Last night's Degrassi marked the conclusion of a two-part series spotlighting Adam, one of Degrassi's newest students. Adam, who is the first transgender teenager to ever appear on a scripted series as a regular character, is subjected to bullying and transphobia at school when he is outed by a classmate.
WARNING: Contains spoilers!
In the first part of the series titled "My Body is a Cage," one of Adam's classmates outs him, and the word quickly spreads that he is transgender. While his close friends are supportive, Adam is violently assaulted by two male students in the men's restroom. After Adam's brother Drew discovers that his football teammates are responsible, he gets into an altercation that quickly turns violent.
In the finale of the two-part series, the episode begins with Adam, Drew, and his mother in the principal's office after the altercation. The principal's solution to prevent future violence is to suspend Drew's teammates and to provide Adam with an adult to accompany him in between classes. The principal also requires Adam to use the school's handicap restroom.
Outside of school, Adam faces other issues within his family when his mother asks him to attend a dinner with his grandmother dressed as a girl. When Adam tells his mother that he wants to attend dinner himself, she tells him not to come, saying "I don't understand why we can't have a normal family dinner. I don't deserve this." Later, Adam decides to give in to his mother, and joins the family as Gracie. While Adam tries to appease his family and schoolmates by attending school as Gracie the next day, the pain of trying to live as a girl takes a toll on him both emotionally and physically.
Adam's friend Clare helps him to realize that trying to please others is not healthy for him, and he needs to be true to himself. She finds him male clothes to wear, and Adam finishes the school day as Adam.
In the end of the episode, Adam tells his mother that she has to let Gracie go. Adam's family and friends decide to put the memory of Gracie to rest by burning Gracie's old clothes. While Adam's mother finds it difficult to cope with Adam's transition, she ultimately accepts her son.
Adam will continue to appear in future episodes of Degrassi, attending school as a boy with the support of his family, the school administration, and his friends. We look forward to seeing what other experiences are in store for Adam as the year progresses.
While Adam's experience mirrors a reality for many in the transgender community, it is a fictional representation. With so few images of the transgender community on television, Adam's story on Degrassi is only one of thousands that have yet to be told. Do you think Degrassi fairly represented the transgender community? We'd like to hear viewers' opinions on Adam's experience.
If you missed this week's episodes, they will repeat on Friday, August 13 and are always available online at TeenNick and on iTunes.
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