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Shocking footage has emerged showing a mother parading her pre-school-aged child in front of a crowd, announcing that "Phoenix" would like to be recognized as a girl with "preferred pronouns."
The exchange goes like this:
"This is Phoenix. I'm a little shy," the preschooler says to his mother.
"You're a little shy? Do you want to tell everybody if you're a boy or a girl?" the mother asked.
"I just want to tell them that I'm a girl," the boy mutters to his mother.
"Okay. You can tell them that," the mother says.
After the boy decides he can't do it, the mother announces into the microphone, "Okay, Phoenix would like you to know that she's a girl and she prefers 'she' and 'her' pronouns."
The group in front of the family then chants together: "May you be well, safe, and whole. We honor you exactly as you are."
The clip is from HBO's new documentary Transhood. The documentary explores the lives of four kids who live in Kansas City and who transition to different genders over the course of five years. The youngest, the boy in the clip, is only four when filming begins. He appears to socially transition at the behest of his mother who dresses the boy in girls' clothing and reads him LGBTQ-affirming books.
IndieWire reports that in the documentary, "Phoenix" eventually changes his mind, wants to live as a boy again, and the mother then supports the child "de-transitioning."
"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."
On the documentary's web site, HBO states its intended purpose. "By sharing personal realities of how gender expression is reshaping their lives, the film explores how these families struggle and stumble through parenting, and how the kids are challenged and transformed as they experience the complexity of their identities."
The documentary seems to place significant emphasis on the ways transitioning as a child to another gender appears to invite bullying. "?While every journey is different, these families share their honest and varied experiences as the young people display incredible resilience, facing rejection from their peers and escalating political rhetoric that strives to invalidate LGBTQ+ lives. All the while, the older kids navigate the minefield of adolescence. Sharing their most vulnerable moments, the parents reveal their ambivalence, doubts, and missteps as they themselves transform over time."
There are at least twenty documentaries about the lives of transgender people, but only a handful that focus on children under 18 years old.