John M. Becker

Indiana Sport Clips Store Runs Transphobic Ad

Filed By John M. Becker | March 12, 2014 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: advertising, anti-trans ads, anti-trans stereotypes, bathroom panic, bathroom scare, gender binary, Indiana, SportClips, transphobia

A Bilerico reader in Indiana passed along this photo of a transphobic advertisement for Sport Clips, a national chain of men's haircut salons headquartered in Georgetown, Texas.

It shows a row of urinals in a bathroom, with three people using them. We see the subjects from the back, and while two of them present as stereotypically male, the third has long hair and wears a tight-fitting top and a skirt. The ad reads as follows: "Some things are made just for guys... Sport Clips is one of them."

Look:

transphobic-sportclips-ad.JPG

More information, after the jump.

The reader says he spotted the ad on the inside of the men's bathroom door at the company's Greenwood Springs location in Greenwood, Indiana.

While I doubt this ad was intended to be transphobic, it nevertheless reinforces the false gender binary and perpetuates divisive, outdated stereotypes about manhood and masculinity. But what upsets me most is that it plays into anti-trans "bathroom panic." While most of us take it for granted that we can easily access public restrooms, trans people routinely face harassment and even violence simply for seeking a place to pee in peace. And ads like this, which poke fun at anyone who isn't "one of the guys," are part of the problem.

The Bilerico Project reached out to the Sport Clips corporate office requesting comment and clarification about how many of their locations are using this offensive ad, but they have not responded as of this writing. Unless they're fine with contributing to anti-trans bigotry and violence, the ad needs to come down now.

UPDATE: Sport Clips Vice President of Marketing Martha England issued the following response via email:

The ad was developed more than a decade ago as a way to communicate the company as one that focuses on haircuts for men and boys. We have since created new materials for our individually-owned stores to access and utilize. We do listen to and respect feedback on all of our communications efforts. We specialize in hair care for men and boys, much like a barbershop, but we do welcome all clients.


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