"Disrespectful" IKEA ad touches nerve with Thai transsexuals
BANGKOK | Thu Jan 24, 2013 6:56am EST
BANGKOK (Reuters) - A Thai man and his girlfriend are shopping at a furniture store. She sees pillows on sale and gets excited, her feminine voice falls suddenly to a deep male-like tone.
Shocked and horrified, her boyfriend runs off.
The advertisement by IKEA, the world's biggest furniture retailer, has incensed a Thai transgender group which called it "negative and stereotypical" and "a gross violation of human rights" in an open letter to the Swedish retail giant.
The 20-second commercial shown on YouTube (link.reuters.com/gyz45t) and on Bangkok's trains in December and January entitled "Luem Aeb" ("Forget to Keep Hidden"), was disrespectful to transsexuals, according to the Thai Transgender Alliance, which demanded an explanation from IKEA.
Transgenders, or "Ladyboys" as they are often referred to, are widely accepted in Thailand and are commonplace in the fashion, beauty and entertainment industries, but are not officially recognized as women.
(Reporting by Amy Sawitta Lefevre; Editing by Martin Petty and Ron Popeski)