Target launches gay pride promotional campaign amid boycott over its transgender bathroom policy

Target store in Albemarle Rd., Charlotte, North Carolina. | Wikimedia Commons/Mike Kalasnik

Target Corporation has launched the "#TakePride" campaign to express its support for the LGBT community and promote its rainbow-themed online merchandise.

For the second year in a row, the retail giant is using the "#TakePride" hashtag on social media to promote an array of rainbow-colored merchandise such as t-shirts, swim trunks, flip-flops, headphones, iPhone cases and an assortment of other products emblazoned with LBGT logos, World Net Daily reported.

The rainbow-themed products were initially launched by Target in 2015 to show support for the LGBT community.

"We're making our message loud and clear: Target proudly stands with the LGBT community, both as a team member and team player through all that we do," said Laysha Ward, Target's executive vice president and chief corporate social responsibility officer, according to Pink News.

Target is facing a massive boycott due to its controversial bathroom policy that allows men to use women's bathrooms. An estimated 1.2 million people have pledged to participate in the boycott organized by the American Family Association.

Critics have argued that Target's bathroom policy would only entice predators, pedophiles and sex offenders into restrooms and fitting rooms that were intended for women. Months after the company announced its policy, there were reports of teenage girls and women across America catching men secretly filming them as they changed their clothes.

In response to the controversy, Target announced that it would spend $20 million to add private single-stall lockable bathrooms in its stores, apart from the male and female bathrooms.

Since the announcement of the bathroom policy, the retail giant has reportedly lost "millions" in sales and added expenses. Sales fell nearly six percent in the three quarters that followed the public announcement of the policy change, compared with the same period the previous year.

However, Target CEO Brian Cornell has repeatedly denied that the company's financial woes have anything to do with the boycott.

Cornell has reportedly admitted that the company made a mistake in publicizing the bathroom policy and said that the announcement was made without his approval.

While the CEO believes that the situation was mishandled and that it caused a backlash against the company, he ultimately supported the policy but felt "stuck" with it.

"We took a stance, and were going to continue to embrace our belief of diversity and inclusion and just how important that is to our company," the CEO stated in May last year.

"We had a lot of tough feedback. But sitting here today, I know we made the right decision," he added.