Conservative Group Fears Degrassi-Induced Transgender Plague Upon Your Children


The Degrassi franchise is a friend to the queers. Always has been, seemingly always will be. If you were a youngster in the ’80s, you might remember the original Degrassi, a Canadian program which was one of the first shows to tackle a lot of taboo teen issues including teen pregnancy, alcohol abuse and — surprise — homosexuality!

The original series, Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High, which aired on Canada’s CBC network and also in America on PBS, ended in 1991, and Degrassi: The Next Generation began in 2001 on CTV, later picked up in the US by “The N” (home of South of Nowhere) which is now “TeenNick.” The American episodes were often edited to suit the psychotic conservatives who dedicate their lives to protecting teenagers from learning about issues that face teenagers.

Past seasons of the new Degrassi have featured characters like Marco Del Rossi (gay), Cheerleader Paige Michalchuck (bisexual), Dylan Michalchuck (gay), Alex Nuñez (lesbian) and football players Zane Park (gay) and Riley Stavros (gay).

So it’s no surprise that when Degrassi introduced a transgender character, Adam Torres (no relation to Callie), in Season Ten, that they nailed it in the way you probably wish Ilene Chaiken would’ve done instead of what she did do which was devastating and terrible. Degrassi even snagged an mega-elite Peabody Award for its episode My Body is a Cage, Pt. 1 the first in a two-episode set that featured Adam being outed as transgender at school and dealing with his mother’s refusal to let go of “Gracie.” There’s a few inevitable bullies, of course, but Adam’s friends are refreshingly supportive and nonchalant, setting a good example for impressionable children about how not to be assholes to their LGBTQ friends.

It’s also no surprise that the Florida Family Association is asking companies to withdraw their advertisements from Degrassi because of the Transgender Agenda it imparts:

It is very concerning that your company would knowingly advertise during a television show that condones and promotes transgender lifestyles to an audience that is almost exclusively watched by young teens and children. You would think by the number of episodes that MTV devotes to including the relationship between a female to male transgender high school student and a bi-sexual lesbian student that such relationships are a common occurrence in America’s high schools. The odds of this bizarre relationship occurring in high schools are extremely rare. Yet, MTV feeds this salacious and irresponsible propaganda to an audience made up of almost exclusively young teens and children as if it were common place. MTV airs a free promo for PFLAG on DeGrassi which directs kids to an organization that will encourage our youth to embrace a different sexual identity that may stay with them for life. Will your company continue to advertise on this irresponsible show?

Firstly, “bi-sexual lesbian” ? AMAZING. This is further discussed in this incredible World Net Daily article on this topic:

The family group notes the “Chasing Pavements II” episode of the program “contains graphic intimate relations between the female to male transgender character Adam (Gracie) and bisexual, lesbian character Fiona.”

“In one scene Fiona kisses Adam, pulls up Adam’s shirt and rubs her hand slightly above Adam’s groin,” the alert said.

GROIN! The piece is sensationalistic and the author seems absolutely delighted to dish every detail of this program which they apparently don’t think anyone should watch. Except, of course, whomever wrote this article and subsequently tracked down a fan-vid of Adam and Fiona kissing to share with their readers! World Net Daily points out several reasons why this storyline is so fantastic, like this:

The episodes contain a clear message that the rest of the world must change in order for “transgender” individuals to get what they want.”

Perfect! I feel it’s unlikely that any advertisers will actually listen to this nonsense — which also includes some extensive hand-wringing over an Transgendatastic PFLAG PSA — but hopefully it’ll bring the show some extra publicity so that more kids and families find out about it and tune in, like with Skins, except this time the show is actually good.  Yes — Degrassi is a show for kids, that’s why it’s on the kid channel, and so things are a little cheesy sometimes (most of the time). But it’s easy to get hooked, and if you start from the very very beginning you’ll get to see a young Drake playing Jimmy in the Wheelchair, and it will tickle you, and Alex Nunez is smokin’ hot. Like Skins, Degrassi uses actors the same age as their characters so it doesn’t feel fake like Saved by the Bell or 90210. Apparently America prefers its high schoolers to look like college students.

I won’t get into Adam’s storyline or the storyline between Fiona and Adam any more than I already have, because maybe you want to watch the show and not have everything all spoiled. I’m sorry that I told you about the groin thing though. I just had to.

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3202 articles for us.


  1. For the fucking life of me I don’t understand why these people think that if you just keep gay away from them when they are kids it’ll never come up again.

    Did you know that some back-asses in Tenn. are going to pass a bill that makes it illegal for educators to discuss any sexuality other than heterosexuality in a school prior to ninth grade?

  2. The problem with this is that now I have to start watching Degrassi again. And I’ll have to catch up with all those seasons I missed. And probably rewatch the first seasons because why not? This is literally days of my life that I’ll have to give up to Degrassi, once again. Thanks a lot.

  3. Florida, dear. I grew up in you. You did a good job of keeping the Transgender Agenda away from me! But guess what.

    I’m friggin’ transgender.

    What is wrong with people.

      • I just came out as transgender…Silly Florida.
        Iowa made me full of rainbows and sparkles. But now they’re trying to remove the gay.
        I really enjoy the fact that there are more transgender peeps on Autostraddle than I thought.

      • florida made me a bi-sexual lesbian on MTV.
        oh snap. JK.

        Just every time I visit it reminds me I’m trans*

  4. “Adam’s friends are refreshingly supportive and non-plussed.”

    Interesting (to me anyways) vocabulary shift: did y’all know that in British usage, “non-plussed” actually means “perplexed and surprised”? It used to mean this in American English, but common usage has shifted it to mean the opposite, or “unperturbed”. This is possibly because of the “non” prefix usually denoting a negative.

    Sorry, I am a total grammar and etymology geek and can’t turn off that part of my brain even when reading blogs…

    • Also, Alex Nuñez is indeed smokin’ hot, and I just love the way those Canadian actors say “sorry” and “about”.

      • YES. I went to Toronto last month and almost died when someone told me “Sorry about that, eh?” Oh, Canada :)

    • I’m glad you’re a grammar nerd, because I was wondering about that usage. I was only familiar with the British usage. Guess my fellow ‘mericans don’t bother using the word very much, huh?

      • Also, I guess that makes it like inflammable. Does that mean in America, if you’re confused, you’re just plussed?

        • I’ve lived in England for awhile now and I had no idea they had different meanings, glad I do now. Homely is the one I notice as British peeps use it all the time and to me it means the complete opposite. Americans also don’t use morish.

    • Yeah, I was nonplussed *harhar* by the use of “non-plussed”! I learned the word from Harry Potter books (Canadian editions) and obvs it was used with the definition of “surprised and confused”

    • sorry no definition 2 = “Not disconcerted; unperturbed”

      i might just change this word anyhow since apparently it means something else in the UK and i don’t want ppl confused

      • I checked Merriam Webster and American Heritage Dictionary and they only recognize the “confused” definition, which was the original one; the other one has only come up because people have been using it incorrectly for so long. Besides, what is the point of a second definition that means the exact opposite of the original definition?

        • Auto-antonyms are awesome. Examples include “left” which can be something that has gone and something which remains, “boned” which can be something that has bones or something with no bones, and “mislove” which means both to hate something and to love something sinfully.

          • Oh America and your funny words…. Me and my other British friends (i.e. Hugh Lawrie and the Queen) were discussing the other day, what do you guys have for a word that’s not so bad as ‘fuck’, but worse than, I don’t know – ‘darn it?’

            We’ve got ‘bloody’ and ‘bloomin’ and ‘bugger’, which are useful inbetween ones.. what do you lot use?

            P.S “I COULDN’T care less”. COULDN’T. Absolute minimum amount of caring. >.<

          • I’d say that “freakin'” is an apt intermediate (I was also discussing this the other day with HRH).

          • Hmmm yeah, that works :) Guess I’ll see you at the Royal Wedding then, with all the other Brits.

  5. *ugh* florida. i grew up in florida too.. actually, the funny part is there were 6 of us lgbt’s at my tiny backwoods bible belt high school of 400 students. and nobody really gave a sh*&.! in fact i took my girlfriend and gay best friend to prom. so much for the “extremely rare” argument.

  6. Oh Degrassi. Growing up as a Canadian prairie kid this was an after school staple!! It is funny because it really did push so many boundaries even back then, but I always felt like Canadians took a lot of pride in that fact, and I don’t ever remember it being censored in anyway. Although I do remember things seeming “shocking” to me, although that could have everything to do with them being cool city kids, and NOTHING to do with actually how shocking it was for the time. I would be interested to look back though and see what the real reactions to things like Spike’s pregnancy and other “shocking” things were. I have had a hard time getting into or keeping up with TNG because it seems like every other teeny/American show. Anyways, thanks for the Degrassi love!

  7. “You would think by the number of episodes that MTV devotes to including the relationship between a female to male transgender high school student and a bi-sexual lesbian student that such relationships are a common occurrence in America’s high schools.”

    So, like, do Space and SyFy have to reevaluate their programming? Because in my general experience, time travel/alien invasions/wizards are way less common than relationships that don’t fit with heteronormativity and/or the gender binary, but from the way those channels get on, you’d think that there were just robot uprisings happening all over the place.

  8. I love Adam. I wish I could be like him. I actually stopped watching Degrassi when the original Next Generation characters went off to college. But when I found out about Adam I had to see what happened next. So, Adam renewed my faith in Canadian Tv. I feel so much empathy for his character and think that the writers have done a very nice job.

  9. Transgender storylines on TV in general are extremely rare. And the only two others I can think of (L Word Max, All My Children Zarf) made me absolutely hate the transgender individual person in question. I guess the scary part for conservatives is that Adam seems pretty decent and Adam is a teen. I think it’s about time there was a positive, mainstream portrayal for the transgender folks out there. I can’t relate and kind of got annoyed that the L Word was devoting so much time to Max, because hello, he wasn’t a lesbian (I feel the same way about Kit, damn it) but I thought the way they involved Fiona in the storyline was super-interesting. A new twist on coming out. BTW, I totes love Fiona. If I were in high school again, I’d probs have a TV crush on her.

    • It has dawned at me that the Real World had a male-to-female transgender person and she was also really unlikable. Adam is truly the exception on American TV.

  10. It’s true guys- listen to David Caton! I first discovered Degrassi through my girlfriend’s sister a few years ago and well, now look at me ;) It’s a wonder I’m not a bi-sexual lesbian too…

    on a more serious note:

    I think this latest uproar will backfire, as it will only increase Degrassi’s viewership and its advertisers will most likely ignore the FFA anyways. I’m also really glad that I checked AS this morning before work and saw this article. I spent a couple hours last night reading debates among the radical trans* community (specifically whether or not FAAB trans* women should be allowed in MAAB trans* spaces) so this was a nice reality check on where we actually are in this country.

  11. I think the reason conservatives might think that TV turns kids gay/bi/trans is because so many of us only figure it out from seeing it in the media. I mean, raise your hand if The L Word was your closet key. It was for me, and I know it was for a lot of other lesbian and bi girls out there.

    But that’s totally not the same as it TURNING you gay. I know straight boys who saw Brokeback Mountain and they still have no desire to have sex with other men.

    Besides, if all it took was seeing it on TV or in a movie to turn you one way or the other, wouldn’t everyone be straight and cisgendered? The vast majority of TV and movie characters are.

  12. Another thing is that I’m happy to see that even just one Canadian show that is being aired on TV, and geared at teenagers, is giving a positive portrayal of trans characters.

    I have a TV show in my head that is about high school band geeks and has a variety of LGBTQ characters, including a trans dude, and I’ve always figured that even if I were some famous TV person who had a chance to produce a TV show, this show would never have any chance of making it because of that one character. Because so many people who are accepting of gay and even bi characters can’t handle the T in LGBT.

    I’m so glad to find out that I am at least somewhat wrong. Now we just need a show as big as Glee – or even Skins – to introduce a trans character!

  13. Irrelevant, yes, I need to talk to someone about how cute Dannielle from is without being creepy.

    She’s SO CUTE. Kristin is cute too but Dannielle is crazysexycool. Ahhh.


  14. You know, I always despised Degrassi, but that’s probably because one of my sisters and I would fight over the television because it was on at the same time as Battlestar Galactica or something else with spaceships. I honestly had no idea it was actually progressive for a teen soap or that it was doing awesome things. I tended to overlook these things when fighting over the television as a teen because “You like the show, too!” is a really hard thing to make a comeback to.

    However, it still has nothing on Starbuck landing 55 tons of raptor onto a moving hangar deck.

  15. I’m a big fan of degrassi and I have no problem with them exploring this type of relationship whatsoever but I have to say this character has taken over the show. It’s really actually getting kind of boring. There are so many other issues that need to be addressed. There are so many other characters. Move on already!!

  16. The best part of that annoying and totally transphobic article that Florida Family Association wrote about Adam, is how Degrassi responded to it.

    Adam’s next serious relationship after Fiona the “bisexual lesbian”…(because that’s a thing lolnot) was with a girl named Becky Baker. Three important things to know about Becky:

    1. Becky was COMPLETELY in love with Adam and saw him as nothing less than the amazing guy he is.

    2. Becky was the daughter of an extremely conservative Christian Minister.

    3.And Becky was a transfer student to Degrassi……..from Florida.

    Degrassi= 1 Florida Family Association= 0


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