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HBO and the family of a four-year-old featured in a new documentary came under fire for what many called out as simply “child abuse.”
A video clip from the HBO documentary “Transhood” ignited major backlash as disturbed social media users expressed anger and dismay at a young boy being encouraged to publicly announce his preferred sexual identity as a girl.
Dressed in a rainbow skirt at a ceremony the child appeared to be clearly uncomfortable in the video clip from the new HBO MAX documentary which profiled the lives of four transgender children in Kansas City, Missouri and was filmed over the course of five years,
In what appeared to be an LGBTQ celebratory ceremony, the biological boy was introduced by the mother handing over a microphone and declaring, “This is Phoenix.”
Watch these adults push a toddler dressed in rainbow clothing to publicly announce that he is a girl named “Phoenix” who would “prefer she and her pronouns.”
“I’m a little shy,” the toddler says, when offered the microphone to make the announcement.pic.twitter.com/jfVHv7p7dT
— Mary Margaret Olohan (@MaryMargOlohan) November 23, 2020
“I’m a little shy,” the child responded.
“You’re a little shy? Do you want to tell everybody if you’re a boy or a girl?” the mother then asked.
“I just want to tell them that I’m a girl,” the four-year-old replied.
“Ok,” the mother said. “You can tell them that.”
But after taking a deep breath, and making an attempt to speak into the microphone, the child admitted, “I don’t want to do it.”
“Ok,” the mother said, going on to make the announcement instead. “Phoenix would like you to know that she’s a girl and she prefers she and her pronouns.”
The remarks were followed by the group pronouncing: “May you be well, safe, and whole. We honor you exactly as you are.”
The clip ignited strong reactions from some viewers.
Child abuse plain and simple.
— President-elect Jeff Garrett (@jeffgarrett1999) November 23, 2020
This makes me just want to cry. Just let kids be kids.
— HeatherMarie (@BookNerdHeather) November 23, 2020
The chant at the end is absolutely creepy.
— Jennifer Michelle Greenberg 🦌 (@JennMGreenberg) November 23, 2020
So very evil & sad
— Brian Doherty (@BDOH) November 23, 2020
Sorry but this is sickening………unreal.
— CBecker 🇺🇸 (@CJBECKR) November 23, 2020
Interestingly, there was a further development with the child since the documentary was filmed.
According to IndieWire:
The youngest subject in the film, Phoenix, is just four years old when filming began. While their parents are supportive at first, once Phoenix de-transitions and begins identifying as a boy, their mother does a complete 180, calling transgender identity “a mental disorder.” Though she’s clearly going through her own personal transformation following a divorce, she says: “I’m glad I changed, I like this me a lot more.”
“It’s not unusual that kids know [that they are trans] when they are young,” Director Sharon Liese told Time Magazine. “People ask me, how do kids know when they are four years old? I quickly realized that is not the question. The question is, how do you not believe them?”
Liese added that despite the divorce of Phoenix’s parents and the different views journey for the family members, the message “is that you really just need to love your kids, and let them lead, and that you can never go wrong by affirming your child.”