Lil Nas X mocks fragile right-wing backlash to Target Pride collection

Lil Nas X

Gay rapper Lil Nas X is no stranger to spicy Twitter posting – and courting controversy on social media – and has hilariously waded into the row over Target’s 2023 Pride collection. 

The US retailer has received violent backlash in recent days from anti-LGBTQ+ bigots who can’t cope with Target stocking colourful apparel, accessories, jewellery, homeware, party supplies and pet products in honour of Pride Month. 

Footage shared on social media shows right-wingers destroying Pride displays in Target stores, pulling clothing off racks and throwing them on the floor, screaming at employees and harassing other customers who are just trying to do some shopping. 

Some individuals have been filmed loudly pushing the tired right-wing conspiracy theory that LGBTQ+ people are out to ‘groom’ children.  

The company confirmed on Tuesday (22 May) that it will be “adjusting” its LGBTQ+ merchandise ahead of Pride month in June, including removing some items, in a bid to protect staff. 

Target has faced criticism for its decision, with some slamming the brand for “caving in” to “anti-LGBTQ+ terrorism”

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“Since introducing this year’s collection, we’ve experienced threats impacting our team members’ sense of safety and wellbeing while at work,” Target’s statement reads.

“Given these volatile circumstances, we are making adjustments to our plans, including removing items that have been at the centre of the most significant confrontational behaviour. 

“Our focus now is on moving forward with our continuing commitment to the LGBTQIA+ community and standing with them as we celebrate Pride Month and throughout the year.”

Target has released its Pride Month 2023 collection and the internet has some thoughts.
To mark Pride Month 2023, Target teamed up with LGBTQ+ artists to create capsule collections.(Target/PinkNews)

Lil Nas X appeared to weigh in on the controversy, with a tongue-in-cheek response on Thursday (25 May) that has garnered 5.1 million views on Twitter. 

Seemingly in-character as an outraged parent, the “Old Town Road” hitmaker caricatured anti-LGBTQ+ pearl-clutching sentiment over Target’s Pride merch, posting: “Can’t believe Target is supporting this nonsense, I’m never shopping there again, my son is not ‘too cool for school’ these shirts are ridiculous. He is going to school and he WILL learn.”

Target’s Pride 2023 capsule collection is presented in collaboration with LGBTQ+ artists and includes colourful t-shirts, dresses, dungarees, bibs and rompers for children, along with merchandise for adults and pets.

Known for his unapologetically queer lyrics and creative (read: stunning) style, Lil Nas X has garnered praise for his 2021 album Montero, which reflects on his experiences growing up as a closeted child.

In April, the Grammy Award-winning “Industry Baby” star shared a heartwarming message of support for his LGBTQ+ fans in Saudi Arabia, a country where LGBTQ+ people face severe repression and legal challenges. 

“To my gays fans from Saudi Arabia reading this,” the “Sun Goes Down” singer wrote

“I hope this song is getting you through whatever you’re going through and I hope some day soon the laws against us change and you can be free in your own home.”

Lil Nas has previously sparked controversy on Twitter with a now-deleted tweet where he made a joke about transitioning alongside a photo of a woman who looks similar to the rapper.

He subsequently apologised to the trans community after facing backlash from fans.

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