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Dr. Martens advertises shoes featuring illustration of trans person with double mastectomy scars: 'Inspired by the queer community'

Photo by Erin Clark/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Footwear company Dr. Martens recently came under fire for advertising a pair of DIY-designed shoes featuring a transgender person with double mastectomy scars.

Last week, Dr. Martens' USA Instagram account posted a free giveaway for a customized pair of shoes designed by a queer artist, illustrator Jess Vosseteig. To win, followers were asked to "like" the social media post, follow the Instagram accounts of Dr. Martens and Vosseteig, and tag a friend in the comments. The company is not selling the one-of-a-kind pair of boots.

The pair of customized boots featured an illustration of a transgender person with double mastectomy scars, rainbows, and the text "queer joy." According to Dr. Marten, the shoes were "inspired by the queer community."

Vosseteig also shared photographs of her shoes on Instagram, writing, "I love that docs supports the lgbtq+ community and small artists and I am so proud of these shoes! As y'all know, I love expressing queer joy in my art and I'm really happy with how I could translate that onto these boots. Now I (and whoever is the giveaway winner) can walk around showing queer pride."

The company received pushback for promoting double mastectomy surgeries on healthy young women.

"Removing the healthy breasts of girls should be as alarming as if the amputation of healthy limbs was happening as part of a social contagion," Moms for Liberty co-founder Tiffany Justice wrote on Twitter. "What if thousands of kids were removing their right arms?"

Dr. Martens, which has consistently been an outspoken advocate for the LGBT+ community, has used its "DIY Docs" initiative to promote many queer-identifying artists' customized shoe designs. Several of the pro-LGBT boots were shared as a partnership with the activist group the Trevor Project.

In June, the footwear company promoted a pair of artist-designed boots featuring illustrations of rainbows with a planetary space theme.

"Illustrator @sarah.epperson tells us about the inspiration behind her customized #DIYDocs and how we can help contribute to creating a safe space for all," Dr. Martens wrote.

That same month, the footwear brand posted photographs of another pair of artist-designed shoes that read, "Trans joy."

Again in May, the company shared a DIY pair on Instagram, stating, "Pride is more than a single moment in the calendar. Gender identity and sexual orientation are important every single day."

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