4 Jan 2012

Controversial tampon ad may be canned

7:38 am on 4 January 2012

A company that makes women's hygiene products says it may cancel an advertisement which has been labelled transphobic and provoked a storm of criticism.

The ad for Libra tampons recently began screening in New Zealand. It features a woman and a transsexual person competing in a nightclub restroom to prove who is the most womanly - a contest won by the woman.

The ad shows both putting on make-up and adjusting their bras competitively. The blonde woman then pulls out a tampon from her purse and the transsexual looks angry and then leaves.

Hundreds of people have criticised the ad, saying it suggests transsexuals should not be able to identify themselves as women. But others say the objections to it are political correctness gone mad.

Georgina Beyer, a former Labour Party MP and the world's first elected transgender politician, says she appreciates support shown for the transsexual community.

"It is a cheap shot - somebody got paid enormous amounts of money to come up with that and at the expense of a minority in our society.

"The last thing they need is to be having inane comments like that being made about them."

A spokesperson for Wellington Gay Welfare, Stu Donaldson, believes the ad is damaging to the transgender community and should never be broadcast again.

"To have this ad on television and make a joke of it and ridicule transgenders, it's not really acceptable. It can lead to suicide.

"You really have be brave to face up to the fact that you're transgender and do something about it. I mean, the consequences can be really serious."

Libra has published a statement expressing regret at any offence taken and promising to review future air-time arrangements.