To many, Bud Light is a mediocre beer to be consumed on college campuses and during football games. Currently for some, the blue can is sparking outrage and boycotts, but for transgender individuals, it’s recently become a reminder that their rights and lives are valued.
Dylan Mulvaney is a TikTok influencer whose content focuses on positivity, LGBTQ+ rights and supporting others. She is also transgender,and has shared her journey openly and proudly documented it on social media through her “Days of Girlhood” series, in which she recorded a video every day for the first 100 days of her publicly living as female.
Mulvaney promoted a $15,000 budlight giveaway on Instagram, and she received a promotional can featuring her with a wide, whimsical smile to commemorate a year of her transition. This has become a topic of controversy to those who are not understanding or supportive of transgender individuals and their rights, identities and lives.
Mulvaney’s promotion of Bud Light was not a collaboration; she received a complementary PR package with her face on it to commemorate her year spent out and proud as a woman.
Bud Light bottle sales fell 30% and tap sales fell by 50% after Mulvaney posted her promotion.
The backlash serves to prove how targeted trans people are in the U.S. Demonstrations of rampant transphobia can be witnessed with people smashing beer cans in stores and refusing to support entire brands for even willing to work with a transgender individual.
The controversy comes in wake of a virtual legislative war on transgender rights in America. Translegislation.com keeps track of anti-trans rights bills, like one in Florida allowing transgender children to be ripped from their families and Indiana and Idaho banning gender-affirming – and often lifesaving – healthcare for minors.
Mulvaney has a supportive following of over 10 million individuals on TikTok, and over 1 million on Instagram. She stated in a podcast interview with television personality Rosie O’Donnell that she feels like “an easy target” because she is so new to her transition.
This is not the first time Mulvaney has faced backlash for living as a transgender woman. In October she published a TikTok calling to stop judging trans women who have not undergone expensive and invasive gender reassignment surgery. Her call to “normalize the bulge” and not stare at the genitalia of women in public was poorly received by some, including media personality and fellow trans woman Caitlyn Jenner, who publicly misgendered Mulvaney and criticized her body and choices.
“We never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people. We are in the business of bringing people together over a beer,” the CEO of Bud Light Brendan Whitworth stated in a statement. The CEO of Bud Light is standing by Mulvaney and does not have plans to retract the promotion.