Teens in “My (Extra) Ordinary Family: Transgender Kids”
Special Airs Wednesday, August 31 at 10:00 p.m. ET
“Primetime Nightline” goes on a remarkable journey inside three families, struggling to do the right thing for their transgender kids. One biological boy who at age ten is now going to school as a girl and who will soon be given medicine to stop him from going through male puberty; a15 year old biological girl who is taking testosterone to make her more masculine; a 19 year old biological male who goes to Mexico to have six surgeries in two hours to make him more feminine.
Nightline’s Cynthia McFadden looks at the challenges that these children confront, the difficult decisions they and their parents have to make and, at times, the risks they have to take in order to become the person they feel they were born as.
We look at the social, medical, and surgical changes, as well as the emotional journey on which these children are embarking. We talk to the leading experts. And find a grim reality: transgender kids often are rejected by their families. One estimate has over 33% of them attempting suicide.
We also profile Kim Petras, a burgeoning pop sensation who became the world’s youngest person to have a complete sex change operation at the age of 16.
We also interview Charles Kane perhaps the only person in the world to have sexual reassignment surgery twice…going from man to woman and back again…he regrets his decision to have sexual reassignment surgery and believes children should not be given these therapies.
Meet some of those we follow:
Jackie is a 10 year old from Ohio who was originally born as Jack. As a toddler, Jack was drawn to his sister’s dolls and clothes, and enjoyed dressing up in tutus. At 10 years old, with tears in his eyes, he told his parents “I’m a girl on the inside.” Within months, with his parents help, Jack becomes Jackie. She now attends school as a girl, wearing girl’s clothing, heels, and makeup. We watch as Jackie navigates her transition and meets relatives for the first time as a girl. Soon Jackie will begin taking puberty blockers, a controversial treatment, which will prevent her from going through male puberty.
Nathan is a 15 year old living in Arizona and was originally born Natalie. Always feeling out of place as a girl, he came home from his first day of pre-school to tell his mother, “I’m a boy.” He started dressing in gender neutral clothing in pre-school. As Natalie grew up, her parents became convinced this wasn’t a phase and are now helping him transition. We watch as Natalie changes his name to Nathan in court and prepares to start testosterone treatment, which will give him physical attributes of a boy. Harassed into home schooling, Nathan has no friends his own age. Cynthia McFadden introduces him to his transgender idol Chaz Bono, who offers him and his family a few words of advice and hope.
Vanessa is 19 years old living and working in New York City. Vanessa was born as Pierry. At first, her immigrant family had a difficult time accepting their son as their daughter, but now that she has decided on surgery, they have come to support her. But neither the family nor Vanessa can afford the transition, so she has turned to prostitution to pay for the body she feels she should’ve been born with in the first place. We go along with her to Guadalajara, Mexico, where a wad of $6500 cash will buy her six surgeries in two hours as she struggles to become the woman she’s always wanted to be.