Young trans girl reacts to vile online transphobia in powerful short film

Stephan Kyriacou November 28, 2019
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Emily is the 11-year-old transgender girl who stars in the film

Transgender charity Mermaids has wowed its patrons, supporters, and the transgender community with their new short film.

The film, titled If I Had a Voice, stars 11-year-old Emily reacting to transphobia online.

The minute-long short highlights the abuse that trans people have been subjected to in the media, putting emphasis on young trans people and how they’re often talked over and made out to be evil by media outlets.

Mermaids have since released a series of informative threads on Twitter, containing statistics and research pertaining to press coverage of trans children and young people.

According to the research:

  • The UK press has upped its trans coverage approximately 3.5 times over the last 6 years
  • Mentions of transgender children are 23 times more common in 2018-19 compared to 2012
  • Around 40% of articles were categorised as ‘disapproving’ – they suggested that children who identify as trans should not be supported in transitioning or that efforts to support them are unnecessary

Mermaids have also released a blog post that contains a deeper look into the research and what the results show.

Mermaids CEO, Susie Green, said: “Over the last few years, we’ve seen an explosion in media stories relating to children and gender issues and, while some of it has been responsible and understanding, much has been misleading, ill-informed and even, at times, cruel.

“One consistent issue we’ve found is that politicians, presenters, campaigners and influencers are eager to speak about trans and gender-questioning children without listening to them first.

“Today, we’re making a fresh plea to everyone involved in the important and complex debate around gender issues, to stop for a moment and think about the impact their articles, broadcasts and social media posts have on real kids living real lives.

“This new research from professor Paul Baker just goes to show we still have a long way to go before transgender young people get the fair and free voice they deserve in the media and online.”

11-year-old Emily, who stars in the film, also gave a speech.

“I am very proud of who I am,” she said.

“I have spent my whole life fighting to be heard and understood by family, friends, doctors, school teachers and even strangers.

“Some listen to me and some don’t.

“Some take a while to understand and some never have. I know that there is a good chance I will have to fight my entire life to be heard.

“I feel like people don’t think I need to be heard, because I am a child and they think that I don’t know about myself, but I do. I know me better than anybody.

“I know that I am talked about by important people and they all have opinions of me and my family even though they don’t know us.

“I know that they talk about me in a bad way that I am someone to be frightened of or that I will do bad things. But the people that know me and talk to me really like me.

“I know that I am a good person and I really care about other people.

“I have set up an LGBT club at my new secondary school because I noticed that there were other kids struggling to be who they are and I wanted them to know people that understand how it feels. I took part in this short film because when I heard about it I felt like someone had read my mind.

“This short film explains exactly how I feel. Thank you very much for listening. It makes me feel happy.”

The launch was attended by both transgender people and cisgender allies, and the sense of harmony in the room was palpable.

Watch the video below to hear from patrons and supporters who attended the film launch:

The short film has been made alongside a crowdfund campaign, set to raise money in order to further support young trans people and give them the power to speak for themselves via a series of billboards that will be placed around the UK.

An example billboard posted on MermaidsVoice

One quote in particular from the event was especially potent:

“Don’t talk about trans kids if you’re not talking TO trans kids.”

Now more than ever, it’s crucial that transgender children are being listened to and supported.

Watch ‘If I Had A Voice’ here:



Related topics: crowdfund, mermaids, susie green, trans kids, transphobia

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