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CBC Doesn't Air Transgender Documentary After Online Backlash

The CBC has decided against airing Transgender Kids: Who Knows Best? after the controversial doc was called out by trans advocates…

The CBC has decided against airing a controversial British documentary on raising trans children that some have warned could endanger youth with misinformation.

The film was removed from the CBC’s December 12 lineup, following online criticism of the film’s inclusion of doctors who view gender dysphoria as a mental illness. Directed by John Conroy, the 2017 BBC film examines and questions the affirmative approach to a child questioning their assigned gender with Canadian interview subjects, including Dr. Kenneth Zucker whose infamously known for treating gender dysphoria in children as something to be treated.

Non-binary activist and filmmaker Joshua Ferguson appealed against the airing, calling on the CBC to not give airtime to discredited experts.

This isn’t the first time the documentary has been publicly called out by trans advocates. Prior to its BBC premiere in January, many took issue with how it presented affirming or denying a gender-questioning youth’s identity as a balanced debate.

“Presenting this as equally common with people who have no regrets about any transition is extremely misleading,” trans activist Shon Faye told Dazed Digital. “Having discredited doctors feature as experts when they are in disagreement with the vast majority of the medical profession isn’t balance – it’s reaching. And it’s tacky as hell.”

The presence of Canadian psychologist and sex researcher Dr. Kenneth Zucker was singled out. Once director of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health’s (CAMH) gender clinic, Zucker was criticized by trans activists and former patients for allegedly practicing conversion therapy. CAMH fired Zucker from his role and closed the clinic in 2015.

Former clinic patient Jennifer Lynn condemned Zucker’s participation in the documentary in January.

“I’m concerned this is going to expose others to this kind of treatment. I’m telling you: I don’t want to see these kids go through the hell that I had to go through,” she told the CBC.

In a letter to the BBC, Trans Media Watch noted that the film’s depictions of perspectives against or doubtful of gender-affirmative approaches received twice as much airtime as positive experiences.

An online petition that’s reached over 11,700 signatures asked the British broadcaster to pull Transgender Kids: Who Knows Best? from its schedule. It was unable to stop the BBC premiere.

However, the surge of disapproval for its anticipated CBC premiere was heard loud and clear.

On Twitter, CBC Docs announced it would pull the documentary from broadcast because of audience reaction.

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1 Comment

    May Loo / 19 December 2017

    I am disappointed that this doc was not in my Canada. If we want to look at this objectively instead of only the pro-translobby, we need to hear both sides. Why should we only consider gender-affirming surgery or hormones if it helps children to feel more comfortable in their born bodies? There is no right or wrong way to be male or female. Transitioning makes it obvious there is.


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