A new Starbucks ad featuring a transgender boy is making a push for trans acceptance in the UK.
According to LGBTQ Nation, the commercial is part of a partnership with the UK transgender youth organization Mermaids. Part of the coffee chain’s “What’s your name?” campaign, the ad follows a trans teen named James as he goes about his day; we see him being repeatedly called by his deadname – at the doctor’s office, on his student ID card, by family.
At the end of the ad – which won the Channel 4 Diversity Award 2019 – he goes into Starbucks to place an order. The barista asks him his name, and he responds, “It’s James,” as the employee writes it on his cup.
Response to the ad on social media was welcoming. Many transgender people took the opportunity to share stories of their own first time using their name at Starbucks.
On Twitter, @Daniel83522138 commented, “As someone who is trans, I can not express how much this means to me. It may seem like a small thing, but to a trans person it means everything. Thank you Starbucks.”
@Harperexpress posted a picture of her own cup from the first time she used her true name at Starbucks, with the caption, “This was from 2 years ago at Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam. It was such a beautifully written confirmation of who I am.”
Another, @remembrancermx, wrote, “I knew the moment my name was said in Starbucks that it was my name & always meant to be my name. I’ve officially changed it now, but still family won’t accept it, & it’s good to know there’s a place it will always be respected.”
Some comments came from family and allies of trans individuals, such as @mimmymum, who commented, “Gorgeous ad! As the parent of a trans son, this put a real lump in my throat.”
Starbucks is also selling limited edition mermaid cookies in an effort to raise up to £100,000 – that’s $130,000 – of funds for Mermaids. The ad will air on television in the UK and online elsewhere in the world.
You can watch it below.