Starbucks’ lovely and groundbreaking advert, which features a young trans man summoning up the courage to ask for his new name on his coffee cup, is important: as I’ve written before, representation matters. Seeing someone like you in mainstream media, in this case on a major TV channel, can help you feel that you’re not alone. I had a good cry when I saw it.
There’s been a somewhat mixed response online (discounting the obvious fury of the Prosecco Stormfront mob on Mumsnet) because of course, Starbucks is a big company that’s hardly known for its positive effects on the world around it. But if it’s going to be throwing its money around on advertising anyway, I’d much rather it threw its money at adverts like this one and at charities such as Mermaids, which this campaign is supporting.
My own reaction is amusement, because when I first used my new name in a Starbucks things didn’t happen quite like they did in the advert.
Barista: What’s the name?
Me: No, Carrie.
Them. Sorry, Karen.
Me: No, sorry, it’s Carrie.
ME: No. Carrie. With a C.
Me: No. Carrie. C-A-R-R-I-E.
Me: Yes, Carrie. Like Carrie Fisher. Yes.
Them: OK. (Writes “Harry” on cup)