Target's 2023 Pride Collection

Target’s Pride Collection – A Controversy? [2023]

Each year many multi-million dollar companies release new merchandise during Pride season (typically around May with June being the actual Pride month). From Target and Walmart to Under Armor and Adidas, it seems everyone is “for the gays”, but what has irked the queer community, is that companies support for Pride really only happens during those two months, with the rest of the year having nothing for the Queer community. The term “Corporate Pride” comes from the idea that large companies only show Pride during Pride season, in hopes to make more money by having special Pride merchandise. Unfortunately, most companies do not use any profit made during Pride to go towards any LGBT-related organizations. 

Some Pride merchandise is great, while other pieces could have been left at the drawing board; an example like Target’s infamous rainbow suit. Despite how you feel about some of the corporate Pride collections, Target is one of the few that makes an effort to release original ideas, and not just changing their logo to rainbow colors.

In this article, we will be rating a handful of items from Target’s 2023 Pride collection. Target is a favorite during Pride season for this reason. Still, over the years Target has also had some controversies, like in 2010 when Target donated $150,000 to Tom Emmer’s political campaign who has been known to discriminate against the Queer community publicly, and most recently, Target’s decision to pull certain Pride merch from their shelves because of an overflow of online backlash from homophobes. Searching for the new Pride merchandise was a little challenging because some of the Target stores I visited didn’t have any Pride merchandise, while other stores only have select items from their collection. If you want to see the full collection you’ll have to shop online. Let’s check out some pieces!

Live, Laugh, Lesbian

As much as I think it’s great to have Pride merchandise that appeals to all walks of life in the Queer community, I don’t think this shirt will be a fan favorite amongst the Queer community. The shirt is a little too basic, with not much of an original concept, and in general, the phrase seems tacky. Most people already make fun of the idea of “Live Laugh Love” and the play on quote with changing Love to Lesbian just isn’t outside of the box and seems like a dull attempt to just “have something” for the lesbian community.

Rating: 4/10

Live Laugh Lesbian shirt

Sling Pack and Fanny Pack

Even though the idea of just having something rainbow colors doesn’t seem too original, having that be done tastefully can be very effective. Target has created this sling pack and fanny pack that are a matte black color with some rainbow zipper work added. Simple, but the overall look is very chic, and it’s an item that can be useful, and not something that makes you wonder “Where would I wear this to?” like the rainbow suit for example.

Rating: 8/10

Pride fanny pack

Rainbow Sandals

Everyone loves a good sandal, and these new Pride sandals are adorable! They feature a matte black base with the Pride colors as the main focus. These are cute, simple, and I think a lot of people in the Queer community will appreciate this specific item.

Rating: 8/10

Pride flip flops at Target

Pride Baby Clothes

As much as these Pride baby clothes seem cute, I personally am not for these. The reason being, is there’s already an issue going around about “grooming” children with Drag and introducing the LGBT community to children, this topic of grooming has caused lots of debates and overall drama and I personally think by Target having Pride baby clothes, that that just opens a wider door of drama with the homophobic community and we just don’t need added drama – especially during Pride season.

Rating: 1/10

Pride onesie from Target

Now That’s What I Call Rainbow soundtrack

Honestly, the idea of having a Pride soundtrack is pretty neat, my only issue is the song selections for this soundtrack are not specific to being LGBTQ. Some songs that are featured are, Stay with Me by Sam Smith, That’s What I Want by Lis Nas X, and Heart Break by Kim Petras. The soundtrack features music by LGBT artists, which in general is great, but personally, I’d like to see some songs that have an overall message of Pride. Some ideas could be Born This Way by Lady GaGa, Express Yourself by Madonna, I’m Coming Out by Diana Ross, or even It’s Raining Men by The Weather Girls. I think overall featuring LGBT artists is great, but for a Pride soundtrack it would elevate the idea more by having music that has the overall message of Pride.

Rating: 9/10

Now That's What I Call Rainbow

It’s Not a Phase crop top hoodie

Not a bad idea. I personally think this phrase with the phases of the moon is a cute idea. There’s always been a huge argument that being LGBT is not “natural” and I think the overall phrase of “It’s not a phase” is not only very commonly used, but a very clear statement.

Rating: 9/10

Pride crop top from Target

Green Boiler suit

Do we need to say much about this? It’s not cute. Not many people can pull over one piece clothing in general, but mixing in an ugly green color that features a giant GAY on the back with “All day every day and that’s okay” in the front just isn’t appealing. I can see where Target was going with the overall message, but the execution is just cringe and not attractive.

Rating: 0/10

Green Boiler suit at Target

Checkered pieces

Target has added a few items that are designed with rainbow checkers, from bathrobes, to t-shirts, to sandals, and dresses. Honestly, these pieces are kind of cute. They’re simple in design, but scream Pride in a tasteful way. I believe many members of the Queer community will appreciate these items.

Rating: 7/10

Checkered clothing for pride from Target

LGBT films

Now, I didn’t see these at various local Target locations, but online Target has a selection of LGBT films and I honestly think these are great! The collection ranges from Love, Simon, to Moonlight,  Bohemian Rhapsody, to The Danish Girl, and I personally appreciate the range of LGBT topics these films have; there is something for everyone in the Queer community which is extremely important.

Rating: 10/10

Indoor/Outdoor decor

Target features an array of home and outdoor items, and I think overall members of the Queer community will appreciate most of these items. Target features rainbow lawn chairs, door mats, oven mitts, cup sets, and food plates which are simple, but very effective and cute. There’s a few items I personally think could have been amped a little more, for example… There’s a handful of candles that have some sort of LGBT logo or community displayed, but the overall colors aren’t anything great and the general senses are a little basic, nothing that you couldn’t get at a Bath and Body Works. The Pride Beach Towel is another one I don’t think will be popular, only because it’s listed as “Icons”, but the towel just shows some random cartoon characters. I think having a towel or item with Queer icons would have elevated this particular item more.

Rating: 7/10

Target's indoor and outdoor pride decor

Closing Thoughts…

Whether you enjoy flashy Pride merch, or something subtle, whether you enjoy merch that can be used on a regular basis or something that’s kept in your personal space, Target honestly does have something for everyone. There are items for the gays, lesbians, non-binaries, and for the trans community. Not every item from Target’s Pride 2023 collection was listed, just ones that stuck out some, but I would say overall this might be one of Target’s more success Pride collections they’ve ever done, my only big note is there wasn’t a lot of merch for people who identify as Bisexual, or Pansexual, and other groups apart of the Queer community so I would have liked to seen a little more variety, but I think overall Target is great in that they don’t just change their logo to rainbow colors and say “See, we supports the gays” they do attempt to make an effort to have original items that appeal to everyone, so I think everyone can appreciate that. Not every Target carries the Pride collection, and not every Target carries the same Pride items, so I definitely recommend going to your local Target and seeing what they have, you might find something you like! 🏳️‍🌈

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