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Jacquie Grant ONZM, Defends Whittaker’s Over Controversial ‘Gender Reveal’ Chocolate

express Magazine
Written by express Magazine

The former Human Rights Review Tribunal member says most Trans people agree with her.

While Whittaker’s latest chocolate block has come under fire from some within the LGBT community for ‘erasing’ gender diverse and Trans people, (in addition to espousing outdated concepts of gender) the chocolate company had found one vocal supporter in Jacquie Grant.

The Coconut Ice Surprise blocks, come in blue or pink, with consumers only finding out which colour they’ve received when they open the block.

GJ Gardner Maxi 8 May – 31 July 2018

The new product is a take on baby ‘gender reveal parties’, which are commonplace in the US and UK. A portion of the proceeds made from the chocolate’s sale would go to Plunket.

The new product was criticised by RaimbowYOUTH’s executive director Frances Arns last week when Arns told stuff.co.nz the campaign was “disappointing” from a Trans and intersex perspective.

“The baby may grow up to have a different gender that they were assigned at birth. The concept is also erasing 2 per cent of babies born intersex.” Arns said.

“New Zealand has come so far with marriage equality and removing the cap on surgeries for transgender people, but there is a counter-movement of people going back to conventional understandings of gender.”

However, that has been dismissed by the former Human Rights Review Tribunal member and Grey District Councillor Jacquie Grant who says the majority of Trans people share her view that there is nothing wrong with Whittaker’s new product.

Grant who was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to the community says “I think the majority of Trans people are horrified at what is happening.

“For God’s sake, the majority of babies born are the sex their genitals indicate. Baby boys have dicks, baby girls have vaginas and they grow up to hopefully have the odd gay baby,” Grant says.

 “A minority is, as we know out of kilter, like me, we eventually work it out and get on with it. I don’t think the world owes us anything except to be able to live our lives and realise our potential like the majority.”

Grant spoke to express hoping to convey the message that in her view, the opposition to the chocolate was a minority view within the Trans community.

Grant says she is fully supportive of the campaign and sees it as just a bit of fun and that the new chocolate is not something most Trans people would give much thought to. “All the trans people I know are all out buying up Whittaker’s!” Grant says.

“As someone who has made the most of what I had I get so bloody embarrassed when straight acquaintances link me as being the same as that minority of alphabet soup.”

In a statement, a spokesperson for Whittaker’s told express:

“Our campaign was intended to be a celebration of our partnership with Plunket, rather than any kind of statement on gender identity.

Coconut ice is usually pink so that was our starting point, but given Plunket’s association with babies, we went for blue as the one other coconut ice colour we needed for the surprise element of this campaign.

The gender reveals that we filmed were with four expectant families that wanted to be part of a light-hearted event linked to our partnership with Plunket and we feel that their participation is a great endorsement of this campaign to raise funds for this iconic NZ charity and we really appreciate their involvement.

We’re proud the funds raised will go towards Plunket’s Raise a Bundle campaign, which helps nurture kiwis for the first 1000 days of their life.

We hope chocolate lovers will simply enjoy the novelty of pink and blue chocolate, the experience of getting a surprise when the wrapper is opened, and the delicious flavour.

We have had a lot of positive feedback from people who have enjoyed it for what it is, but we value all feedback and will keep it in mind for the future.”

About the author

express Magazine

express Magazine

express is New Zealand's leading LGBT+ publication. Our goal is to inform and support our community by delving into relevant people, stories and events.

GJ Gardner Maxi 8 May – 31 July 2018
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