This affecting series follows nine trans people over three years as they transition – and it has been done with requisite respect in inflammatory times
It’s Cairo’s 26th birthday and his first as a trans man. “It’s like a two-for-one bargain,” his mum jokes of gaining a son after having a daughter. She gives Cairo “the packed lunch you didn’t have when you were a little boy” because we all start out in a crazy world where even our lunchboxes are gendered. Then she gets serious. “Why didn’t I realise?” she asks. “I could have helped you more.” This is a refrain that runs through The Making of Me (Channel 4), a simple, affecting series following nine people, and those who love them, over three years as they transition. It’s both a masterclass in how to be a loving and supportive family or friend to a trans person and how, as the transcendent line from Jill Soloway’s award-winning series Transparent goes: “When one person transitions the entire family transitions.”
“My dad’s transgender and he dresses up as a girl,” says 10-year-old Izzy of her father, a mischievous security guard from Sheffield who is transitioning from Rupert to Vicky.
Vicky recalls being fascinated by women’s shoes in her mother’s catalogues as an 11-year-old boy and how she suppressed her gender identity for 30 years, got married and had kids until “eventually it came back”.
She worries about her deep voice, which leads to constant misgendering, and the impact of everything on her children: “You feel guilty, like you’re taking something away from them … ie, a father.”
And what does Izzy make of her dad? “He’s still my dad but we call him Vicky,” she says. Later she is asked if she has advice for other children of trans parents. “I’ve got advice for Vicky,” she says with a grin. “Dress better.”