Stonewall's trans rights counter-ad in the Metro shows the power of the LGBTQ+ community
18 October 2018 10:56
Last week, an ad appeared in Metro that made me look twice. ‘Surely not?’ I thought to myself. ‘Are they really suggesting… No, of course not, they wouldn’t run that – would they?’ At first glance, its message seemed subtle, but upon further reflection, it only initially seemed this way because it was so surreal. When I looked a little longer, the message was very much loud and clear: ‘THINK ABOUT IT #ChooseReality’ it said in white text, within a large, red block of colour. There was also some limited text sounding off about birth certificates and sexualising body parts.
The ad was placed by Fair Play For Women, an ‘apolitical’ group claiming to protect women’s rights. You’d think that, in the current social climate, with the UK being somewhat further ahead when it comes to attitudes towards gender and sexuality than most countries, this kind of stunt would be totally frowned upon. Surely a newspaper with such a far-reaching audience as Metro wouldn’t dream of placing an ad that so openly shunned an entire community and was, to put it bluntly, totally transphobic. Alas, they were happy to pick up the supposed five figure sum for the advertising placement. Gross, right?
Thankfully, true-to-form and ever impressive, Stonewall came to save the day – or at least redeem it. Yesterday, they paid for their own counter-ad in the Metro, in collaboration with a plethora of brands, agencies and publications spanning a multitude of industries, including Tesco, eBay, C4, ITV and Absolut (to name a very fair few). We need to embrace this for all it’s worth (and let’s face it, it was probably worth a lot). This simple ad perfectly shows that there is support for the UK’s transgender community, and that this support is worth investing in. It sends the message to everyone – brand, agency or individual – that the LGBTQ+ community aren’t messing around when it comes to ensuring that all members of that anagram are considered and cared for in equal measure. We will look after each other and we’re here to help.
During the annual Pride season, there’s much debate about brand sponsorship and affiliation with the celebration. Some people believe that these brands are merely cashing in on the ‘pink pound’, putting on a facade to make money off the LGBTQ+ community. This campaign shows that having support from those big, belt-busting money-makers can have its perks – and it’s certainly helped to distinguish between the brands that really mean it when they’re rolling out their LGBTQ-friendly ads during Pride Month. With their help, the community has sent a counter message that is loud, proud and clear: we’re here, we’re queer, and we will fight for our rights.