Keepsake boxes hide kids' secrets in campaign for International Transgender Day of Visibility

Effort from UNAIDS and FCB raises awareness for children's right to be their true selves

Published On
Mar 31, 2022

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In time for International Transgender Day of Visibility, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and FCB debuted “Unbox Me” to raise awareness for the rights of transgender children and inspire them to embrace their true selves. At the center of the effort is a short film featuring transgender individuals discussing the keepsake boxes they created as kids, and how the treasures housed within represented secrets they kept from the world about their own identity.

The campaign also included a social push in which influencers were sent treasure collections to unbox and further extend the conversation. Among those participating were Indian filmmaker Zoya Akhtar and TV journalist Barkha Dutt.


A post shared by Zoya Akhtar (@zoieakhtar)

Read: How the industry is recognizing International Transgender Day of Visibility.

On conceiving the campaign idea,  Swati Bhattacharya, FCB India’s creative chairperson, explained it was inspired by the common practice for children in India to store their precious possession in boxes, but “in the case of trans children, they need to hide their box of treasures, since some of their most precious possessions don’t fit the gender norm that society expects them to conform to.” 

“Gender diversity is not just an issue for adults but for those of all ages including children,” added Mahesh Mahalingam, director, communications and global advocacy at UNAIDS. “There are thousands of children like the ones who provided their boxes all over the world who want to express and claim their identities. And they should not have to wait until they become adults; it is too late by then.”

 The effort was created by FCB’s India and Chicago offices and continues the agency’s ongoing collaboration with UNAIDS on the “#SeeMeAsIAm” campaign, which previously included the 2021 film “The Mirror,” about a shy young boy who begins to recognize his true self as he gazes into a mirror, wearing a woman’s scarf.


According to a study by the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, 31% of transgender individuals in India lose their lives to suicide, while 50% have attempted suicide at least once before the age of 20.