Irish bookmaker Paddy Power has come under fire for TV ads asking viewers to spot the "transgendered ladies" among a crowd of racing fans at the Cheltenham festival. Paddy Power and broadcaster BSkyB were accused of inciting transphobia with the campaign, which promised to make the festival's Ladies' Day "even more exciting by adding some beautiful transgendered ladies: Spot the stallions from the mares".
The ad goes on to show a series of shots of well-dressed racegoers with a voiceover guessing which are men and which are women. The campaign, which broadcast on Sky Sports at the weekend, immediately drew criticism from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
LGBT Lib Dems Northern Ireland said Paddy Power has brought "shame on itself" and that the marketing tactic was in poor taste at a time when the UK government is trying to wipe out all forms of prejudice in sport. "To use the subject of transgender in such a degrading and mocking way is a clear-cut case of transphobia," said the organisation .
"What is worse is that the advert appeared during Sky Sports' very popular Soccer Saturday not just once but three times. So while we have the UK government running a campaign to wipe out transphobia in sport we have the nation's number one sports channel showing such an advert." The CheltenhamFestival.net website said the campaign was "tongue in cheek" but admitted that some people have found it "in poor taste".