The razor company Harry’s has become the latest victim of a transphobic backlash.
Harry’s began facing calls for a boycott over the weekend, after anti-trans critics discovered a June 2022 Instagram post by influencer Luke Wesley Pearson.
In his post, marked as a partnership with the brand, Pearson celebrates his “first Pride with facial hair” and promotes a shaving kit, with profits going to The Trevor Project, a not-for-profit LGBTQ+ youth suicide prevention organisation.
In the video, Pearson talks about growing up “envious of boys going through puberty, growing facial hair and learning how to shave”, and how, as a trans man, his grooming routine “is the most gender-affirming thing”.
A year on from the post, the video has been flooded with nasty remarks and calls to boycott the brand.
An account calling itself “End Wokeness” appears to have begun the pile-on with a post on Sunday (6 August), which falsely accuses The Trevor Project of promoting “gender surgeries for minors”.
Anti-trans activist Matt Walsh took to X, formerly Twitter, to fuel calls for a boycott.
“We’ve taken down Bud Light. Now it’s Harry’s turn,” he wrote.
In April, Bud Light faced an intense backlash over its collaboration with trans TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney.
Others took to calling Harry’s “woke”, a term used by right-wingers to describe almost anything they disagree with, while many posted that they wouldn’t be buying its razors again.
Harry’s co-founder and co-chief executive, Andy Katz-Mayfield, was singled out for further criticism for using the terms birthing and non-birthing parent while discussing equal parental leave policies.
The terms are used not only by some trans people, but also by many parents in same-sex relationships.
Non-binary journalist Shivani Dave told PinkNews that it makes sense for a razor company to feature a trans man, or any person who shaves, in adverts, adding that shaving can be a “vulnerable moment” for trans men or trans masculine people who are often not taught how to do so at a young age.
“It’s so heart-warming to see this tiny representation of that,“ they said, describing the calls for a boycott as mind blowing.
“Hopefully, the feigned outrage and call for boycotts will have the opposite effect in this case and show once again that hate does not win.”
Trans Safety Network, a not-for-profit organisation that monitors harm against trans people in the UK, told PinkNews: “It is simple fact that many trans men and transmasculine non-binary people shave their faces, just like other men.”
The attacks on Pearson and Harry’s are “the latest in a string of attempts to harass trans people out of public life and to make existing as a trans person as difficult and unpleasant as possible,” a spokesperson said.
“Pearson’s participation in this marketing campaign should be as unremarkable as any other man working with a razor brand. Anti-trans bigots are simply unable and unwilling to see us as normal human beings.”
The backlash to Harry’s comes after Costa Coffee found itself at the centre of a transphobic backlash over a mural showing a trans person with top surgery scars.