Today's tearjerker comes courtesy of a new advertisement from Google My Business, featuring Missouri trans man Jake, and the local gym where he and a group of other trans men have found a haven of belonging and self-love.
Going impressively deep into Jake's story in less than three minutes -- from the uncle that raised him "like a father," to his YouTube gender transition diary, to his resolve to "build this body that I've always wanted" -- the ad powerfully conveys the importance of supporting the "human touch" of small businesses in the everyday lives of trans individuals. Viewers also get an all-too-rare glimpse of trans male camaraderie as Jake exercises, laughs with, and embraces a group of five other trans men.
Acclaimed by AdWeek as an exemplary spot that shows the industry how to "skillfully and evocatively" tell a trans person's story without feeling "exploitative," the spot features Kansas City, Missouri's CityGym, which hosts the exercise group that Jake returns to for the first time after undergoing chest reconstruction surgery.
"It was never an intention to create a space specific for any group, but what a testament it is to create a space where any group feels comfortable," CityGym owner Hailee Bland Walsh explains of the "safe and inclusive" exercise group she proudly helps run. "These guys are physically getting stronger, but the real change is what's happening inside. They're building the capacity to feel confident; to feel strong."