A recent IKEA ad has a transgendered advocacy group up in arms in Thailand, where so-called "Ladyboys" are widely accepted in the country's culture.
The commercial for the world's largest furniture retailer shows a man and a woman entering an IKEA store. At first, the woman speaks in a feminine voice. After seeing everything that's available in the store, however, she apparently forgets to conceal her transgender identity. The man looks shocked and horrified. The commercial ends with the man running away as the woman hauls off boxes of furniture.
The Thai Transgender Alliance was furious and reportedly deeply hurt over the clip, penning a public letter to IKEA that demanded an explanation.
"The MTF transgender/transwomen character is openly mocked as being 'deceitful,'"' the letter said
. “The transgender content of the advertisement is negative and stereotypical in nature, perpetuating misunderstanding transgenderism as human sexuality for ‘deceitful and deviant lifestyle.'"
The ad is titled "Luem Aeb" which translates to "Forget to Decieve." It was shown on YouTube and on Thailand's SkyTrain network between Dec. 28 and Jan. 13.
Reuters reported that an IKEA spokesperson spoke with a representative from the Thai Transgender Alliance about the ad.
"IKEA has spoken to the group over the telephone and the conversation went very smoothly. We are now drafting a letter in response," the representative said, declining to be named.
"Ladyboys," as many transgendered people are referred to in Thailand, commonly appear in the industries of fashion, beauty, and entertainment but are not recognized as women.
You can view the 20-second clip below.
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