(OPINION) Fashion brand Calvin Klein’s new ad campaign features a pregnant transgender man. The campaign, released on Mother’s Day, sparked a debate on social media. The post “spotlighted the realities of new families”. Roberto Bete and Erika Fernandes were among those featured in the campaign. Roberto Bete is a female-to-male transgender reality TV star from Brazil.
The post mentions Roberto Bete’s pregnancy. And, it also states that the two are expecting the birth of their son Noah “any day now”. The caption read, “Today, in support of women and mothers all over the world, we’re spotlighting the realities of new families…
Erika Fernandes and Roberto Bete are expecting parents from Brazil. Roberto is due to give birth to his and Erika’s son Noah any day now.” The post also contains another image of the couple in bed, with Roberto Bete cradling the baby bump. On the photo is the text, “We can reproduce biologically or from the heart… Our place is to love and be loved.”
— Aude (@MelleBTC) May 11, 2022
The post has since gone viral, and while several users have praised the fashion brand for its inclusive messaging, a slew of transphobic comments quickly drowned them out. Many of them threatened to boycott the brand, attacking the ad as a “woke campaign.” One user even wrote, “Time to ditch you, Calvin Klein.”
Conservative talk show host Steven Crowder turned the ad into the butt of a joke, writing: “We have a huge baby formula shortage! The Left says men are the root of all problems, so it’s only fair to blame pregnant men right? I wonder what Calvin Klein has to say about this. #calvinklein.”
Calvin Klein has since released a statement defending its campaign, confirming that the company will always stand up against hate. “We embrace this platform as an inclusive and respectful environment for individualism and self-expression,” the statement read. “At Calvin Klein, we tolerate everything except intolerance — any intolerant commentary will be removed, and any accounts issuing hateful statements may be blocked.”
While a number of online critics seem to find the idea of trans men having babies confusing, the truth is that trans and nonbinary people with uteruses can, and do, give birth.