For the first time in its history, U.K.’s CBBC will broadcast a feature presentation about a young transgender boy next week.
‘I Am Leo’ will air next Monday as part of the channel’s anti-bullying week promotion. The television program is targeted at an audience of 6 to 12 year olds.
The show’s star Leo, who is now aged 13, was born a female but has lived as a boy since age of 5. His family legally changed his name when he was 11 years old. The short film is all about following the young man as he goes about his daily life, and meets with his close friend Kai, grown-up transgender woman Natalie, and Stephen Whittle of the LGBT advocacy group Press for Change.
Kez Margrie, who supervises the My Life projects on the U.K. channel said, “I had wanted to do a story on a transgender child for a while, because I know there are kids out there having a tough time. But up to now, we hadn’t found the right story to tell, and we trusted Nine Lives Media to tell this one sensitively.”
When asked, Kez Margrie discussed the feeling the show is intended to elicit in it’s viewers: “It feels very much like his journey and story, as told by him. It’s not about the science or the medicine, it is fundamentally about identity and passion – about a boy taking a stand, saying ‘This is who I am’. He has an identity that others find tricky to accept. That’s a pretty universal story.”
Nine Lives exececutive Cat Lewis discussed the positives about making documentaries like this for children. Lewis touches on a fundamental truth about kids and gender identity by stating plainly that children are not born with prejudices, those are learned behaviors.
“There is a risk that the BBC will be criticised for commissioning this film, but it’s important that CBBC has been so supportive of it,” said Lewis.
‘My Life: I am Leo’ will air on the U.K.’s CBBC at 6pm, on Monday, November 17th.