"Trans Youth," the latest episode of HBO's "Vice," a culture and public affairs program, will tell you everything you need to know about trans youth but were afraid to ask. Like National Geographic Channel's recent documentary "Gender Revolution," "Vice: Trans Youth" underscores the importance of asking questions in order to learn about--and accept--those who may be different from you.
The most disturbing bit of info in "Trans Youth" are the statistics--trans kids have a suicide rate which currently stands at 41 percent – the rate for cisgender (non-trans) youth is less than five percent. Why such an extreme difference?
Acceptance is the key to raising happy trans kids. Kimberly, a mom in Texas, speaks in tears as she recalls being rejected by her conservative Christian relatives when her five-year-old child Kai announces "I'm really a girl."
"It's lonely," Kimberly said. "You feel like you're in the fight of your life to save your child. They leave you alone on the battlefield."
Later Kimberly appears before her local school board to ask that Kai be allowed to use the girl's restroom. "I'm the mom of a little girl who wants her child to live," Kimberly told the board. School board president Dr. John Kelly, who has compared transgenderism to pedophilia and polygamy, walks out during Kimberly's speech.
When we meet Kai in her room, we see a happy, well adjusted child who lives in a loving home--having a supportive environment is often all it takes, as Vice underscores.
"Vice: Trans Youth" also takes us to the midwest, where eight-year-old Max lives. Though he talks like a kid ("I had to tell my parents that I'm a boy 245 times!") Max shows that he has a wisdom far beyond his young years. He's given hormone blockers which will prevent him from undergoing puberty--Max squeals with delight as he's wheeled into the operating room for the brief procedure. Again we meet a happy child who enjoys the love and support of his parents.
Several medical professionals also speak in front of HBO's cameras. They explain to viewers how these procedures work and why they're needed.
Perhaps the most eye-opening interview comes from Loretta Lynch, who served as President Obama's Attorney General for his final two years in office. Lynch speaks of the government's job to protect all of the country's children, including transgender children. It was during Lynch's time in office that Obama administration issued an order protecting the rights of Trans Kids--President Trump has since rescinded that order.
Watching "Vice: Trans Youth" might inspire some viewers to contact the current president and demand that he reinstate that order.
Look for "Vice: Trans Youth" to premiere on HBO on Friday, March 3rd. Additional airings will follow- — the episode will also be available for streaming and On Demand viewing. HBO.com/vice/episodes/05/56-trans-youth/index.html