Once in a while, a show comes along and tugs at the heartstrings with its compelling storyline, tough truths and an all-consuming desire to live it. M-Net’s new series, Butterfly fits this very description.
This gripping three-part series details the angst of a transgender preteen named Max, who has since the age of five been aware that the gender assigned at birth (male), does not resonate with her identity. At home, Max wears what she likes and as puberty approaches, it becomes increasingly important for Max to wear dresses to school to fully live her life as Maxine. As a result of Maxine’s desire to live her truth, her parents have grappled to support her which ultimately resulted in their divorce. But her stressful life doesn’t stop there… the constant homophobic bullying from her classmates is driving Maxine over the edge.
Living your truth isn’t only for adults
The complexities of gender identity are often detailed from a point of view that references adults. By detailing Maxine’s transition from puberty, Butterfly provides much-needed child transgender representation in television. The series is loosely based on the real-life gender transformation of Jackie Green and her mother, Susie Green, who is the founder of the transgender charity Mermaids. Butterfly has become an instant hit with British viewers who’ve flooded social media with positive reviews such as this one below:
Tony Marchant is the writer behind the powerful gender identity series. It’s not Tony’s first script highlighting gender issues, he’s written a feature film called ‘Different for Girls’ which follows a transgender adult. Asked why he feels drawn to telling stories on gender identity, Tony told The Huffington Post UK that “I grew up in the East End as an amateur boxer for 12 years and when I packed it in at the age of 19, I remember saying to my dad I wanted to write poetry instead. It was about being aware of what your identity was in a certain kind of way – I didn’t turn out to be the kid I was supposed to be. The idea of exploring the fluidity of gender has always appealed to me.”
Eleven-year-old Callum Ford Booth shines in his first major role as Max/Maxine Duffy, who at birth was assigned a gender she doesn’t identify with. Despite her challenges, Maxine learns that it’s better to tell and live your truth, no matter how uncomfortable it may be for others. Anna Fries of Pushing Daisies fame plays the role of Vickie Duffy – the conflicted mother of Max Duffy who’s torn about how to fully support her child while also managing the expectations imposed on Maxine by her husband, family and society at large.
Butterfly S1 starts Saturday 7 December on M-Net (101) at 22:00