Tag Archives: advertisement

P&G Transgender Advertisement Continues to Lead Debate in India

Earlier this year Proctor & Gamble released a short film sponsored by theirĀ Vicks line of products, which highlights the real-life story of Gayatri, a young Indian orphan who was adopted by Gauri Sawant, a 37-year-old Mumbai-based transgender woman and social activist. The video has gone viral, with almost 10 million views on YouTube, and is notable that no professional actors are used – both Gayatri and her mother Gauri appear as themselves in the video. Thus avoiding the nearly ubiquitous marginalization of our people via transface (artistic portrayal of transgender persons by cisgender persons).

The video tells the story of Gayatri’s life, starting with how when she was 6 years old her mother, a sex worker, died of AIDS. Gauri, her mother’s friend, decided to raise her as her own (despite the fact that she is forbidden legally from adopting the child herself). The video has spurred debate yet again regarding the rights of both transgender and third-gender, or hijra persons in the country. Statistics vary widely on the number of transgender persons in India, but it is estimated that as many as 2 million citizens are hijra, with potentially another million being transgender persons. Both communities face institutionalized class-based and caste-based discrimination in employment, housing, voting rights, and even access to basic social services.

The film composition is very well done and heartwarming, and highlights the inhumanity of denying transgender persons and their families basic human rights. It emphasizes this when Gayatri says the following:

My Civics book says that everyone is entitled to basic rights. Then why is my mom denied them? That’s why I’m not going to be a doctor, I will be a lawyer. For my mom.

The film is well worth your time to watch.

Danish Prime-Time Advertisement Celebrates Transgender Acceptance

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted about things not concerning KKFI and Trans Talk. It’s not been a good year for us here at Transas City, not at all. But the election…debacle has convinced me that I need to get the energy to rejuvenate Transas City, and get my hundreds of backlogged historical and science items out in the public.

But first I wanted to highlight a current television advertisement from Denmark – inarguably the home of Western transsexual history – showing a father trying to reach out to his transgender daughter at Christmas time. The advertisement is for Danish electronics retailer Elgiganten, and is titled (after translation) “Let the Gifts Talk.” The advertisement shows a transgender teenager or woman spending a tense Christmas with her parents, obviously scared and uncomfortable.
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The entire family seems tense as her father grimly presents her with a gift, that as she hesitantly opens turns out to be a hair straightener/curler set. There’s a shy smile from her, and an almost-smile from the still grim father.
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Some have criticized the advertisement for the father not showing “enough” acceptance, not being as friendly and welcoming to his daughter as he should be. But in my experience, as I’m certain that of innumerable others, acceptance and welcoming are such a gradual process, and every family works on their own timetable. Sometimes it goes in fits and starts – the old “two steps forward, one step backward.” But other times, it is just a very slow, gradual evolution, like ice melting. The latter is what I believe this advertisement is showing.

You can view the advertisement below via YouTube.