Radio commercial about Transgender Act "needlessly offensive," says regulator
The Advertising Code Committee (ACC) ruled that a radio advertisement about the bill for the Transgender Act, which was broadcast earlier this year, was needlessly offensive. Transgender Network Netherlands, who objected to the ad along with the organization WOMEN Inc., reported the ACC’s decision.
The ad featured a woman saying: “My daughter can register as a man. Our son as a woman. This is even possible under the age of sixteen. Gender is not a choice, is it?!”
The bill scraps the requirement of an expert statement to change the gender on a birth certificate. It also abolishes the age limit of 16 years for such adjustments. The Tweede Kamer, the lower house of the Dutch parliament, will discuss the bill in June.
According to the ACC’s ruling, this involves a vulnerable group of people - young transgender people. “Although it is clear that the woman expresses her own opinion, she does so in a tone that can only be understood as mocking, indignant, condescending, and dismissive.”
The ACC rejected multiple other objections to the ad by Gendertwijfel.nl but advises “without obligation” that the site does not advertise in such a way in the future. “A broad freedom of expression applies to the promotion of ideas that contribute to the social and political debate, and when assessing whether freedom of expression should be restricted, the committee adopts an (extra) restrained attitude,” the ACC said.
The creators of the radio commercial can appeal. The ACC won’t publish its ruling until it is irrevocable.
“Hearing on the radio that you are not okay hurts. Moreover, people around you may think: it is okay to mock, condescend, and reject someone’s being transgender,” said Remke Verdegem, chairman of Transgender Network Netherlands. “That is why it is important that the Advertising Code Committee now clearly states that this is not okay and that the commercial was needlessly offensive. A much-needed message at a time when gender-diverse people are often the subject of ridicule in public statements."
Reporting by ANP