This highly controversial Adidas swimwear advert is the latest example of a major brand misfiring when it comes to dealing with trans issues. It also highlights that what might start off as a well-intended attempt to be inclusive, can backfire and hit sales.

With this latest campaign, Adidas has been accused of ‘erasing women’ with ex-NCAA swimmer, Riley Gaines, describing the use of a man to model swimwear made for women as a ‘betrayal’.

They’re not the first business to suffer a backlash in his area. Nike, for example used trans social media star Mulvaney to promote their activewear in April. Bud Light sales also dropped amid the controversy following their partnership with the same trans influencer.

Whether or not Adidas anticipated the reaction is debateable but Trans issues remain high profile and are increasingly becoming politicised as well as regularly covered in the press. 

As an employer you should be looking to support your employees to navigate these issues and ensure that an inclusive workplace is maintained.

How we can help

Irwin Mitchell recently published a new guide to help employers deal effectively with trans issues in the workplace.

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