This new SBS drama takes a sensitive look at an estranged couple coming together to support their transgender daughter
- byGavin Scott
For those who are not transgender, it can be hard to understand what it must be like to be born one gender but identify as the other. This three-part British drama (watch the trailer below) does an incredible job of making the subject matter relatable.
Butterfly shows 11-year-old Max (Callum Booth-Ford) grappling with his identity while his family deal with the reactions and emotions the situation provokes in them. When Max – whose separated parents (Anna Friel and Emmett J Scanlan) have been aware of his inclination towards “feminine” clothes and interests for some time – enters high school, he becomes increasingly distressed with his male form. The bullying and isolation he faces are nothing compared to the torture he inflicts on himself, forcing himself to act the way he knows his father expects him to and then taking extreme measures to eliminate the pain he feels at not being able to be a girl and go through life as Maxine.
As the family pull together – seeking professional advice, attending a support group, even reuniting under the one roof – the audience learns as they do. Without losing sight of the fact that this is a family drama (and not an instructional video), Butterfly addresses many of the issues concerning transgender people in a sensitive and realistic manner. (Starts Wed., Jan. 9 at 9.45pm; SBS) 4 stars
Gavin ScottA pop culture enthusiast from a young age, Gavin is equally passionate about great pop music (’80s synthpop, ’10s dream pop), gripping TV series (Friday Night Lights, The Handmaid’s Tale) and trips to the cinema (I love a blockbuster as much as anyone, but I’m done with the superhero thing).