A “disrespectful” IKEA transgender ad has sparked outrage among LGBT and transgender communities after it aired in Thailand, with many feeling the spot reinforces negative and harmful stereotypes.
The IKEA transgender ad aired late last month and early this month, and the premise — put forth by a retailer that was one of the first to embrace the LGBT community in advertising — uses humor about a trans person in the closet as the main joke.
Gay blog Queerty explains the IKEA transgender ad, saying:
“An ad tagged ‘Forget to Deceive’ aired in late December and January and depicts a young woman so surprised by a bargain that she speaks in a deep male voice (the suggestion being that she’s trans or in drag). The woman’s male companion looks aghast and runs away, as she is left to schlep a heavy box of flat-packed furniture.”
The Thai Transgender Alliance has responded to the IKEA transgender ad with an open letter, noting that the spot advances certain common and harmful trans stereotypes.
According to the Alliance, the IKEA transgender ad in particular promotes the idea that trans people seek to trick others and says that “the transgender content of the advertisement is negative and stereotypical in nature, perpetuating misunderstanding transgenderism as human sexuality for ‘deceitful and deviant lifestyle.’”
IKEA has responded to the controversy, indicating that the company has “spoken to the group over the telephone and the conversation went very smoothly” and says they are “now drafting a letter in response.”
Below, you can watch the IKEA transgender ad as it aired originally.