Monday, January 9, 2012

January 9, 2012 - Australian Tampon Company's Transphobic Ad leads to strange alliance for me


well, another week, and another inadvertant thoughtless assault on the trans community by  uninformed businesses.  this time, Libra, a company that sells tampons, collaborated with an apparently well-known Australian gay male drag queen (who many mistakenly thought was depicting a transgender or transsexual), to put together a 30 second spot for new zealand tv. the ad depicts a ciswoman, and a non-ciswoman, standing side by side in a public washroom. they take turns trying to one up each other in a competitive process to see who can appear more womanly. make up, eye shadow, lip stick, bra adjustment.. and then, boom, the ciswoman whips out a tampon and the other walks away in defeated shame. while their intent was to poke fun at a female impersonator, they inadvertantly offended trans people by implying that they are not real women unless they have functioning ovaries.

when they realized they had offended, Libra realized their error, pulled the ad, and appologized. 

Interestingly enough, the actor spoke out publicly too. Sandee Crack, who is a drag queen by profession, was not initially appologetic. in fact, she released a statement on her website stating that she is a gay man who dresses up as a woman for a career, that she does not identify as trans at all, and felt that the portayal of a drag queen in an ad such as this brought positive attention and awareness to isses faced by drag queens. Sandee even went so far as to suggest those offended were dragphoic.
while i disagree with being considered dragphobic, this is a very interesting example of how and why the 'transgender umbrella' does not work. drag and trans are as different as night and day. for anyone to imply that we belong under the same label is totally ridiculous.

but at the same time, i think both myself and Sandee need to realize that we are stuck under this umbrella label, whether we like it or not.. and the only way to get away from it, is to educate society. yes, we recognize that we are different from cis/heterosexual people, but we are not all the same.

i don't think anyone has a right to tell me when, why, or how i should or should not be offended. bottom line, i was offended, and many others were. as i mentioned in my vlog, we need to learn to understand each other, and stand up for each other. if a body of work offends some of us, then we all need to be patient, understanding, and together in our quest to overcome the insult.

i am pleased to announce that Sandee has responded to my invitation to communicate, and i hope that we can form a unique alliance that will help make this world a more respectful and accepting place for all.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Hi Jen, here is why I think the umbrella works... the opposition does not care if we do Drag or are transexual or in between. They only see us as one thing... an abomination. They have equal hate for all of us. Simple math, we gith with each other, they fight with us, they win. You said it yourself we need to understand each other and support each other, which is why I think the umbrella works. Just my thoughts.