Parents' Guide to

Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word

By Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Intense interviews with transgender youth promote empathy.

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Calmly and with impressive aplomb, Cox addresses the camera directly to explain to viewers many of the concepts that befuddle others about transgender people. Why don't some trans men and women get genital surgery? How can you be a woman if you don't have a vagina? Why would someone want to live in a way that others sometimes respond to with hate, fear, and even violence? Given how comfortable she looks in front of the camera, perhaps it's only natural that her subjects would be natural and honest as well, opening up about their personal histories and their current struggles. Ari, for example, a teen trans man, has never had sex. He's had opportunities, but he's afraid that "a girl will put her hand in my pants and freak out. It's happened before. And it sucks."

Even more heartrendingly, Danielle, 20, recalls her rape and how the law enforcement response changed when they learned she was trans. Was she sure she wasn't doing sex work and something went wrong? Meanwhile, Shane, 23, is over the moon at finding a girlfriend, despite being told by her mom that no one would ever love her if she transitioned. The first time Shane showed his naked body to his girlfriend, he decided to take a shower with her so she wouldn't be overwhelmed. She reproved him: "Shane, you're not an alien. You're going to have parts I'm familiar with and that's fine." With just such tiny, personal anecdotes, these interviewees show their humanity and drive home the point of Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word: There are two important words in the phrase "trans people."

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