ATLANTA — Pride Month is getting ready to kick off in June, and normally many retailers are getting ready to celebrate the month with the LGBTQI+ community.
It's a decision that is drawing concern from LGBTQI+ residents in Atlanta, such as Jamie Fergerson.
“I came out when I was about 18 years old," she said, noting it wasn't an easy process as a teen living in a small Georgia town.
“It was really challenging as a teenager and in my young 20s," Fergerson said. "I was able to really meet members of the community for the first time and get involved in LGBTQ advocacy and kind of make friends. That really helped me as a young person to become comfortable with myself and set a vision for the future."
Fergerson eventually felt at home being a part of the LGBTQI+ community in Atlanta and is disappointed in Target pulling some of its Pride collection.
"I empathize with Target in wanting to make sure their employees are safe, but the truth is that moving merchandise to a different part of the store or taking it off the shelves is not a real protective measure. You have to be willing to march with us and celebrate with us when things are great, but when you're a leader, it means you also have to stand with us when we need support," Fergerson added. "We need to see meaningful investments and really having our back.”
“Target locally has always been a supporter and a sponsor of the Atlanta Pride Committee," Igarashi-Ball said. " We love them. We love their support. They've always really championed the LGBTQ community with the array of products that they've sold in their stores."
He thinks what is happening at Target is a reflection of society.
“To see them cowering to the threats of violence that have been made is really unfortunate," Igarashi-Ball added. "You have to call out violence where it's happening, and it's not the LGBTQ community that is causing a problem.”
He added that this is the time for the LGBTQI+ community to come together in love and show all the shades of who they are.
“We need those voices to be louder than the voices of hate," he remarked.
Target didn’t say which specific items its removing from stores or the details of the threats. Click here to read Target's full statement.