A CBBC show has been criticised by parents for showing the realities of what it means to be a young transgender person in the UK.
The show, called Just A Girl,
follows 11 year old Amy as she documents the struggles that come with being trans, including gender dysphoria and bullying. In the programme, Amy decides to take puberty blockers, which will make gender surgery easier in the future.
In the programme, which is available through the CBBC website, Amy explains what being trans means to her. She says: "When I was born, Mum said Dad was so pleased that he had a boy to take to the football. But Mum knew I was different. She realised early on that I was born in the wrong body."
"My Mum supported me when I did a PowerPoint presentation to my class about transitioning and that I wasn’t going to come to school in boys’ clothes any more, but girls’ clothes. I wasn’t Ben, I was Amy."
While the show is a landmark for youth trans representation, it hasn't been well-received by everyone. According to the Metro, a number of mothers have taken to Mumsnet to express their anger. One wrote: "Don’t think this is remotely suitable for a seven-year-old. To start suggesting that children can be transgender when they’re far too young to actually have a gender is reckless and damaging."
However some have used the site to express their support for the show. One mum wrote: "I don't believe there is "too young" for stuff like this. The earlier you teach your children that everyone is different and that nobody is 'normal' the better."
Tory MP Peter Bone (who has voted against every piece of LGBT equality legislation during his career as an MP), blasted the show, telling the Daily Mail
, "I entirely share the anger of parents who ant to let children be children.
"It’s completely inappropriate for such material to be on the CBBC website and I shall be writing to BBC bosses to demand they take it down."
Attitude Magazine editor-at-large and trans activist Paris Lees took to Twitter to criticise the Daily Mail's coverage of the issue. Commenting on the headline, which reads "fury at BBC sex change show for 6-year-olds," Paris wrote, "The reason so many young trans people face family rejection is because of the fear, misinformation and stigma whipped up by trash like this."
In an article for Vice
, Paris also explained that "puberty blockers are not 'sex change drugs'. They pause
puberty. They’re completely reversible. The whole point of them is to allow the kids time to grow up and decide what they want to do. Seriously, they’re like the opposite of 'sex change drugs'. They’re 'wait and see how you feel in a few years' drugs."
She added, "Trans kids need family support and expert medical advice, not tabloid-induced fear and confusion."
A BBC spokesperson has defended the programme, saying, "Just A Girl
is about a fictional transgender character trying to make sense of the world, deal with bullying and work out how to keep her friends, which are universal themes that many children relate to, and which has had a positive response from our audience.
"CBBC aims to reflect true life, providing content that mirrors the lives of as many UK children as possible."
The show has also been praised across social media for it's sensitive and informative approach to trans issues.