L’Oreal drops trans model over controversial comments

French cosmetics giant L'Oreal on Friday confirmed it had dropped a British transgender model over comments the company deemed "at odds with our values," after she was hired as part of a diversity campaign.

L'Oreal drops trans model over controversial comments
File photo: AFP

“L'Oreal champions diversity,” the beauty brand said on Twitter. “Comments by Munroe Bergdorf are at odds with our values and so we have decided to end our partnership with her”.

L'Oreal had tapped Bergdorf — a 29-year-old model, DJ and trans activist whose father is Jamaican — as one of the five newest faces of its #allworthit campaign to introduce the five new shades of its True Match face makeup.

The foundation make-up boasts 28 unique shades ranging from very light to dark brown in a bid to match the myriad different skin tones and textures of people worldwide.

According to British Vogue, Bergdorf was the first transgender woman to be featured in a L'Oreal Paris UK campaign.

But controversy erupted when Bergdorf took to Facebook in a now-deleted post to react to events in the US city of Charlottesville, where a woman was killed on August 12th after an avowed white supremacist rammed his car into a group of anti-racism counter-protesters.

“Honestly I don't have energy to talk about the racial violence of white people any more. Yes ALL white people,” Bergdorf wrote, according to copies posted in British media.

“Once white people begin to admit that their race is the most violent and oppressive force of nature on Earth… then we can talk,” the model reportedly wrote.

L'Oreal told British media it “remains committed to celebrating diversity and breaking down barriers in beauty”.

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Spain backs bill to allow transgender people to easily change gender and name on ID

Spain's left-wing government on Tuesday approved a draft bill that would allow any transgender person over 16 to change their gender and name on their official ID document by presenting a simple statement.

Spain backs bill to allow transgender people to easily change gender and name on ID
Photo: Jose Jordán/AFP

If adopted by parliament, the bill will make Spain one of the few countries in Europe to permit gender self-determination.

“We’ve approved a bill which will guarantee real and effective equality for trans people and will ensure important rights for LGBTI people that are currently being violated in our country,” said Equality Minister Irene Montero during a press conference.

According to a draft of the bill seen by AFP, any Spaniard over 16 “will be able to apply to change the sex of their entry in the civil registry office”.

They will also be able to change their given name.

Crucially, the change will be made on the basis of a simple statement, dropping a previous requirement for them to first submit medical reports or undergo hormonal treatment.

Unveiled during Madrid’s Pride Week, the bill could even allow those as young as 14 to make the change, but only under certain conditions.

“During this Pride Week, we are making history with a law that will take a giant step forward for LGBTI rights and particularly the rights of transgender people,” Montero said.

“We recognise the right for self-determination of gender identity and undertake ‘de-pathologisation’ meaning trans people will no longer be considered ill and won’t be required to have any kind of psychiatric or medical report in order to be recognised,” she said.

But the legislation sparked tensions between Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s Socialists and their hard-left junior coalition partner Podemos.

Earlier this year, deputy prime minister Carmen Calvo said she was “particularly concerned by the idea gender could be chosen on the basis of will alone, thereby jeopardising the identity… of the rest of Spain’s 47 million inhabitants”.

The two sides eventually agreed to include a cooling-off period following presentation of the application, with the applicant required to reconfirm their wish three months later.

“This law puts us at the forefront in Europe in terms of recognising the rights of LGBTI people and particularly of trans people,” Montero said.

According to the LGBTI group ILGA, at least 25 UN member states “allow for legal gender recognition without prohibitive requirements.”

But only around 15 countries allow transgender people to change their status on the basis of a simple declaration.

In some countries, the process can take years and may include requirements such as a psychiatric diagnosis, hormone treatment, gender reassignment surgery or even sterilisation.