Recently my timeline became flooded with outrage over a television programme created by the BBC. This programme was called ‘Transgender Kids: Who Knows Best?’ and due to the negative reaction over this controversial programme I decided to give it a watch.
Now be warned this blog may be quite controversial as I don’t necessarily think it was as bad as the uproar suggested.
As I sat up the Iplayer, got comfortable and began watching I heard the line ‘If a child was to say they were a dog would we go out and buy them dog food?’ – one of the lines these outraged watchers focused on. But they lacked to mention this viewpoint was followed up by another’s stating how Transgender kids needed to be listened to or else they may kill themselves. A very true fact, and a non biased perspective as I expected from the BBC, to show both sides of the argument.
Admittedly, the comparison of a dog (a non human animal) in relation to gender dysphoria (a genuine issue which can cause great distress in individuals) is a far-fetched comparison and not one I feel comfortable with. However this was spoken by Zucker a gender ‘specialist’ who had been dismissed from his line of work due to resisting the idea that transgender children needed to transition. Now a lot of these outraged watchers had an issue with Zucker being involved with the show at all, apparently he has been involved in conversion type therapies, although the full nature of these wasn’t explored in great detail during the show. Zucker’s approach was that children who state they want to be the opposite sex shouldn’t be ‘pandered’ to but examined as to why they feel like this and explore the issue with the child.
The people complaining about this show stated Zucker shouldn’t have been on the show on this first place, but the BBC were obviously looking to examine both sides of the transgender kids argument and to be honest they could have picked a far worse representative. Would they rather a religious backward person who claimed being transgender altogether was a sin? (something I have experienced myself) Or someone who stated this is a genuine issue that occurs in families today and it is important to realise how the binary of gender stereotypes needs to be broken down before transitioning in pursued?
The reason why I think this isn’t as awful an approach as the complainers made out is quite simple – I wouldn’t push anyone down the path of transitioning from one gender to the other unless absolutely necessary.
This journey is tough- it requires a lot of surgeries , lot of rejection and ultimately a lot of stress.
What I took from the show was that gender can often be an area of confusion for a child because they are taught girls should act a certain way or boys should dress a certain way. What needs to be done first is explain that there are many types of ‘girl’ and ‘boy’ and there’s no set narrative of what these genders are. Obviously if this approach didn’t work and for example they are seen taking drastic measures towards their genitals then a more advanced approach needs to be taken. But what I would try to teach my child is the diversity of humans and how girls can have penises, and boys can have girls names etc. Explore the concept that everyone if different regardless of gender and we don’t have to fit binary norms to be one or the other.
If I had a AMAB child who desperately wanted to live as a binary girl, then maybe I’d have to reconsider my approach but if it was simply a case of ‘I wanna be a girl’ I’d respond ‘Okay, you’re a girl – it’s that easy – you don’t have to change anything about yourself, girls can have short hair and be called Jack etc.’ rather than going out and buying them princess dresses and dolls, thus contributing to the idea that genders have to be a certain way to fit societal norms.
Overall, I guess, this blog is simply to state; that if I as a transgender person, took good from the documentary despite my vast knowledge on the topic. Someone with very little knowledge probably heard the same as I did – break the binary, allow the child time to consider what they’re feeling, then contemplate the idea of transitioning if it’s right for the child.
In my eyes the BBC did a good thing, addressing this is an issue and normalising the idea that this topic may occur in families and isn’t necessarily to be frowned at. They fairly showed two sides of the argument: one who says to wait and one that says go for it. Not even including the concept of an absolute NO. So despite all the negative reviews (which have their valid opinions and reasons to be disgruntled) I’m a transgender watcher who wasn’t all that offended.
Over and out.