Costa Coffee trans mural is ‘bold, beautiful’ and important: ‘Top surgery is self-love’

On the left is a photo of an illustration taken at a Costa which shows a trans masculine person drinking coffee. On the right is a picture of Fox Fisher, a non-binary, trans masculine artist. They are pictured against a pink background and are wearing a grey sweatshirt.

A Costa Coffee mural depicting a trans-masculine person with top surgery scars is a “breath of fresh air” in a time when trans rights are under attack, says artist Fox Fisher.

The hashtag #BoycottCostaCoffee was shared widely on Twitter after a picture of a mural on the side of a Costa van, showing a person with top surgery scars, was posted online.

Anti-trans campaigners have accused Costa of promoting “self-harm” – but for the trans community, the illustration is a powerful representation of the liberation and joy that comes with top surgery.

Fox Fisher is an artist, author and film-maker who is non-binary, and who had top surgery more than a decade ago.

“To some, it might seem that top surgery scars are horrific,” they tell PinkNews.

“But to those who have it, it’s a sign of liberation.

You may like to watch

“For me, having top surgery 12 years ago was an act of self-love and I’m grateful every day for taking the steps to give myself more euphoria on a daily basis, every time I pull on a t-shirt without having to wear a binder.”

Fox continues: “Costa showing support for underrepresented and misrepresented people within our wide-ranging LGBTQIA+, and specifically trans, community is a breath of fresh air, when so many other outlets and organisations are restricting trans lives.” 

Fox Fisher standing against a blue background.
Fox Fisher. (Supplied)

Contrary to the furious reactions on social media, Fox says the illustration is a “bold and beautiful work” that deserves widespread attention and love.

“Businesses like Costa showing their support by featuring a trans masculine person drinking coffee shouldn’t be cause for such outrage.” 

In fact, Fox says campaigns like Costa’s can help “break down stigma and prejudice”.

“For other brands that want to feature trans people, my advice is simple: involve trans people from the start and let them shape your campaign and representation. Don’t create something and then consult someone afterwards – have them in the room from the jump.

“And once it’s out, remember why you did it in the first place – don’t let hatred and backlash take away from your values and support for underrepresented communities. Support us when we need it the most, and make sure you donate and give to organisations fighting for our rights.” 

Costa Coffee wanted to celebrate ‘diversity’ with trans masculine mural

In the face of backlash, Costa has defended the mural and doubled down on its support for trans people.

In a statement on Tuesday (1 August), the company said: “At Costa Coffee we celebrate the diversity of our customers, team members and partners.

A latte is poured into a branded Costa Coffee mug in this arranged photo at a Costa Costa coffee shop on August 31, 2018 in London, England.
A latte is poured into a branded Costa Coffee mug in this arranged photo at a Costa Costa coffee shop on August 31, 2018 in London, England. (Dan Kitwood/Getty)

“We want everyone that interacts with us to experience the inclusive environment that we create, to encourage people to feel welcomed, free and unashamedly proud to be themselves. 

“The mural, in its entirety, showcases and celebrates inclusively.” 

Since the Costa illustration was shared on social media, it has attracted ire and vitriol from anti-trans campaigners, while many trans people have praised the drawing as an authentic representation of the trans masculine experience.

Mark Grimshaw, a stand-up comedian, tweeted: “It really is impossible to explain how deeply unhinged this country is to have Costa Coffee trending for 24 hours for the simple act of depicting a trans man in a mural. There’s no justifiable reason for being angry at a drawing of a trans person, it’s purely bigotry.” 

Laurence Fox, the former actor and now failed politician, has taken to sharing edited, bloody versions of the graphic on Twitter, accusing the company of “child mutilation” and describing the drawing as “pure evil”.

Other campaigners have followed suit, with some facing mockery for sharing pictures of themselves eating in M&S instead of Costa over the controversy.