1. The one-hour documentary is hosted by the one and only Laverne Cox.
The actress and activist has been working on getting real trans stories on television for years. “This particular incarnation of the project we started at the beginning of this year, with casting. My producing partner and I, for about nine years, have been trying to get a show on the air about trans people’s lives. MTV finally said yes, and it was the realization of about nine years of work,” Cox told BuzzFeed News.
2. The special shares the stories of 7 transgender teens, ages ranging from 12 to 24 years old.
3. It’s not just a TV special; it’s an intervention for the way society still portrays and views the trans identity.
“This special is a critical intervention in people thinking differently about what it means to be trans and what it means to live your truth. We should be celebrating these young people and loving them – not stigmatizing, objectifying, sensationalizing, or criminalizing them,” says Cox.
4. The show moves beyond the topic of transition as a storyline.
“We really go into the serious issues that affect [trans individuals’] lives, and I think we just touch the surface in The T Word. I want to go a lot deeper, but I’m so proud of these seven young people to come forth and tell their stories,” explains Cox.
5. You get to hear the story of the first trans Division One basketball player from that player himself.
Kye, now 24 years old, had to go through his coming out and transition under the harsh spotlight of the media. In the documentary he continues to struggle with gaining his mother’s acceptance.
7. You will fall in love with each and every one of the brave, yet wildly different, personal journeys that are shared.
“They did this because they wanted to help people in their situation and hopefully change the world. I think they are so brave and so amazing. You cannot watch this show and say that any of these young people can be denied the same rights that anyone else has,” says Cox of the cast.
8. A live interactive forum, airing after the special, will provide a moment for the cast to have an open discussion with Cox and other special guests.
“What I’m excited about is the live forum that will allow us to dive even deeper into the issues, and we have someone who is non-gender-conforming – doesn’t identify in a binary way at all – so that will add to the conversation even more,” Cox told BuzzFeed News. Fans can tweet questions using #TWord.
9. At the heart of the show, it’s all about being true to your authentic self.
“At the end of the day hopefully trans folks will watch it and see their stories – see bits and pieces of who they are reflected in these young people’s stories.
It’s also for people who are not trans. A lot of it is about that audience, trying to educate that audience and get that audience to connect with us and humanize us – to realize that we shouldn’t be denied any rights just because of who we are.”
10. Which makes it a show about absolutely everyone.
“I think everyone should really watch, because these young people represent what it means to live in your truth. I think their lesson is to anybody who is struggling with any part of themselves. They are letting you know that it is OK to be who you are. Even with all the hardships that you might go through doing that, that you come out the other end so happy and so much healthier when you can live in your truth,” Cox concluded.
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