Pantene doubles down on support for transgender youth after backlash to ad featuring LGBTQ family

Kerry Justich
·4 min read

Pantene made waves on social media recently for releasing its latest Pantene Pro-V commercial, which features a young transgender girl and her lesbian mothers. Now, the haircare company is doubling down in its stance against transphobia after the March 15th ad received mixed responses.

"Hair is a large part of our identity. And for LGBTQ+ youth like Sawyer, who choose to express themselves, their style, & their creativity through their hair style, it can help them feel seen," Pantene Pro-V tweeted alongside a video sharing Sawyer's story, as told by her and her moms Ellie and Ashley.

Pantene faces backlash for commercial featuring LGBTQ family. (Photo: Twitter/Pantene Pro-V)
Pantene faces backlash for commercial featuring LGBTQ family. (Photo: Twitter/Pantene Pro-V)

"I remember the first time she was out in the community wearing the clothing she wanted, and her hair, and she kind of was herself. And that was the first day where I saw her," Ashley says in the video. "She has always been super gender creative and hair has been a big part of her transition. Once she told us that identified as a girl, she immediately wanted to grow her hair out."

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Sawyer adds, "It made me feel good and confident and made my insides match my outsides."

And while some took to the tweet's replies to share sweet sentiments about Pantene's ability to make LGBTQ youth feel seen and validated, with one person sharing that "it's wonderful seeing trans kids with supportive parents," many others bashed the ad. "A swing and a miss," one person called it. "More shampoo. Less agenda," another replied.

On March 19, Pantene Pro-V issued a statement in response to the negativity.

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"Transphobia has no place in our world or on our feed," the brand wrote. "In response to the bullying & harassment directed at those featured in the video of our last post: We stand with this #BeautifulLGBTQ family & the entire community."

The statement again received mixed reactions, with standout comments in support of the brand.

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A representative for Pantene further explains its commitment to representing LGBTQ families, telling Yahoo Life that the latest "Family is #BeautifuLGBTQ" campaign is in partnership with the non-profit organization Family Equality.

"As a hair brand, Pantene recognizes that hair is often a part of the special moments that bring families closer. For LGBT-adoptive families, hair starts with an unfamiliar challenge that transforms into a familiar connection — whether that’s learning to braid your daughter’s hair so she feels her most confident, or performing a nightly hair-wrapping routine to form new traditions," a representative shares. "The content series celebrates what connects these families — and all of us — in an effort to drive awareness, education and positive change for the LGBTQ-adoptive community."

Pantene has a history of creating campaigns to support its mission to "represent, celebrate and make the LGBTQ+ community feel beautiful year-round." The brand also donated $100,000 to Family Equality to support its mission of equal rights for all families. And when it comes to doubling down on that mission, representatives say that after a difficult year, spreading a message of love and acceptance is more important than ever.

"It has been a tough year, full of many important issues, but it has also been a year where family and connection is more important than ever. That’s why we felt it was so important to drive awareness, education and positive change around family equality for all."

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