Netflix Defends Transgender Plot in Kids' Series Baby-Sitters Club: It's 'Updated for 2020'

Michael Foust | Contributor | Monday, July 27, 2020
Netflix Defends Transgender Plot in Kids' Series <em>Baby-Sitters Club</em>: It's 'Updated for 2020'

Netflix Defends Transgender Plot in Kids' Series Baby-Sitters Club: It's 'Updated for 2020'

Netflix is defending its decision to include a transgender angle in its new series The Baby-Sitters Club, saying the plot is “smart” and “sweet” and supports children who want to identify with a different gender.

The live-action series is based on a collection of popular Scholastic books about middle-school girls who launch a babysitting business.

In episode 4, Mary Anne – one of the sitters – is asked to watch a young girl, Bailey. Mary Anne, though, soon discovers Bailey is a biological boy who dresses like and identifies as a girl. Toward the end of the episode, Mary Anne defends Bailey’s transgenderism to a doctor and nurse when Bailey gets sick and is hospitalized.

The series is rated TV-G and available on Netflix’s children’s profiles.

Last week, Netflix’s official Twitter account posted a defense of the episode by Rose Dommu, a writer for Netflix who identifies as a trans woman. Netflix’s Twitter account has 8.5 million followers.

“The Baby-Sitters Club is a smart, sweet, and self-aware update of the beloved book series about preteen BFFs who start a childcare service — literal girlbosses! This generation’s BSC handle the same dramas as their original incarnations, with the circumstances updated for 2020,” Dommu wrote.

Dommu summarized the plot and then wrote that “what this episode ultimately gives me is hope.” It also “illustrates what was articulated so perfectly in” the transgender-themed film Disclosure Documentary: “You can’t be what you can’t see,” Dommu wrote.

“Imagine the young trans children who are going to watch this & see a version of themselves who is actualized, supported, and HAPPY,” Dommu wrote.

It is important, Dommu wrote, “that we listen to and trust trans kids while also building a kinder world for them to grow up in.”

The transgender plot is the primary theme of episode 4. Dawn, whose father is gay, helps Mary Anne understand Bailey better.

“It's like this: Are you right-handed or left-handed?”

“Right,” Mary Anne responds.

“... And if someone tried to make you do everything with your left hand, it would be super-weird right?” Dawn asks before explaining: “... Well, that's how Bailey feels. The same way that you know that you’re right-handed, Bailey knows she's a girl. … We all want our outsides to match our insides.”

Many parents say Netflix has crossed a line.

“I'm very disappointed,” one person tweeted. “The issue not only opens the door for young developing and vulnerable minds to be misled into incorrect thinking about themselves, but it is also a sexual issue, of which children do not need to be exposed. My children will not be watching this series.”

Another tweeted, “Netflix is run by morons. Children should NOT be trying to transition, they do NOT have the mental capacity to fully understand what transitioning means or what it could mean for the rest of their lives. It's the same reason children CAN NOT consent to sex!”


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Photo courtesy: ©Netflix

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

Netflix Defends Transgender Plot in Kids' Series Baby-Sitters Club: It's 'Updated for 2020'