Theatre New Brunswick Young Company is touring the show It’s A Girl!, a true story about trans artist Michelle Raine, to middle and high schools.
Alexis Milligan is the play’s co-writer. She said people shouldn’t be taught to put an “X” through things that are different.
“It’s a Girl! is an examination of critical thinking and how we teach young children what different is,” Milligan said.
According to Theatre New Brunswick’s website, the play is inspired by a true story about struggling with gender identity. It says the play creates a safe environment where people can have conversations and discuss identity and what it means to be perceived as different.
Former STU student Robbie Lynn is an actor in the production. He said the show is about Raine’s struggles growing up as a transgender woman.
“I find it a very relatable play because it asks questions about identity, who you are as a person and how you figure that out … And I think everyone kind of goes through that,” Lynn said.
Cancellations cause controversy
For the unnamed schools that cancelled the showing, this teaching won’t be happening. According to CBC news, the schools cancelled due to the show’s subject matter.
CBC news said TNB received emails from parents saying the content in It’s A Girl! as well as their other touring production Boys, Girls, and Other Mythological Creatures, was not age-appropriate, some even saying the content supported pornography and rape.
Milligan said despite the occasional comment from parents, the feedback from schools has been positive. She said it’s different to be in the room watching the production than it is to be at home and hear your kids talk about the content of the show.
Sparking a conversation
Milligan thinks it’s important to show teens that life can be complicated, and to just simply tell people’s stories.
She also noted the great part about sharing Raine’s story through live theatre is that it can be perceived in different ways and that each opinion and idea stipulated by it should be viewed as important.
“It’s just presenting an idea. And [if] the idea sparks conversation, it’s great, and if it doesn’t, then that’s okay too.”