Ikea ad called ‘negative and stereotypical’ by Thai transgender group

Mike Krumboltz
January 24, 2013

An Ikea ad that aired in Thailand is being called a "gross violation of human rights" by a Thai transgender group.

In the ad, a man and his girlfriend are shopping for furniture at the mega-store. The girlfriend sees an item on sale and her voice drops several levels, alarming her partner. The commercial concludes with the man running away while his girlfriend carries heavy Ikea boxes by herself.

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The Thai Transgender Alliance wrote an open letter to Ikea, calling the 20-second commercial "negative and stereotypical." The letter criticized Ikea for mocking the MTF (male-to-female) character as being "deceitful." Here's an excerpt:

The transgender content of the advertisement is negative and stereotypical in nature, perpetuating misunderstanding transgenderism as human sexuality for "deceitful and deviant lifestyle."

The alliance warned that such depictions could "lead to violence and various forms of abuses such as sexual harassment." The group has demanded an apology from Ikea.

The ad, titled "Luem Aeb"—which translates roughly to "Forgot to Deceive"—ran on Bangkok's train system for several weeks beginning in late December.

Phone calls seeking comment from Ikea were not immediately returned.

Reuters reported that Ikea spoke with members of the Thai Transgender Alliance and is currently in the process of drafting a response.