No Comment: “Always”‘ Transphobic Drag Queen Ad

[Update: It seems the viral video was either a spoof or a potential ad that Always decided not to run. We apologize to Always, but still find the ideas behind the video–whoever made it–pretty offensive. Thanks to Ms. blog commenters for keeping us accurate!]

A viral video claiming to be an Always ad for menstrual pads manages to pack a walloping amount of insensitivity into just 47 seconds. The online clip opens with shots of drag queens weeping. Melancholy jazz floats through the background.

There are some people who’d just love to have a period,” the screen reads. “Let alone a happy one.”

Cut to a near-hysterical drag queen, sobbing on the toilet. She slams the stall door shut, and the camera zooms in on the “gentlemen” sign. Get the punch line? They’re actually men!

First of all, let’s get something straight: Being transgender does not necessarily mean being a drag queen. Not all drag queens want to become biological women, as the ad seemingly suggests. Not all transgender people perform drag. There’s a difference.

And call me humorless, but I failed to see what’s funny about the supposed Always commercial given the real trauma that many trans people go through. A 2011 report by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force found that that 41 percent of surveyed transgender individuals had attempted suicide–a rate higher even than among the chronically depressed or members of the military. Being assigned to the wrong gender can be overwhelming on its own, only to be made far worse by the harassment and discrimination suffered by 90 percent of transgender people. That someone would attempt to make light of this very real and everyday suffering is pretty horrifying.

I still hate getting my period. But now I hate the creators of this video too, for mocking others’ hardship to sell me a pad.


Christie is a senior Journalism and International Studies major at Northwestern University. Recently returned from a semester in India, she is ready to take on international women's issues and the L.A. public transit system.