Anti-trans activists lunch at M&S to protest Costa Coffee, forgetting it’s also trans-inclusive

Two “gender-critical” activists have been ridiculed for eating at Marks and Spencer to protest against Costa Coffee and its support for the trans community – despite previous calls to boycott M&S over its own inclusive policy.

Gender-critical activist Heather Leask, who has shared numerous anti-trans posts on social media in the past, pictured herself eating at an M&S in Milton Keynes with a friend, in protest at Costa Coffee.

A boycott of the coffee-shop chain began after a picture of a trans-positive mural on the side of a Costa van was posted on social media.

Lunch at M&S today because we support #BoycottCosta pic.twitter.com/2vsml0Lh1T

— Dr Heather Leask (@Heather_Leask) August 1, 2023

Anti-trans activists flocked to share the hashtag #BoycottCostaCoffee, accusing the company of promoting “self-harm” by showing one cartoon drawing of a trans-masculine person with top surgery scars.

Chest masculinisation, or top surgery, is a procedure typically undergone by trans-masculine or non-binary individuals to remove or augment breast tissue and reshape the chest into a more affirming position.

Top surgery scars can also be a sign of a mastectomy, a surgery performed to remove tissue to treat or prevent breast cancer.

In signalling support for the Costa boycott, Leask became the subject of ridicule not only because of the anti-trans sentiment which surrounds the boycott, but also because M&S has a track record of implementing trans-inclusive policies such as gender-neutral changing rooms.

M&S was boycotted by right-wing bigots after it announced that customers were welcome to use any changing room in its stores because they are inclusive of all genders – company policy for years.

Leask should have been very much aware of this, having tweeted in November, at the height of the controversy, claiming her friend had seen someone she described as a “male-bodied” individual in one of the cubicles.

Heather Leask’s Tweet condemning M&S. (Twitter/@Heather_Leask)

Activists were more than happy to remind Leask of her commitment to boycotting “woke” brands with comments made on her tweet about her M&S lunch.

“Ah, the place with trans-inclusive bra fittings, nice choice,” trans activist Beth Douglas wrote.

Another tweeted: “Weren’t you meant to be avoiding M&S because of the changing rooms?”

Several other comments noted the history of trans inclusivity that M&S has promoted, including a post where it committed to supporting the LGBTQ+ community throughout Pride 2023.

In a statement during the controversy, M&S wrote that it would continue to be an inclusive retailer, adding: “While they are mainly used by customers of that gender, as an inclusive retailer, and in line with most other retailers, we allow customers the choice of fitting room.”

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