that is. But there's a problem, and it stems from a phenomenon that one sees in social issues.

Every social controversy - civil rights, same-sex marriage, you name it - starts with some legitimate grievances. But the problem is that there is a lot of money in social activism, and plenty of the more vocal advocates end up as minor-league celebrities, and so when the movement achieves their goal, they can't just fold up their tents and go back to their regular lives. No, the movement has to keep going so the graft can be kept up, and that requires the issue to become more and more ridiculous, and the request for acceptance becomes demands for approval and then for celebration until the whole thing descends into absurdity.

This is a fundamental law of the universe, which shall henceforth be known as Clark's Law of Social Issue Absurdity, because why not? Nowhere has this law been more apparent than with the LGBTQ movement, and now the latest outrage from that community has to do with retail businesses backing off on their Pride Month campaigns.

But wait - shouldn't acceptance mean not being singled out for special treatment? Apparently not.

With Pride Month in full gear, U.S. shoppers can find the usual merchandise many stores stock for the June celebration of LGBTQ+ culture and rights. But analysts and advocates say the marketing is toned down compared to previous years, and at some chains, there’s no trace of Pride at all.

The more subdued atmosphere underscores the struggle of many retailers to cater to different groups of customers at a time of extreme cultural divisions. This year’s Pride Month is unfolding amid a sea of legislation and litigation over LGBTQ+ rights, especially the ability of transgender young people to participate in sports or receive gender-affirming care.

Now wait just one doggone minute here. Take a good look at that last sentence; there are a couple of leaps in the illogic that have to be addressed. First, there is no issue with "transgender young people" participating in sports. There is an issue about boys gaming the system by participating in girl's sports, which, as we have repeatedly addressed, is hideously unfair. And as for "transgender young people" receiving gender-affirming care, yes, it's perfectly appropriate to disallow people beneath the age of majority from receiving life-altering medical treatments, treatments that in many cases sterilize them, irreversible treatments, treatments that can result in a lifetime of constant medical intervention. These young people, I remind you, are not legally allowed to buy booze or a gun, to join the military, to sign a contract, or to get a tattoo. These are treatments, I remind you, that the medical community is increasingly warning people to avoid.

But the real deal is that plenty of people are pushing back on the overstepping by retailers; folks are starting to recognize the absurdity for what it is, and what's more, they are getting tired of it being pushed on their kids.


See Related: Here's Why the Teens Who Defaced a Washington Pride Mural Could Be Facing 5 Years in Prison 

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Last year, for instance, Target was the target (hah) of some flashback from consumers for going all-in for Pride Month merchandise, including "tuck-friendly" swimsuits. Now, it's true that Target sold these in adult sizes; they did not sell children's sizes, although there was some other Pride-themed stuff for kids. But is it at all unreasonable to want to be able to take your little kids in to buy them some school clothes and not have to explain what "tuck-friendly" means? This is precisely the kind of crap that makes me glad my kids are all long since adults. This, more than any specific merchandise, is very likely the objection a lot of people, especially parents of young kids, have to retailers pushing this stuff up front and center.

However, the LGBTQ movement should logically be viewing this as a plus. They crave acceptance, right? If that is so - truly so - then they would be happy about no longer being singled out for special recognition. That's what acceptance means. You're just another everyday Joe, Jane, or Pat, going about your life, tending your affairs, and minding your own business. Nobody needs to know what parts you have or who you sleep with, and ideally, nobody feels the need to advertise what parts they have or who they sleep with.

That's what acceptance means. But this isn't about acceptance. Acceptance isn't the reason these people get a whole month when Moms, Dads, veterans, people who fell defending the country, and even ordinary workers only get a day. This is about an issue's descent into absurdity, and frankly, it's about time people started to say "enough."

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