New Google Ad Shows Dignified Glimpse of Trans Man’s Journey

Pride month is prime time for corporations to roll-out LGBTQ-inclusive ads and campaigns—so much so that some of the more tokenizing examples can start to feel cynical. But Google’s My Business division has released an ad this week that’s truly worthy of attention and praise.

The two-and-a-half-minute short begins with the testimony of Jake, a transgender man who describes experiencing painful gender dysphoria from an early age before discovering the possibility of transitioning: “When the idea of starting a transition, you know, was brought about, it was like, this is it, this is what I’ve been waiting for, this is what I need.”

Jake documented his transition on YouTube and eventually pursued “top surgery,” after which he began the process of building the muscular masculine body he’d always wanted. To Google’s credit, it’s only after Jake’s story that a business is mentioned—City Gym in Kansas City—which owner Hailee Bland Walsh describes as a space not only for working out, but also “a place to belong.” And she’s serious: Walsh hosts a workout group for trans men, of which Jake is a part, at the gym. The ad ends simply with the note that “City Gym is finding its people” with the help of Google. It’s a dignified treatment of an experience too rarely shared, especially in a moment when trans women are dominating the cultural conversation—and it’s an ad of which Google should be truly proud.