A recently unveiled advert for IKEA in Thailand has been heavily criticised for its depiction of a trans woman, which has been described by a trans rights group as a “violation of human rights”, and “negative and stereotypical.”
In the advert a Thai man and his girlfriend are shopping in IKEA, when she sees pillows on sale, gets excited and her voice drops suddenly to a deep male-like tone.
The IKEA advert has caused offence to a Thai trans rights group which wrote an open letter to the Swedish furniture retailer.
The video appeared on YouTube, as well as being shown on trains in Bankok in December and January. It was titled “Luem Aeb”. which translates as “Forget to Keep Hidden.”
The Thai Transgender Alliance demanded an explanation from IKEA.
Transgender people are widely accepted in Thailand in the fashion, beauty and entertainment industries, but are not officially recognised as female.
Yahoo reported that an unidentified marketing official at IKEA Thailand confirmed that the retailer had been in contact with the Thai Transgender Alliance, and that it was drafting a response to the open letter.
“IKEA has spoken to the group over the telephone and the conversation went very smoothly. We are now drafting a letter in response,”
The first IKEA was opened in Thailand in November 2011.
Historically very progressive in its approach to advertising, in 2011, IKEA, the world’s largest furniture retailer released an advert in Italy featuring a gay couple which showed two men holding hands under the slogan: “We are open to all families.”