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01st Aug 2023

Costa Coffee defends trans mural after boycott calls

Charlie Herbert

Costa Coffee mural depicting a transgender person with chest scars

Costa Coffee has faced calls for a boycott because of a Pride mural which includes a cartoon picture of a trans person.

The image, which is part of a design for the company’s Brighton and Hove branch and was created for last year’s Pride Month, shows a cartoon surfer holding a coffee cup and wearing yellow swimming shorts. The person also has two scars on their chest.

It is common for a transgender man – someone who was assigned female gender at birth but identifies as a man – to have chest scars if they have undergone top surgery to have breast tissue removed, a procedure called a double mastectomy or top surgery.

After pictures of the cartoon depiction were shared online, some hit out at Costa for the image and called for a boycott.

This included the anti-Pride Laurence Fox, who accused the coffee chain of “promoting the mutilation of healthy young girls.”

(X/Laurence Fox)

Meanwhile, Tanya Carter, spokesperson for the gender-critical Safe Schools Alliance, told the MailOnline it was “crass and irresponsible” for Costa to use the image.

And #BoycottCostaCoffee has been trending on Twitter.

Following the backlash, the chain has defended the image, saying it was created as part of a mural for last year’s Pride Month and “celebrates inclusivity.”

In a statement, Costa said: “At Costa Coffee, we celebrate the diversity of our customers, team members and partners.

“We want everyone that interacts with us to experience the inclusive environment that we create, to encourage people to feel welcomed, free and unashamedly proud to be themselves.

“The mural, in its entirety, showcases and celebrates inclusivity.”

Others have praised Costa for the mural, and have called out the backlash to the mural as transphobic.

Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle told Talk TV that the mural celebrates “the diversity of how people live.”

He pointed out that the mural “does not go into details about the motivation of the person” and said it “celebrates the diversity of people and people’s body.”

He continued: “Lots of people make adjustments to their breasts and other parts of their body because they are unhappy with them.

“I think it’s rather judgemental to be forcing your view of what somebody’s body should look like.

“If you don’t want to go to Costa as well, I think that’s your choice as well and that’s fine.”

Author and trans rights campaigner Ugla Stefania described the picture as a “lovely illustration” and said people labelling consensual surgeries such as double mastectomies as ‘mutilation’ are “showing their disrespect to actual survivors of genital mutilation.”

Adults wishing to undergo gender reassignment surgery, such as double mastectomy, are referred through NHS gender identity services. The waiting list for an initial appointment currently stands at a minimum of five years before further assessments and an eventual referral for surgery, ITV reports.

Children cannot get this kind of surgery in the UK.

Related links:

Transgender man gives birth to twins

First trans Miss Netherlands was shocked at the reaction she got from her competitors

‘I got pregnant after Grindr one night stand while transitioning to become a man’