A BBC program aimed at children that features a fictional transgender child who wants to have a sex change sparked outrage from parents, child psychotherapists and advocates for families.
‘Just A Girl,’ which targets children as young as six, is about an 11-year-old transgender character named Amy was born a biological male but looks, acts and dresses like a girl because he believes he was born in the wrong body.
In the story, Amy is taking hormone blockers that stunt the physical changes happening to the body at puberty, which would make it easier for him to have sex change surgery in the future.
She tells a friend named Josh, who also wants to transition as a girl, that she was given the hormone blockers “once they realized I was trans for real,” according to Mirror.
‘Just A Girl’ is available at the CBBC website.
Many were enraged at the show and called for its cancellation, saying it would confuse young children about their sexuality. Tory MP Peter Bone said the show was “inappropriate” for kids and should be removed immediately.
“It beggars belief that the BBC is making this programme freely available to children as young as six. I entirely share the anger of parents who just want to let children be children,” he said, according to Daily Mail. “It is 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 as soon as possible.”
Concerned parents took to MumsNet and said the program is inappropriate for its target audience.
“I think we are giving the wrong message in normalising this,” one parent wrote. “The message we need to be giving is that a boy can do anything a girl can—including wearing a pink dress and playing with dolls, and a girl can be active, assertive, into sports and engineering and never wear a skirt—and that makes her an active, assertive girl who's into engineering and sport. It doesn't make her a boy.”
Another said the program is “inappropriate” for children.
“I think it's inappropriate for the BBC to be broadcasting this. Let children be free to dress or play with whatever toys, etc. appeal to them without trying to put gendered labels on them,” the parent wrote in the online forum.
A number of moms said boys who wear girls’ clothes or play with toys that girls play with are not necessarily transgender. It’s just a phase they eventually outgrow after a few years, and adults shouldn’t be too quick to label their sexuality at such a young age.
The BBC Children’s director, Alice Webb, said she was “proud” of airing ‘Just A Girl’ targeted toward younger children. She reasoned that encouraging conversation about the issue is part of BBC’s role in public service and that the program’s message was dealt with in an “age appropriate way,” Telegraph reported.