The initiative, which received a record number of registrations this year, offers legal and psychological well-being support for transgender partners (employees) to amend their names and information on their birth certificates.
Sao Paulo – In support of National Trans Visibility Day, celebrated in Brazil on January 29, SouthRock – Starbucks licensed operator in the market – announced the fourth edition of its "I Am" Project.
The “I Am” Project offers free legal and psychological well-being support to transgender partners (employees) who wish to legally change their name and gender on their birth certificates. Since its start, the project has transformed the lives of over 70 people in Brazil, supporting Starbucks partners working in stores, corporate offices and other businesses operated by SouthRock in Brazil, as well as members of local nonprofit organizations.
"Starbucks is committed to building a warm and welcoming culture where all partners and customers feel they belong. Our partners are the heart and soul of Starbucks, and we continuously seek to create initiatives that have a positive impact on their lives. It is gratifying to offer the fourth edition of our 'I Am' Project, supporting the transgender community, and witness the expansion of the project to additional SouthRock brands, while also inspiring and encouraging other companies," said Claudia Malaguerra, Managing Director of Starbucks Brazil.
This year, in addition to offering the program’s services to current partners of Starbucks Brazil and brands operated by SouthRock, members of the nonprofit organization, Casa Florescer (São Paulo), can receive legal advice to begin the process of amending their names, with full support for legal and psychological well-being offered by SouthRock. In 2023, the program reached a record number of people, with 37 applicants enrolling in the program, representing both Starbucks and SouthRock partners and members of Casa Florescer.
"The year 2022 was fundamental to my empowerment as a trans woman,” shared Kylie, a partner and communications analyst at SouthRock who had her name changed in the 2022 edition of the “I Am” Project. “Having my name and gender amended was much more than fulfilling a dream; it was the officialization of who I AM. I believe this is one of the most important moments in the entire transition process because, in addition to legitimizing our identity, it avoids numerous social constraints. I hope more employers and organizations understand that this is an urgent demand from a community that needs to emerge from invisibility. This means respecting diversity and exercising inclusion in a real way. It took me 50 years to get my birth certificate and other identity documents changed. It's like I've waited half a century to be born. May this time be much shorter for other trans girls and boys – after all, life goes by very fast and we deserve to live it to its fullest," she concluded.
Support for the LGBTQIAP+ community
Starbucks Store in Haddock Lobo Street in São Paulo, decorated for the “I Am” project - Photo: Stock/Starbucks Brasil
In every Starbucks store, customers who order a beverage have their name written on their cup, whatever it is, without question. This action inspired the launch of the "I Am" project in January 2020. With the permission of all program participants, the brand documented the life-changing journey to provide the public with a view of the significant impact the “I Am” initiative has on its participants. The project, documented by VMLY&R for Starbucks Brazil, won the Grand Prix at the 2021 Cannes Lions Festival - the largest and most prestigious advertising festival in the world – and was awarded gold in twocategories of the Effie Award – marketing and advertising award held by the American Marketing Association -,in addition to receiving several other awards.
As an extension of the "I Am" Project in 2022, SouthRock led another initiative, this time focused on employability. The action, titled "I Am Working," turned Starbucks Stores into employment hubs where participants participated in job interviews and a training program developed for members of the transgender community interested in openings available at Starbucks and other brands operated by SouthRock in Brazil. The first round of the job interviews took place throughout April 2022 in São Paulo at the Starbucks store on Rua Haddock Lobo, which proudly displayed the transgender flag to welcome candidates. The "I Am Working" initiative recently won bronze at the Cannes Lions 2022.
Since 2018, Starbucks Brazil has worked with nonprofit organizations, including Casa 1 (SP) and Grupo Arco-Iris (RJ), that offer support and safe locations to support LGBTQIAP+ inclusion efforts through various actions. One example of Starbucks partnership with these efforts is its donation of net profits from the sale of Starbucks products – such as the Pride Frappuccino® and t-shirts sold during Pride Month – celebrated annually in June, to provide funding for people in vulnerable situations due to their sexual orientation and gender identity.