As you may know, anti-equality activists have recently called for a boycott of Target, after the corporation reiterated it's inclusive policies which allow transgender shoppers and employees to use restrooms and dressing rooms that are consistent their gender identity.
While these policies at Target are nothing new, opponents of equal rights have seized upon them in their continued attempts to vilify the transgender community through lies and misinformation.
As a response, organizers across the country began encouraging supporters to shop at Target and post photos to social media using the hashtag #IStandWithTarget. An organizer named Kitty Craig created a Facebook event called, "Shop Target: Support Human Equality".
Here in Houston, HOUequality partnered up with Montrose Grace Place, a local nonprofit organization that provides support to homeless LGBT youth in the area. We asked supporters to show up at a local Target between 1pm and 2pm on Saturday May 7th and use a shopping list to purchase items Grace Place is in constant need of. In addition we provided shoppers with a thank you card to give to their cashiers, indicating that they were shopping in support of Target's trans-inclusive policies.
Much to our amazement, more than 120 people took thank you cards and we filled 10 shopping carts full of donations.
Later, as we unloaded 3 carloads full of items at the Montrose Grace Place office, we used the Target mobile app to price out the items and tally up the total dollar amount spent during our "shop-in".
Amazingly, nearly $5700 worth of toothpaste, deodorant, shaving creams, tampons, sunscreen, bug spray, underwear, socks, t-shirts and more were donated.
It cannot be overstated the importance of donations like these to small nonprofit organizations where every penny goes toward helping LGBT youth.
Watching people from all across the city turnout in support of Target's trans-inclusive policies and Montrose Grace Place was almost overwhelming.
As a community, we tend to take opportunities like these not to protest or disrupt a private business, but to use it and find a way to benefit a good cause.
It was a tremendous day and HOUequality was extremely grateful to be a part of it.
Big thank you to the staff at the Target store in the Houston Heights for being so polite to our volunteers and for providing a safe and welcoming environment for every shopper that came into the store.