Bitter transphobes threaten Starbucks boycott over heartwarming advert

Screenshot from Starbucks ad showing Arpita looking at coffees

Transphobes are raging on social media over a trans-inclusive Starbucks ad and – unsurprisingly – are calling for people to boycott the coffee company. 

On Wednesday (10 May), Starbucks India released a new advertisement for its ‘It Starts With Your Name’ campaign, aiming to showcase the multinational coffee company as an inclusive and accepting place. 

The video ad, which was shared on Twitter, shows two middle-aged parents waiting at a Starbucks coffee house for their child, Arpit, to arrive. 

The pair seem nervous and the mother says to her husband “listen … don’t get angry this time please,” followed by a young woman – who is equally nervous – walking through the door. 

It is the couple’s child, who is transitioning.

She embraces her mother and shares a tentative one-armed embrace with her father, who is clearly struggling with her transition, before saying: “Thank you for meeting me, Dad. I know it’s been years but you still mean the world to me.” 

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Silently, the father nods and gets up to order coffee as the young woman and her mother hold hands over the table. 

He sits back down after ordering and the barista then calls out: “Three cold coffees for Arpita.”

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Arpita looks at father, overwhelmed, as she realises he accepts her for who she is. 

“For me, you are still my kid, only a letter got added to your name,” her father tells her. 

The advertisement ends with the hashtag #ItStartsWithYourName. 

Transphobes were quick to rage against the emotional video, calling for a boycott of Starbucks and mirroring the transphobic backlash against beer brand Bud Light for partnering with TikTok sensation Dylan Mulvaney.

“Starbucks AD be like ‘We are WOKEs! So lets [sic] all be WOKEs together!!’,” one Twitter user wrote. 

Another said the ad would cause a “dent” in Starbucks brand. 

A third user, who said they are a “huge” Starbucks fan and spend “thousands of rupees” a year on their coffee, said they cannot believe the company would “launch a woke campaign in the name of advertisement”. 

This is not the first time Starbucks has run a trans-inclusive advertisement campaign. 

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In 2020, Starbucks UK launched its #WhatsYourName advert which followed a young trans man named James, who goes through several situations where his deadname is used. 

At the end of the ad, James then goes to Starbucks where he experiences the gender euphoria of having his true name read out by the barista.  

However, the company has garnered criticism from the trans community and has faced allegations from employees that it is not as trans-friendly behind the scenes. 

Following the release of the UK ad, ex-Starbucks staff came forward to criticise the brand for its treatment of trans workers, some of whom claimed gender-affirming care was not covered when Starbucks said it would be, they had been outed and faced harassment from managers. 

In March, a trans worker in Southampton who accused a customer of being transphobic was fired

In a now-viral video, the employee can be seen refusing to serve the customer, saying: “You’re calling me a man, you’re being transphobic, Karen. Now get out.”

The barista proceeded to clap in the customer’s face and, as a result of the incident, was let go by a licensee called 23.5 Degrees which operates the Starbucks outlet. 

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