“Gender Revolution” on National Geographic

It used to be so simple. You were a boy or a girl. But that was then, and this is now…

We’re all a lot more complicated than we’ve assumed.

Katie Couric, “Gender Revolution” trailer

The trailer for National Geographic’s “Gender Revolution,” a two-hour documentary airing next Monday, February 6th, begins and ends with the above sentences spoken by host Katie Couric.

A special January print issue on the same topic preceded. More on that later.

Interviews Couric conducts in the documentary include researcher of transgender and gender-nonconforming kids Professor Kristina Olson, sociologist and activist for intersex individuals Georgiann Davis, and the boy involved in a current Supreme Court case involving equal bathroom access, Gavin Grimm.

Watch the trailer below:

In the following sneak peek, Couric meets with 5-year-old transgender-identified child Ellie, her brother, and her parents. A quoted expert: “What we know with kids who are persistent, consistent, and insistent from a very young age is that almost none of them change their mind.” Likely it’s a brain thing that starts in the womb. “Testosterone is playing a role,” states Couric.

Like the documentary, the print issue on the “Gender Revolution” focuses on “cultural, social, biological and personal aspects of gender,” including traditional roles as well as nontraditional.

Editor Susan Goldberg “hopes that one of the things readers take away from the issue is a deeper understanding of the gender spectrum and those who do not identify with traditional gender binaries. As part of that hope, the issue begins with a glossary of a multitude of terms related to the subject of gender identity, including definitions for ‘genderfluid,’ ‘intersex’ and ‘transgender'” (NBC News).

One of the articles, “Rethinking Gender,” was written by Robin Marantz Henig, who was interviewed recently by NPR. Regarding the gender spectrum Henig notes that some cultures around the world, such as in Samoa, make room for a category in between male and female. Asked about the conclusions of scientists, she states that they “don’t actually know why it is that some people end up having a gender identity that doesn’t conform with their physiology and their anatomy or their chromosomes.”

Just one of 80 nine-year-olds photographed by Robin Hammond for the issue is their “cover girl” Avery Jackson, a nine-year-old “who spent the first four years of her life as a boy but has been living openly as a transgender girl since 2012.”

From Alexa Keefe, nationalgeographic.com:

Hammond hopes this photograph can contribute to changing people’s minds. ‘It’s those narratives that challenge our beliefs that help us move forward as a society,’ he says.

In the end, it comes down to acceptance. Quoting a therapist from a story about gender identity, he says ”Do you want a happy girl or a dead boy?”

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