Starbucks’ heartwarming new ad shows dad embracing trans daughter

A promotional still from Starbucks India's new ad Photo: Starbucks India

Starbucks India has released a heartwarming ad that shows two parents accepting their transgender daughter.

The two-minute ad, part of Starbucks India’s “It Starts With Your Name” campaign, begins with two parents nervously sitting inside a coffeehouse while awaiting the arrival of their child. The father calls the child on his phone, bringing up the image of a male-presenting young adult child named “Arpit.”

When the child doesn’t answer the call, the mother tells the father, “Listen … don’t get angry this time please.” At this point, their child (played by trans Indian actress Sia) walks through the door in long hair, earrings, and a red dress. She hugs her mom and places a gentle arm around her father before sitting at the table with them.

After a tense moment, the daughter says, “Thank you for meeting me, Dad. I know it’s been years but you still mean the world to me.” The father looks down and slightly smiles. He then rises and asks her if she’d like coffee, which she does.

The mother then reassuringly holds her daughter’s hand as the father orders from the counter. When the coffees are made, the barista announces “Three coffees for Arpita,” meaning that the father respected his daughter’s identity by using her correct name.

Addressing his daughter, the father then says, “For me, you are still my kid, only a letter has got added to your name. The daughter than looks genuinely touched by his words as the father extends his hand across the table to hold his daughter’s hand in support. The family then smiles and drinks coffee.

“With the #ItStartsWithYourName campaign – we hope to further drive the message of being a welcoming, inclusive brand where nothing matters to us more than our customers’ comfort,” said Deepa Krishnan, chief marketing officer of Starbucks India. “We understand that our customers enjoy and cherish their individuality and we are always ready to celebrate it with them.”

In the U.S., Starbucks has a perfect 100 out of 100 rating on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, a measure of a company’s pro-LGBTQ+ workplace policies. The company’s health insurance provides coverage for gender-affirming care for employees who work an average of at least 20 hours per week. The coverage includes breast reduction or augmentation, facial feminization, hair transplants, and other trans-specific needs.

In May 2022, the company announced that it would pay travel costs for trans employees getting gender-affirming care in states that haven’t restricted such care. The company also regularly irritates right-wing Christians by writing “Happy Holidays” and “Seasons Greetings” on its red end-of-year coffee cups.

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