Channel 4’s Trans Kids is slammed for ‘completely failing’ trans community

Ella Braidwood November 22, 2018
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Stella O’Malley on Channel 4's Trans Kids

Psychotherapist Stella O’Malley presenting Channel 4's Trans Kids: It's Time to Talk. (Channel 4)

Trans campaigners have heavily criticised Channel 4’s documentary Trans Kids: It’s Time to Talk, accusing producers of “completely failing” trans people by implying that being trans is “just a phase.”

The programme aired on Wednesday night and followed psychotherapist Stella O’Malley, who identified as a boy as a child and claimed she is “absolutely certain” she would have transitioned if she was born today.

The presenter set out to explore why the number of children referred to the NHS’s gender service had reportedly increased by 2,500 percent in the past nine years.

O’Malley’s interviewees included 13-year-old autistic trans teen Matt, trans man and YouTuber Cole, who started transitioning aged 22, and Debbie, a trans woman who transitioned later in life.

At the end of the show, O’Malley laments in her belief that many trans kids are “lost” and are being “led” down an irreversible path, adding: “What if they got this wrong?”

“Oh god how different my life would have been if I’d been listened to; believed; treated and received blockers.”

 —Juno Dawson

However, trans campaigners on Twitter slammed the show for being “bias[ed],” “mean”—and only representing a cisgender viewpoint.

Paris Lees chastised the Channel 4's Trans Kids: It's time to Talk on Twitter
Paris Lees condemned Channel 4’s Trans Kids: It’s Time to Talk on Twitter.(parislees/Twitter)

Channel 4’s Trans Kids is wrong to suggest being trans is a “phase”

“Journalists and broadcasters have completely failed trans people and their families in this country,” wrote journalist Paris Lees.

“Failing to inform the public about the facts is one thing. But this relentless, mean, obsessive campaign of misinformation is unforgivable.”

Author and columnist Juno Dawson, meanwhile, hit out at the show for suggesting to children that being trans is a phase.

“If you’re watching the #TransKids thing on Channel 4, all I’ll add is I knew I was a girl when I was four or five and was told it was a phase,” she wrote.


She added that her life was made more difficult because she wasn’t given hormone blockers as a child.

“Oh god how different my life would have been if I’d been listened to; believed; treated and received blockers,” she continued.

“But no, I was told it was a phase.”

Juno Dawson's tweet about Channel 4's Trans Kids: It's Time to Talk
Juno Dawson criticised Channel 4’s Trans Kids: It’s Time to Talk on Twitter.(junodawson/Twitter)

She added: “I’ve said this before and I suspect I’ll say it again…When it comes to trans lives, you can listen to trans EXPERIENCES or cisgender OPINIONS. Your choice.”

Channel 4’s Trans Kids is “dreadful”

Newsreader and former Celebrity Big Brother contestant India Willoughby also took to social media, branding the programme as “dreadful.”

“Going through a ‘phase’ is not being trans Stella,” she said.

“That’s why nothing permanent happens to those taking the medical route for a long time.

“Even if Self ID comes in, the medical route will still be slow. Dreadful Ch4.

“Dreadful. Totally weighted. Televised Mumsnet.”

Trans ally and writer Matthew Todd posted a message of support to trans children, while criticising the programme.

“Hope actual trans young people know we support you,” he wrote.

“This nastiness will eventually die away. We will get there in the end.

“You have the right to be who you are – not what other people say you should be. They used to tell us being gay was a phase, how could we know etc!”

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