Friday, July 6, 2012


I have been thinking a lot about boycotts lately. They can seem ridiculous, like the people boycotting Nabisco for the above image of the beloved Oreo Cookie sporting the Rainbow colors of Gay Pride. I mean, it's just a cookie. Eating an Oreo won't turn someone gay, and it's not like the company is out recruiting future homosexuals. They are supporting their employees and customers. But, advocating violence and murder is a serious business.

Other recent boycotts I have heard of: 
  • General Motors (GM) for flying the Rainbow Flag at their headquarters to honor the pride of their LGBT employees;
  • JCPenney for including a couple of women, both wearing matching wedding rings and with their children in a picture in the company's Mother's Day flyer;
  • JCPenney for including a couple of men, both wearing matching wedding rings and with their children in a picture in the company's Father's Day flyer.
Pride Colors at GM Headquarters in Detroit, MI.
There are numerous others, I'm sure. I realize to the people calling for these boycotts, it is serious to them. But, really. I guess it takes all kinds.

Yet, some boycotts are very serious, indeed. I remember when Ellen DeGeneres' character, Ellen Morgan, came out on her show in 1997, both JCPenney and Chrysler decided to pull advertising from the episode. The LGBT community then called for a boycott of both and other companies as well.

I find it ironic that both JCPenney and GM, which produces Chrysler, have made very different decisions in recent years. So, attitudes do change. I guess I need to shop at JCPenney now. And I love my GM car even more!

Which brings me to another point.

This is not an official picture, just a knockoff of the original. It's cute.
Who decides when boycotts are over? In 2010, Target and Best Buy both made sizable donations to a Political Action Committee (PAC) which then ran ads for a candidate who openly opposed same-sex marriage, other LGBT rights and had ties to a group openly calling for the legalized incarceration and/or murder of LGBTQ people in Uganda. The LGBT community was outraged as both companies had been known for their support of the community in the US. The companies' explanation was they were supporting a candidate who was pro-business. Both companies were unaware (in their words) of the other ties and connections. The LGBT community called for a boycott of both companies. Naturally, I supported this.

Now, I have noticed Pride merchandise on Target's website. (I noticed it when I was searching for something and saw Target in the search results.) I have seen articles mentioning their progress in trying to come to an understanding over their past action. I have not received the memo by the Undersecretary of Boycotts stating we can shop at Target again. Yet, I have read comments by individuals suggesting to let the past be, and to move forward. Kind of like a reconciliation after a friend or lover says something that hurts your feelings. Target seems to be making amends. Is it enough? I don't know.

I have seen nothing regarding Best Buy.

What I do know, is that I am having very difficult financial times right now. I need to do what I have to in order to survive. Target offers good merchandise at good prices. I may have to shop there. Can I live with myself? I may have to because I need to survive. I guess we need to decide for ourselves. And that's who decides to end the boycott. 


  1. I'm like you, Jeff. I never know how far to take it. I know people say "keep our gay dollars away from X to show them...", but at times I find myself right back there shopping. I look at it this way: someone in that corporation gave $$ to an organization that perhaps has different values than me, but we shouldn't all need to have the same values. Right?

    I write and sell books. I want people to buy them and read my stories. That doesn't mean I expect those readers to all share my value system. And I would hope they wouldn't boycott me as an author simply because of a place I've made a donation to in my past.

    Oh..and I went to best buy last night and bought a TV for my bedroom. Does that make me a bad gay? :-)

    1. You make a lot of sense, and I think each of us needs to make up our own mind. I have a friend with three children, she's a stay-at-home mom and her husband works. Do I fault them for shopping where they do? No, she is a very supportive friend, has stayed neutral during my divorce, (she was his friend first) and I know times are tough for all of us.

      I also believe that if we knew where most companies actually donated their money, we'd never go shopping again. I use the Human Rights Campaign buying guide (there's an app for your smartphone and other mobile devices) that gives an overall score. And I base a lot of my shopping habits on the score given by the HRC. Because of this,I have moved my shopping back to Home Depot!