#BoycottStarbucks trending: Starbucks ad promoting trans rights triggers backlash

The #ItStartsWithYourName campaign has triggered opposition and transphobic comments, with the hashtag #BoycottStarbucks trending on Twitter

A general view of a Starbucks store (Photo: Getty Images)
A general view of a Starbucks store (Photo: Getty Images)

NH Web Desk

A new Starbucks ad that promotes the visibility and acceptance of transgender individuals has prompted backlash on social media.

The campaign #ItStartsWithYourName depicts a scene in a cafe between a transgender woman and her parents. Her father, who is seemingly uncomfortable with her gender identity, appears to come around at the end of the ad, when he gives her new name, 'Arpita', to the staff at the cafe as opposed to her dead name (the name she was given at birth and left behind when coming into her trans identity).

"Your name defines who you are—whether it's Arpit or Arpita. At Starbucks, we love and accept you for who you are. Because being yourself means everything to us. #ItStartsWithYourName," the caption reads.

The campaign has now triggered opposition and transphobic comments with the hashtag #BoycottStarbucks trending on Twitter.

A section of social media users has also given the issue a religious colour and has demanded to know whether Starbucks can run similar campaigns in the Middle East.

However, many Twitter users have also praised Starbucks for taking the step towards equality and acceptance. Delhi Commission for Women chairperson Swati Maliwal has said, "It’s a brilliant advertisement by Starbucks which supports LGBTQI+ persons. The people opposing this ad need to get real and get a life!"

The Swaddle, in their assessment of the ad, write, "It remains clear, however, that one needn't look to Starbucks to show how transphobic Indian society continues to be—nor can Starbucks improve the material realities of the trans community in the absence of supportive, affirmative legislation."

On the issue of trans people having to undergo the process of legally changing their names, Jane Fae writes for The Guardian, "Name change processes are a constant source of friction. They slow down your ability to live your life and, when the jobsworths get it wrong, are a source of significant upset. Organisations need to find more respectful ways to deal with individuals."

In this regard, users have appreciated Starbucks for making the effort to bring attention to this issue, despite anticipating backlash.

"Such an amazing emotional ad, kudos to Starbucks for taking this step for India despite knowing the hate they could get and proving they really care. thank you, we support you," Mohit, a Twitter user has said.

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