I was surprised to see an article in the news today concerning an anti-trans advert that has been airing in Thailand over the Christmas period. Anti-trans content in film and cinema is, unfortunately, nothing new but what surprised me the most was that it came out of Thailand.
As far as I was aware Trans people are more visible and accepted in Thai culture than other countries, generally being treated with respect. Yes, I’m sure we’ve all heard about the stereotypes of ‘Thai Lady Boys’ being sex workers, which I’m sure is true, but there is more to any gender, race or religion than those few who work in the sex industry. Thailand has had many Trans beauty queens, champion Trans Volleyball teams and even Thai Boxers.
For a country that seems to be so progressive with their acceptance of Trans people and acknowledge that they are just ordinary folk living normal lives it’s shocking to see a television advertisement where they are so openly mocked.
The advert in question if for Ikea, and is called Luem Aeb which translates to ‘forget to deceive’. The advert show a couple that are walking through an Ikea store when the woman is so surprised by the deals that she slips into a male voice, much to the horror of her male companion. The woman is then seen carrying a heavy box as her companion runs away.
Thai Transgender Alliance has issued a letter of complaint to Ikea and has said that the company should issue an apology.
It seems like ever step forward the Trans community takes we have to deal with another knock back. I don’t understand why people see to still think that it’s okay to be able to use the Transgender community as a joke subject. The advert isn’t one of the worst offenders, but even small slights against the Trans community can have a devastating effect.