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Groundbreaking New Starbucks India Ad Featuring Trans Woman Hit With Conservative Backlash

Starbucks India's '#ItStartsWithYourName' campaign features father's powerful attempt at connecting with his estranged trans daughter.

YouTube screenshots from Starbucks India's ad featuring a transgender woman
Starbucks India/YouTube

A recent ad campaign by Starbucks India featuring a transgender model sparked controversy and garnered mixed reactions on social media platforms worldwide.

Titled "#ItStartsWithYourName," the two-minute advertisement portrays a Hindi-speaking family gathering at a Starbucks to reconcile the strained relationship between a father and his transgender daughter.

Initially met with tension, the father ultimately expresses his acceptance by ordering coffees for the entire family under his daughter's new name, "Arpita."

You can see the ad for yourself below.

The ad—viewed millions of times since its release last week—evoked a wide range of responses.

People heaped their praises on the ad for representation, authenticity and the overall message. But it also met staunch opposition from transphobes.

Many individuals of South Asian descent commended the depiction, stating it resonates with their own experiences and represents a significant step forward for young members of the LGBTQ+ community in India.

However, transphobic critics in both the United States and India condemned Starbucks.

They've accused the company of embracing "wokeness."

Some called for a boycott much like the one after transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney partnered with Bud Light's parent company Anheuser-Busch.

Despite the backlash, a Starbucks spokesperson affirmed the company's unwavering support for the transgender community.

The spokesperson emphasized the advertisement "shows how Tata Starbucks is committed to making people of all backgrounds and identities feel welcome." The spokesperson further reiterated Starbucks' dedication to using its platform to advocate for "inclusion and diversity across the communities" it serves worldwide.

The ad's impact reaches beyond the boundaries of traditional advertising, serving as a catalyst for discussions surrounding acceptance, family dynamics and LGBTQ+ rights, highlighting the challenges faced by transgender individuals in India and beyond.

By featuring a transgender model and showcasing a narrative of familial acceptance, Starbucks India's campaign seeks to promote empathy, understanding and inclusivity.