time to raise the level

Hello boys and girls and everyone else, just a quick note today.
I don’t know if you’ve seen it on TV yet, but Meteor have a new ad out. It’s about the things Mr. and Ms. Protagonist would do to get free internet access, and most of it is amusing (chase down a bus, steal from the neighbours, etc). However, the last item involves Mr. Protagonist going ‘to the first bar [he finds] with free wifi’. This bar is populated with drag queens, including one who’s dancing with Protagonist as he tries to check his phone, looking bored, distressed, and generally uncomfortable.

I fail to see the amusement value in Protagonist’s revulsion at ending up in what is clearly an LGBT space, myself.
Trans Media Watch, a UK organisation, didn’t find it particularly funny either, but Meteor’s PR team gave them this curious non-excuse. The same answer was given to me when I spoke up as a Meteor customer.

Look, I don’t like an internet pile-on, and I’m not going to talk about my very important hurt feelings, so this post is not going that way. I’m just going to say this: transgender people, and anyone on the trans* spectrum, get an awful lot of this bullshit. A seriously massive amount, that most of us in the cisgender** majority don’t even notice, because it doesn’t affect us the same way – but once you start noticing it, it becomes glaringly, cringingly obvious that we’re being sold lowest-common-denominator bigotry in the guise of humour.

And that’s some bullshit, really.

Meteor, your customers aren’t all bigots and we aren’t all ignorant. Come to that, we aren’t all even cisgender. And you’re a good company, whose customer service I’ve always found helpful and responsive. You’re better than the using a cheap laugh at the expense of a mistreated minority to sell your product.

Please withdraw this advertisement. An apology to Ireland’s LGBT community – but particularly the T, for transgender, part – would be appreciated, but mainly: take down the ad. Stop playing to the cheap seats. Stop assuming we’re all ignorant enough to think that transphobia is the height of humour.

(**‘cisgender’ means that your gender matches that which was assigned to you at birth based on your anatomy – it’s the opposite of transgender)


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