The Australian kids cartoon SheZow will debut this Saturday here in the United States on The Hub (formerly Discovery Kids). It features a 12-year-old boy who finds a magic ring that transforms him into a legendary crime-fighting superhero, SheZow, who happens to be a girl. Focus on the Family is not happy about this gender-bending message for kids, as explained by the organization’s resident ex-gay, Jeff Johnston:
JOHNSTON: SheZow presents at a pop-culture level what transgender activists believe and what some academics have taught for years: that gender is completely socially constructed and that people can change genders… Instead of giving kids good role models to follow, this cartoon reflects our culture’s confusion about the two sexes, and kids don’t need that confused message.
Johnston regularly uses his platform at Focus on the Family’s CitizenLink outlet to trash transgender identities. He believes that trans identities are not “healthy” and are “problematic psychologically,” even suggesting that gender variation can be caused by sexual abuse. He also denies that gender is socially constructed and separate from sex, merely because none of the “other genders” can “replicate itself.” Focus on the Family regularly promotes ex-trans ministries, encouraging the use of shame to reject trans identities.
Despite its gender-bending premise, SheZow is not even about a transgender character. Instead, it simply sends the message that it’s okay to stray outside the rigid lines of gender norms, a sentiment which could go far to help reduce anti-LGBT bullying. Watch the show’s descriptive intro: