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Target removes Pride products because far-right threatens staff



Pride merchandise at a Target store in Queens, New York. Photo via Getty.

Target has announced that it is removing products from its Pride collection due to “threats affecting” its employees’ “sense of safety and well-being”.

But the far right, who have been bombarding the company with harassment, misinformation and “satanic panic” plots since Target released its 2023 collection earlier this month, is still not satisfied. After all, for them it was just one small battle in their larger assault on pride and LGBTQ rights. However, they have just grown bolder, casting a dark shadow over the Pride celebrations in the coming months.

“The goal is to make ‘pride’ toxic to brands,” far-right commentator Matt Walsh tweeted. “If they decide to throw this garbage in our faces, they should know that they will have to pay for it. It won’t be worth what they think they’ll get. First Bad Light and now the target. Our campaign is moving forward. Let’s continue”.

For more than a year now, the entire spectrum of the far right, including ardent neo-Nazis, white nationalists, Proud Boys, Libs of TikTok, and GOP lawmakers, have been uniting in terrifying unity around LGBTQ hate, with special attention to trans issues and teaching children about homosexuality, which they say is tantamount to “grooming”.

Target’s decision to back down in the face of such persecution is a reversal from the CEO’s recent remarks in defense of Target’s pride collection, which he called “the right thing for society and a great thing for our brand.”

Items that have since disappeared from the Target’s Pride collection include a colorful tote bag that says “We Belong Everywhere” and a soft pink hoodie with the slogan “Cure Transphobia, Not Trans People” designed by British brand Abrippen.

“It is clear that ‘cure transphobia’ is code for ‘destroy Christian values’,” one far-right influencer on Telegram remarked to his 60,000 followers.

Far-right group #GaysAgainstGroomers initiated backlash against Target due to its collaboration with Apballen, which often pairs satanic imagery with pastel colors and slogans such as “Trans Witches for Abortion.” They seized on Abrippen’s product line as more “proof” that the LGBT community was hatching some sort of secret satanic agenda, and designer Eric Carnell says he has received death threats ever since.

They also set their sights on rainbow clothing and pride-themed children’s books. “They indoctrinate them with LGBTQ ideology and educate them,” wrote #GaysAgainstGroomers. “This is highly inappropriate and disturbing.”

This prompted further calls for a boycott from the far right (many apparently forgetting that they boycott Target once a year due to multiple claims, including their transgender friendly policy and no longer ringing the Salvation Army bell at Christmas). Last year, far-right troll Ethan Schmidt posted a video of him destroying a Pride display at Target in Phoenix.

Target also appears to have removed a comfy swimsuit meant to provide extra protection for some trans women. Professional troll Alex Stein posted a viral video of himself trying it on, and conspiracy theorists aided Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greenspreading fake information that the swimsuit came in children’s sizes.

While some have promised a boycott, others have suggested vandalism or violence. “Tear down all the displays and stomp on them,” wrote one person in the comments section of Gateway Pundit. “Use a loud bullhorn or maybe a paint/piss bomb.”

The Proud Boys in Michigan suggested that people hide bleach in Starbucks drinking glasses or water guns and spill it on Pride flags or clothing at local Target stores. “Once the store realizes it’s been vandalized, they’ll also have to beef up security and pay for extra security for those items.”

The scare campaign the far right has been using with Target is part of the same strategy they’ve been using against Bud Light ever since the beer company partnered with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney. The far right initially announced they were boycotting the company, but instead of crushing it, they remain focused on getting it to sever ties with Mulvaney. Sales continued fall.


New UK cycling rules ban transgender women from elite women’s competition



MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Riders assigned male at birth will be banned from competing in British Cycling’s elite women’s events under a new policy on transgender and non-binary participation published by the governing body on Friday.

The new competition rules, due to be implemented this year, provide for the division of racing into “open” and “women’s” categories, with transgender women, transgender men, non-binary people and those assigned male at birth being eligible to compete. competitions. in the open category.

The female category will remain for those who were assigned female at birth, and for transgender men who have not undergone hormone therapy.

The current male category will be merged into an open category, in which those who were listed as female at birth can compete if they wish.

The new policy is the result of a nine-month review that included a process of consultation with riders and stakeholders, including members of the British team, and an examination of available medical research led by British Cycling’s chief medical officer, Dr J. Nigel Jones. It has been said that this study showed a clear performance advantage in people who experience puberty as a male, and something that cannot be fully mitigated by testosterone suppression.

There is still no set date for the implementation of the new rules and British Cycling only says it will happen before the end of the year, allowing time for changes to the technical rules and discussions with the UCI, cycling’s world governing body, regarding implementation. .

The new policy is different from the UCI policy, which taking another look at your own rules after American transgender woman Austin Killips won the Tour of Gila in New Mexico this month.

The UCI allows transgender women who have gone through male puberty to compete in elite women’s competition if they have had their testosterone level reduced to 2.5 nanomoles per liter within the previous two years.

British cycling policy is also changing. follows what was adopted by World Aquatics last year.

British Cycling suspended its previous policy last April after transgender woman Emily Bridges attempted to compete in national omnium championships as a rider.

Bridges called the move a “violent act,” adding, “I agree that a detailed policy discussion and continued research is needed, but that hasn’t happened.”

John Dutton, chief executive of British Cycling, apologized for the concern and frustration caused in the 13 months following the suspension of the previous policy.

This previous transgender policy allowed riders to compete in the women’s category if they had testosterone levels below five nanomoles per liter in the 12 months prior to the competition.

The governing body will continue to review new research as it becomes available, with the policy reviewed regularly.

“It’s an incredibly emotional and divisive topic at times,” Dutton said. “It took us many months to address three areas: first, consultation with affected athletes and the wider cycling community; secondly, viewing the medical research currently available; and thirdly, from a legal point of view, in connection with the Equality Act.

“We have made the decision to balance all three to provide clarity, direction and that clear path forward for all affected athletes.”

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Second round of elections in Turkey: how refugees became the main problem



Kemal Kilicdaroglu, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s rival in Sunday’s second round of elections, is hardening his stance on refugees in a last-ditch attempt to win over voters after failing in the first round.

While polls showed center-left Kiliçdaroglu leading over conservative Erdogan, Erdogan ended up taking first place in the May 14 elections with 49.5% of the vote. But no candidate managed to secure an outright majority, setting off a high-stakes race this weekend.

“I think the opposition calculated that their decision to prioritize economic issues didn’t really bring the victory they wanted,” Merve Tahiroglu, director of the US Democracy Project’s Turkey program in the Middle East, told HuffPost.

Erdogan’s unorthodox decision to cut interest rates at a time when most governments and central banks around the world are raising them to curb inflation has sent the value of the national currency, the Turkish lira, down, meaning many Turks can barely afford everyday goods. .

But it seems that voters cannot blame Erdogan for this.

“Erdogan solidified his bloc with identity politics, thanks to successful economic policies in his first two terms, which also provided wealth and stable economic performance until around the coup attempt in 2016,” said Emre Peker, European director of the Eurasian Agency. Group consulting company.

Voters who have continued to support him despite the recent financial turmoil are “remembering all their social and economic benefits before the economic troubles began,” Pecker said, adding that they also fear the opposition is not tested.

Apparently, this forced the opposition to change the direction of their campaign and shift the focus of their campaign to the issue of migration and refugees.

Their campaign “scored a full 180 points,” Tahiroglu said, adding that Kilicdaroglu appeared to have abandoned the more positive tone he maintained until the first round.

Candidates Seek and Receive Support from Far-Right Figures

The far-right third party candidate Sinan Ogan beat expectations, winning over 5% of the vote in the first round, and was called a “kingmaker” by some. On Monday, he endorsed Erdogan, the head of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), who has been in power for more than 20 years and is the country’s longest-serving leader.

Ogan told The New York Times Last week, his conditions for providing support included a specific plan to deport refugees from Turkey, as well as that he wanted a high-ranking post in the next administration.

“Why should I be a minister when I can be a vice president?” he asked.

It is not clear what Erdogan agreed to in exchange for Ogan’s support, but Ogan on Monday said his performance in the first election gave the Nationalists a strong platform, including on the issue of refugees.

At the same time, experts note that Ogan does not have a single base of voters, and the people who supported him in the first round will not necessarily follow him.

Meanwhile, Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the center-left Republican People’s Party (CHP), who was the joint candidate of six opposition parties, was supported by Umit Ozdag, leader of the far-right Victory Party, which led the coalition that supported Ogan in the first round.

Ozdag on Wednesday said he and Kılıçdaroğlu both agree that millions of refugees should return to their countries within a year, shortening the two-year time limit that the opposition candidate originally outlined in his plan. according to the Associated Press.

We reached a consensus on “a model that is in line with international law and supports human rights, that will keep Syrians safe in Syria, but take a heavy burden off the Turkish economy and make our streets safe again,” Ozdag said. according to the AP.

How Erdogan and Kılıçdaroğlu approach the refugee problem

Turkey hosts the largest number of refugees in the world, home to “nearly 3.6 million Syrians under temporary protection and about 370,000 refugees and asylum seekers of other nationalities.” according to the United Nations Refugee Agency.

Kılıçdaroğlu, who before the first round promised to repatriate refugees within two years by creating safe conditions to return to their country, has since touted his anti-migrant credentials, accusing Erdoğan of “deliberate [allowing] 10 million refugees in Turkey.”

“I will send all the refugees home as soon as I am elected president, period,” said Kılıçdaroğlu. It is reported by Politico Europe.with reference to local media.

Kılıçdaroğlu also promised to revise the agreement for 2016. Agreement between the European Union and Turkey on refugeesif elected. According to the 2016 agreement, “all new illegal migrants and asylum seekers arriving from Turkey to the Greek islands and whose asylum applications were found to be inadmissible must be returned to Turkey.” The country has received millions from the EU in humanitarian aid for refugees.

Erdogan, meanwhile, “played the role of protector for millions of refugees in Turkey,” Istanbul-based writer and essayist Kaya Genc recently wrote. told The New Yorker.

“Kılıçdaroğlu’s refugee policy shocked me,” Genç said, adding that some of his statements about refugees were “the ugly language of Turkish nationalism.”

“Meanwhile, Erdogan presented himself as the protector of the ummah, the nation of Islam, and in this case, his Islamic nationalism seems humane in comparison,” Genç continued.

Erdogan said Becky Anderson of CNN Last week, he “encouraged” refugees to return to their countries rather than deport them.

“Turkish NGOs are building residential buildings in northern Syria so that refugees can return to their homeland,” Erdogan said. “This process has already begun.”

Growing anti-refugee sentiment in Turkey

Erdogan also appears to have acknowledged the rise in anti-refugee sentiment in his country over the past few years and, in Pecker’s words, “has squeezed the air out of it for the most part.”

For example, after the US withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021, Turkey took additional measures to guard its eastern border to prevent a massive influx of Afghan migrants into the country.

More than 500,000 Syrians have been repatriated in recent years to the safe zone that Turkey has established in northern Syria as a result of military operations, according to official Turkish figures, but critics warned the figure could be exaggerated.

“The opposition has identified growing internal concerns about refugees and their presence in Turkey and has tried to turn this into a major campaign issue,” Peker told HuffPost, explaining that the trend is partly driven by the deteriorating economic conditions in the country over the past few years. .

“Erdogan has been able to largely suppress this, although there is an undercurrent that has now become relatively mainstream in Turkey that is anti-migrant, similar to the discourse in Europe and the US,” Peker added.

The massive influx of refugees into Europe in 2015 provoked backlash in many countries and contributed to the rise of far-right parties.

Republicans in the US have also been vocal against migration: then-candidate Donald Trump rallied voters in the 2016 GOP primaries to build a wall along the southern border to block migrants from crossing the border, though he failed to deliver on that promise.

Tahiroglu added that another problem for Kilicdaroglu is that he has not formulated a plan for how he can carry out the expulsion of millions of migrants.

“They can campaign about it, but there is no effective way,” she said.

“Even those who are concerned about this problem think that if someone solves it, it will be Erdogan,” Tahiroglu continued.

The situation on the ground for refugees in Turkey

Dr. Zaher Sahlul, President and Co-Founder MedGlobalAn organization that helps provide medical care in disaster-stricken regions told HuffPost that, until recently, Turkey was considered a model country for receiving and providing opportunities for refugees.

Rising anti-refugee sentiment and the belief of some Turks that migrants are draining the country’s resources have also been used by politicians in this election cycle.

This means that refugees in Turkey are very concerned about their future in the country, said Sahlul, who visited Turkey three weeks ago.

He added that the repatriation of Syrians is unrealistic given the circumstances in the country, and that those who have built a life in Turkey will not want to leave it.

“Why would someone who lives in a stable country return to a war zone? Or potentially a war zone? Sahlul asked.

Sahlul, originally from Syria, explained that while Syrians are very grateful to Turkey for building hospitals and other infrastructure in the areas they control in the country, it would be wrong to force people to return “without a political decision, without any concession from the regime. without any third party such as the United Nations controlling the return of refugees without reconstruction.”

Will Kilicdaroglu messaging work?

Erdogan’s strong performance in both the presidential and parliamentary elections, after he was able to maintain his majority, means he has every chance of winning re-election this Sunday.

“This creates a lot of momentum for Erdogan, making it easier and more convincing for him to advocate for continuity and stability,” Peker said.

Meanwhile, Kılıçdaroğlu, who lost almost 5 percentage points to Erdoğan, faces an uphill battle.

“Kılıçdaroğlu will have a harder time motivating his base and attracting additional voters to overtake the incumbent,” Pecker added.

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How to prevent confidence from becoming a burden



Promotions are often rewarded to those who move forward confidently and prone to action. Conversely, those who hesitate are often dismissed as negative or not. furtherord. But confidence without a healthy dose of skepticism will land you in hot water, even with the best of intentions.

Take the head of sales for a global retail company who is tired of her company’s supply chain problems—a constant source of dissatisfaction. She had dealt with a similar problem in a previous role, which gave her confidence that she could help. She got permission from the CEO to put together a small secretive team to fix it. Six months later, this small group has achieved nothing for their efforts. The secret was out and the rest of the leadership team was unhappy with it. Her confidence and courage were seen as a power grab and her credibility was undermined.

Youcertain times require undefined leaders– leaders with the maturity to recognize what they don’t know. While not always welcomed, uncertainty is a healthy quality in leaders. This allows you to take a step back and think. However, many leaders find it risky and uncomfortable to express doubts, ask questions, or present a less than rosy picture.

Start with these three steps to become a more insecure leader.

1. honor the hesitation to take deliberation

We are connected to avoid discomfort. However, allowing ourselves to be present with a sense of discomfort helps us to appreciate it as a normal part of life and business. This allows you to pause and reflect while considering all your options.

One day, I was on the verge of signing a 10-year lease on a large office space. On the day we were supposed to sign the lease, I hesitated. It was a big commitment. Part of me was disappointed with myself because I didn’t have the courage. But after talking again with several people inside and outside our firm, I listened to my intuition and decided to stay where we were. Cost and commitment were high and our energy had to be focused on profitable growth.

A year later, a pandemic struck, we closed the office and never returned. Later our company was acquired. We built a portfolio of clients and expanded our business because we focused on the right things. I learned from this that I often put too much pressure on myself to do things that seem brave but might hold me back.

Many leaders struggle with how to make the decision not to do something. We are determined to move forward. To help you pause and respect your insecurities, here are a few questions to ask yourself before moving forward:

  • What if the opposite of what I believe was true?
  • What would critics tell me about this idea?
  • What is behind my belief that I should always know what to do?

2. Share your insecurities to bring your team together

Another approach is to admit that you are insecure and lead others into your confusion. It is best to do this without announcing what you “can do” and without prejudicing your direction. We’ve all heard the leader say, “Here’s what I think; What about you?” The leader’s head would respond with nods and agreement—a recipe for groupthink. Instead, ask, “Here’s the problem I’m trying to solve; how do you see it?” encourages people to give you their best thoughts, not close the conversation.

Our firm’s CEO practices a “beginner mentality” and often admits to being unsure about which direction to take. People are eager to work for real leaders; there is nothing more authentic than admitting that you don’t know what to do next. When she invites people into these conversations, their energy goes through the roof and it becomes a joy to be in the room. They like to be treated as a thought partner.

It works best when you give people as much detail as possible. This gives them the best opportunity to use critical thinking. And they work with you to develop a solution. Copyright is a property right. The people who create the solution will support it.

An association community is key to problem solving. On the other hand, bunkers are idea killers. When people operate in a vacuum, they don’t have the opportunity to understand, learn, and grow, and they often see each other as enemies.

3. Use uncertainty to increase agility

Failure to plan is planning for failure, but over time we learn that a plan is just a starting point. We must be ready to turn. when you make uncertainty your friend, you are more likely to stay on top of the leading indicators and know when to zigzag or corral. If we consider possible scenarios when forming a plan, we will be better prepared to change when necessary.

In leading the scenario planning team, we started with all the economic, social, government, regulatory, environmental, political, and market conditions that could change. We then discussed which of the four scenarios is most relevant and the likelihood of each. The CEO and team said they have never felt better promoting such an important initiative. They welcomed critical thinking in decision making and recognized that things can change. They were ready.

Maintaining a healthy dose of uncertainty allows you to learn how to move forward and stay flexible. When you do this as a team, you release the power of everyone’s insecurities to your advantage.

When it’s timee to make a mess

What if you’ve already gone too far down the road and it’s time to turn? What should you do to unravel this mess?

The CEO of a construction company that suffered the tragic loss of a crew on a construction site didn’t want the team to focus on it. His team became increasingly uncomfortable as they saw, week after week, that this incident was not on the agenda. Finally, the CEO’s most trusted ally brought it to his attention, and his first reaction was anger. But as he thought about it further, he realized that he didn’t know what to do either, and because of that, he avoided further conversation. At the next meeting, when he acknowledged his fear, the team assessed his willingness to acknowledge the mess they had created without taking the time to really explore what needed to be changed.

It’s never too late to accept ignorance. Every day we become more and more aware of how big and unknowable the world is. As we grow older, perhaps we can take solace in the idea that leadership encourages us and others to learn how to move forward.

Suzanne Bates is the managing director btsBoston.

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