A transgender man learning to shave is featured in a new ad by razor company Gillette. The ad, posted to Gillette’s Facebook page, features Toronto-based artist Samson Bonkeabantu Brown shaving with some coaching from his father.
“I always knew I was different. I didn’t know there was a term for the type of person that I was. I went into my transition just wanting to me happy. I’m glad I’m at the point where I’m able to shave,” he says. “I’m at the point in my manhood where I’m actually happy.”
His father offers pointers as Brown takes the razor to his shaving cream-covered face. “Now don’t be scared. Shaving is about being confident. You’re doing fine,” the father says.
The ad features the tagline: “Whenever, wherever, however it happens – your first shave is special.”
The shaving company was bombarded with praise and abuse earlier this year after it launched an advertising campaign inspired by the #MeToo movement, promoting positive masculinity.
Brown said he was honored to share his story in this new advert, and especially wanted to include his father, who has supported his transition as a transgender man.
“I shot this ad for Gillette and wanted to include my father, who has been one of my greatest supporters throughout my transition, encouraging me to be confident and live authentically as my best self,” he said in a Facebook post.
“I was able to share an important milestone in every man’s life with my father. This moment overwhelmed me during filming and again today seeing the ad since it’s been launched.
I’m keenly aware of how blessed I am to be able to exist in this world being supported by my family in ways that all too often many of my trans brothers, sisters, and siblings who exist outside the binary are not always as fortunate.”
The ad, which has been viewed more than a million times, drew a supportive reaction, including from other trans men who said they could relate to the experience.
“My first shave was made with my husband because my dad passed away years before I started to transition last year and thank you! This makes me feel so good this morning at work,” Lee Stephens wrote on Facebook.
“This commercial made me cry,” wrote Asher Shaun Jensen. “You have videos on how to shave on your YouTube which helped immensely as my dad does not support me. You’re making a difference, and I appreciate it greatly.”