“Degrassi: The Next Generation” has long been on the cutting edge of teen dramas, exploring topics that are as much the stuff of teen reality as parental nightmare. From teen pregnancy to school shootings, the show has provided a candid, if sometimes uncomfortable, look at the issues affecting one very troubled group of young Canadians.
However, despite the show’s often sensationalized subject matter, they have taken a decidedly demure stance in introducing “Adam,” the show’s latest character, and a female-to-male transgender student.
The show accurately — and sometimes painfully — portrays Adam’s day-to-day life as a high school student, from coming out to friends to enduring brutality at the hands of his less-enlightened classmates.
While we’re thrilled to see this topic introduced to a younger audience, Adam is far from the first trans character to make an appearance on the small screen. Television programs have provided a home for a large number of popular gay and lesbian characters over the years, though transgendered characters are only now rising to prominence. In recent years, they have come into the spotlight on shows like “Dirty Sexy Money,” “Nip/Tuck” and “America’s Next Top Model.”
So, while “Degrassi” may still be best known for teen sex (and lots of it), the show is on its way to playing an integral role in sparking an important discussion between teens and adults alike.