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Omaha retailers say they won't pull merchandise due to Pride pushback

By Alex Whitney,


It is officially Pride month but threats of violence have some of the nation’s largest brands pulling Pride merchandise.

“It's disheartening to hear all of the backlash that has been happening. So many people think it's political, that this is two-sided. It's not,” said Samuel Parnell with Heartland Pride.

Not every retailer is pulling Pride merchandise.

Some local shops, like Raygun, are proudly displaying their pride apparel and say they aren’t worried about threats to their business.

“Not concerned at all. We have dealt with more far-right people coming in and talking about their ideology such as Trump and political stuff like that. But no problems with anything like that. If it does happen we have strong allies on our team and we would protect our brothers and sisters in the community,” said Giovanni Williams with Raygun.

Parnell said Heartland Pride has received threats in the past but they are confident their on-site security, as well as a strong partnership with the Omaha Police Department, will keep everyone safe at this year’s Pride.

Unfortunately, though, both Parnell and Giovanni recognize that attacks on retailers are only the latest wave of backlash facing the LGBTQ community. They feel recent moves by lawmakers pushing anti-LGBTQ legislation show that anti-LGBTQ sentiment is growing in Nebraska as well.

“As a whole, I think Nebraska has become less welcoming, especially over the last few months to LGBTQ people. Specifically trans people and especially our youth trans,” said Parnell.

Parnell says, though, that shops like Raygun remind him that Nebraskans care about their LGBTQ-plus community and show they are proud to celebrate Pride.

“We really want to make the best Omaha we can. Taking it one step at a time, whether it's a T-shirt that says 'Say Gay Every Day' or 'Abortions and healthcare matters,' — it's really nice,” said Williams.

While June is Pride month the Heartland Pride festival won’t kick off until next month on July 15.

KMTV is a sponsor of Heartland Pride.

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