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Transgender Kids: 6 lessons the world needs to learn from Louis Theroux’s documentary

Transgender Kids: 6 lessons the world needs to learn from Louis Theroux’s documentary

As she pours pretend tea into plastic cups and saucers, 5-year-old Camille sums up how she feels about being transgender: ‘I was always a girl. I will always be a girl forever.’

Born Sebastian, Camille is one of the children from San Francisco who starred in Louis Theroux’s most recent documentary, Transgender Kids, which aired in the UK on Sunday night – sparking a range reactions on social media.

As a handful of viewers shared their ignorance, many celebrated the young people’s powerful stories, helping others open their minds to the issues faced by trans* children and teens across the world.

Here’s what they learned:

1. You’re never ‘too young’ to be trans*

Camille now wears a dress to school, with the full support of her parents. After a year of exploring her identity, her mom says there isn’t much more exploration to be done: Camille may be five years old, but she knows who she is, and it’s certainly not Sebastian.

As her dad put it: ‘This is Camille. It’s her coming out party.’

 

2. It’s not all about ‘he’ or ‘she’

Crystal loves playing on her pogo stick when she’s living at her mom’s house. She has a dressing up box filled with silk kimonos and dresses. But sometimes he’s Cole, using male pronouns at school and at his dad’s house.

‘She’s Cole, and when she’s Cole, a boy at school, she can still have her mannerisms, her likes and her dislikes, and she has friends who love her,’ Cole’s mom explained to Theroux.

‘She’s happy, and she doesn’t have to take the role of a female to be who she is. I think that he being Cole isn’t all that miserable.’

Luckily, many viewers realised gender shouldn’t need to be described in binary terms:

 

3. Supportive families can make all the difference

What happens when you had an older brother, who’s now an older sister?

The younger sibling of trans teen Nikki shared her journey of acceptance on camera. ‘It was hard at first but then I really got used to it,’ she said. ‘I learned to love her. I’ve been living my whole life with Nick and I just didn’t want to change anything.

‘Nick is gone and I’m ok with that now. And Nikki, is, well, I just feel like she was Nikki her whole life.’

And it’s not just Nikki’s sister who is helping her through the transition. Even though her parents find it ‘hard sometimes’ to cope with the ‘loss’ of their son, they support their daughter’s choice and want her to know it’s going to get better.

 

4. Not everyone is going to be nice

It seems transphobes saw the #transgenderkids hashtag as a way of venting their hatred, whether or not they were watching the show.

Labelling trans* people as mentally ill, swearing, spouting insults – it seems there’s still some way to go before everyone accepts transgender children.

 

5. But luckily there’s plenty of love to counteract the hate

In case your faith in humanity was in tatters:

 

6. And really all that matters is that you’re true to yourself

After a couple of hours, #transgenderkids had become so much more than live-tweeting a TV show, as Twitter users shared their messages of support and self-acceptance.