Childhood is a period of transition for everyone. But for the four children featured in Transhood, HBO’s new documentary about transgender children growing up in America’s heartland, transition means something a little different. Transhood follows four transgender children over the course of five years in Kansas City, as they navigate puberty while transitioning to another gender. Watch the Transhood trailer below.
Sharon Liese directs Transhood, a documentary that chronicles the lives of four young people and their families as they grow up transgender in the politically and religiously conservative Kansas City community between 2014 and 2019. The four youths, who are ages 4, 7, 12 and 15 at the start of filming, “redefine ‘coming of age’ and share personal realities of how gender expression is reshaping their American families.”
Here are the four youths who are featured in the documentary:
- Jay, who we first meet at age 12 and matures markedly both physically and emotionally throughout the film, struggling with a painful “outing” by his peers. He starts hormone blockers and while his mother is supportive of that step, they argue about their differing views around the very personal issue of disclosure.
- Avery, who is 7 years old when the film begins, is eager to help change the world for other trans kids and, with her parents’ support, becomes a high-profile advocate, and National Geographic even features her picture on the cover of their issue on gender. Over the years, Avery grows wary of being in the public eye and makes her feelings known as she decides to pursue a different course.
- Leena, who we meet at age 15, takes her family and best friend on an unexpected emotional journey as she becomes increasingly uncomfortable with adolescence. As Leena deals with the disappointment of her first love and works towards becoming a fashion model, she also experiences her personal goal of gender confirmation surgery when she turns 19.
- Phoenix, who is a self-proclaimed “girl-boy” at 4 years old and later identifies as a girl but ultimately identifies as male by age 7. As Phoenix’s gender fluidity impacts the entire family, parents Molly and Zach struggle with their marriage and differing views on how to be the best parents to Phoenix.
Others featured in the film include pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Jill Jacobson, gender affirmation surgeon Dr. Marci Bowers, and others.
Transhood debuts on HBO and HBO Max on November 12, 2020 at 9 P.M. EST/PST.
Directed by Sharon Liese, produced by Sasha Alpert, and executive produced by Kimberly Reed, TRANSHOOD captures the nuanced and authentic stories of four courageous families. While every journey is different, they share their honest and varied experiences as the young people display incredible resilience, facing rejection from their peers, body dysphoria and escalating political rhetoric that strives to invalidate LGBTQ+ lives. All the while, the older kids navigate the minefield of adolescence. Sharing their most vulnerable moments, the parents reveal their ambivalence, doubts and missteps as they too transform over time.
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