A children’s drama on CBBC about a transgender schoolgirl captured vicious bullies terrorising her with name-calling in the first episode this afternoon.
First Day, which was shown in Australia earlier this year, documents the life of Hannah Bradford, a 12-year-old transgender girl, as she starts a new school.
The four-part programme features on CBBC, which is designed for six to 16-year-olds, and has divided opinion on social media.
The actor playing the role of Hannah is Evie Macdonald, a 15-year-old transgender teenager who once confronted former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on live TV about ‘disrespect’ shown to transgender youth in the country.
In the first episode, Hannah is seen heading towards her last day of primary school when she is met by a group of bullies who repeatedly call her by her previous name, ‘Thomas’.
The schoolgirl then prepares for high school, heading dress shopping with her mother, and is delighted to make some new friends on her first day.
However, her happiness is soon ruined in the show when one of the bullies joins her high school, and seems to reveal Hannah’s past to their new classmates.
Ahead of the programme, many praised the BBC’s decision for showing the controversial drama, while others criticised the broadcaster, saying it’s simply ‘ticking diversity boxes’.
On Twitter, FFLAG, an organisation for parents and families supporting the LGBT community, said: ‘Hopefully this series will make a positive impact in the lives of #trans kids and their families. #FirstDay #CBBC’
A teacher, @just_JoshyG, added: ‘So @cbbc are launching a new show called #FirstDay about a trans girl starting her first day at secondary school. Firstly, INCREDIBLE… Secondly, that’s an RSE/PSHE resource found for my Year 6s!’
However, the series has also been hit be negative reaction. @Carriedenne1 wrote: ‘You are stoking the fire of the trans contagion by showing programmes like First Day.
‘This is exactly why gender clinics are brimming with children. Put the brakes on it until you have done research.’
@STILLTish agreed, writing: ‘More #CBBC Propaganda to inculcate a bodily dissociative disorder in kids.’
@juliette0307 added: ‘It smells of “who forgot to check our diversity target?”‘
The programme, originally screened by Australian channel ABCME, sees main character Hannah negotiating life at a new school as a transgender girl, including her fears that her peers will find out about her previous life.
Australian Evie Macdonald, who plays Hannah, made headlines around the world in 2018 when she confronted the country’s PM Scott Morrison live on TV at the age of 13.
Evie, born Ethan, spoke up for transgender Australians on Channel 10’s The Project, telling Mr Morrison ‘we don’t deserve to be disrespected.’
‘There are thousands of kids in Australia that are gender-diverse and we don’t deserve to be disrespected like that through tweets from our Prime Minister,’ she said.
Her comments followed a controversial tweet from Mr Morrison, in which he said schools do not need ‘gender whisperers’.
‘We do not need ‘gender whisperers’ in our schools. Let kids be kids,’ he posted on Twitter.