Hollyoaks to introduce transgender storyline
Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks is to introduce a storyline about a trans boy.
The show, known for dealing with social issues including homosexuality, is to chart the progress of 15-year-old Jason Costello, as he transitions from being a girl.
The character is to be played by 23-year-old actress Victoria Atkin.
Jason will first be seen as Jasmine, who has always felt like a boy and dresses as one in secret.
Hollyoaks producers are taking advice from a number of trans teenagers, including 17-year-old Benson Bell from Cumbria, who was born female but has been treated as a boy by his friends for the last few years.
Benson told the Guardian: “People still shout abuse at me in the street. They call me a lesbian and I always think, You could at least call me a tranny. Get it right.”
On the storyline, he said: “I hope they’ll show the shyness of it. That you’re always on edge, wondering if other people think you’re a boy or a girl. It’s very depressing as well, to be honest.
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“But my hope is that this programme is so big, people will realise they can’t hide from it any more and pretend it’s not happening. I hope they realise it’s not wrong and it’s not something you put on or that you want to do. You’re born with it.”
Series producer Paul Marquess, said the storyline would not be sensationalist.
He said: “Yes, that’s a pitfall but I think we’ve avoided it.
“I grew up gay in Belfast in the 1970s when there was no one to talk to, no positive role models, no gays on Corrie. I knew that absolute isolation of not knowing who to turn to. So it’s not about ratings. It’s about how people are affected by this.”
Victoria will hit screens as a girl on August 2nd and appears for the first time four days later as Jason.
Coronation Street is currently the only soap to have a permanent trans character. Hayley Cropper, played by Julie Hesmondhalgh, first appeared on the street in 1998.