I think what’s worst about that particular interaction is that Heineken went for such low-hanging fruit in making it seem like we can come together on this issue. The plain fact is that most trans people don’t look like that. One of the barriers to acceptance truly is a visceral “ugh” that some people have when they see or think about a trans person. “She looks like a man.” “He looks like a woman.” It gets people’s brains working on a disgust level — same thing when it comes to gay people. Their minds go straight to anal sex, and they think “ugh.” They then, unfortunately, think that this reaction merits a translation into public policy, and they’ll use all manner of religious and pseudoscientific subterfuge to justify their animus. But it’s really just that visceral reaction that they’re clinging to.
So I took her point well — it’s unlikely you’d get this outcome of the trans woman were fat and black and couldn’t “pass.” And it doesn’t say much for how far we’ve progressed that Heineken had to make it that damn easy for the guy. On the other hand, I take your point that there really is no way to gain acceptance except through 1.) radical “outness,” the fearlessness of those who are willing to be themselves, consequences be damned and 2.) people getting to know each other. I suspect every hard liner who finally came around to accepting gays did so because they happened to know one whom they liked.
I wish people could simply reason their way into acceptance, but there is no amount of arguing, talking, writing etc. that will change a person’s mind who is operating out of sheer, visceral distaste.
Then again, of course, it’s just a damn commercial.