Gender Transitions: Teens in “Becoming Us,” “All That Jazz,” and More

Gender transitions are the focus of several new TV series and films featuring teens’ points of view.

I. Becoming Us

First up, the TV docuseries Becoming Us, premiering June 8th on ABC Family. As teenager Ben Lehwald states about his father’s transition, “It’s like, ‘Well, I did have a dad. But I don’t anymore. And now I have Carly'” (ABC7Chicago.com).

Ben apparently came up himself with the idea to do this series—he wants to reach out to others dealing with gender transitions. Crystal Bell, MTV: “What makes ‘Becoming Us’ so unique is that we’re seeing Carly’s transition through Ben’s eyes. His reaction to Carly’s transition is visceral and heartbreakingly real — we’re talking scream-at-the-top-of-your-lungs-atop-a-building-real.”

We meet the family eight years into Carly’s transition. Other significant issues that have affected them are Ben’s parents’ divorce and Charlie/Carly’s alcoholism.

One of Ben’s main supports is his girlfriend Danielle, who also has a transgender parent.

Watch a preview below:

II. All That Jazz

Airing on TLC some time this summer is another reality-based show, All That Jazz, which will feature 14-year-old author/activist Jazz Jennings.

III. 52 Tuesdays

About the film 52 TuesdaysSophie Hyde‘s award-winning directorial debut: “16 year old Billie’s reluctant path to independence is accelerated when her mother reveals plans to gender transition and their time together becomes limited to Tuesday afternoons” (IMDB).

Notably, this Australian fictional slice of life was actually filmed over 52 consecutive Tuesdays.

More from David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter:

Billie (Tilda Cobham-Hervey) starts a video diary after learning that her lesbian mother, Jane (Del Herbert-Jane), is beginning the long and psychologically taxing process of becoming a transgender man, adopting the name James. Needing life to be simplified during this transition, James sends Billie to live with his father, Tom (Beau Travis Williams), for a year, agreeing that they will meet once a week during set hours after school on Tuesdays. Billie’s confusion is increased by the hurt she feels at being the last to know; she’s way behind easygoing Tom and her uncle Harry (Mario Spate), who also lives with James and is more like a flaky big brother to Billie.

Where can you find it? 52 Tuesdays is in some theaters currently; in some countries it’s already also on DVD/digital. In the U.S. it will debut on DVD/digital June 30th. You can watch the trailer here:

David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter: “Full of touching moments even if its emotional rewards remain somewhat muted, 52 Tuesdays feels highly personal and is never less than absorbing or sincere in its depiction of a non-traditional family navigating difficult changes.”

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