This afternoon, Katie Couric will be devoting her entire hour to exploring the stories of transgender youth - in particular, the journeys they've been on with their families, and specific medical advances that are allowing some trans youth to transition more safely than ever before.
It's obviously impossible to tell a complete story of the transgender experience in one hour, and some very complex issues will naturally get simplified in the process - like the notion of being "trapped in the wrong body" which is a sentiment that not all transgender people agree with. But this hour will introduce three very powerful stories of young people and their remarkable families, and will shine a light on the way modern healthcare system is capable of taking care of these kids.
Of course, just because the healthcare system can take care of these kids, that doesn't mean it does. And by showing audiences what's possible, it is our hope that the show will also lead to more education and awareness around the specific healthcare needs of the trans community. For many kids and families, even the types of medical interventions discussed on today's show can't be a reality without the help of laws like the one recently passed in Oregon, which mandates healthcare coverage for transgender youth.
But more importantly, today's episode of Katie should show all parents and educators that the most important thing to ensuring the well-being of a transgender young person isn't medicine - it's love and support.
GLAAD has been working closely with the show's first guests, the family of 6-year-old Coy and their attorney Michael Silverman from Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund and we were priveleged enough to also meet Chris and Devon and their families, and chat with experts Kim Pearson from TransYouth Family Allies, Nick Teich from Camp Aranu'tiq, author Andrew Solomon and Doctor Michelle Forcier, all of whom will be on with Katie. We also got to say hello to trans icon and tennis great Renee Richards, who will tell her own story on the show.
Today's Katie should educate and enlighten, and hopefully it will inspire her audience to learn more about transgender youth and the challenges they face - especially when they're not fortunate enough to have as supportive a family structure as Coy, Chris and Devon do.