'Becoming Us' is making TV history
A new docu-series is premiering tonight on ABC Family — and it’s making TV history. Becoming Us follows the life of Ben and his girlfriend Danielle, two ordinary midwestern teenagers going through extraordinary circumstances — both of their fathers are transitioning.
The Lehwald-Crawford family includes 17-year-old Ben, his mom Suzy, and his dad who used to go by Charlie, and now goes by Carly. The story is told through the eyes of Ben and focuses on the struggles he endures while coming to terms with his parents’ divorce and his dad’s transition.
The Ryan Seacrest produced show is debuting on the heels of Caitlyn Jenner’s introduction to the world last week, and is making TV history. Becoming Us is another huge step for the transgender community, spotlighting a family as they deal with the daily realities of a family member transitioning.
Doing the show was Ben’s idea. He recognized that, while his situation is unusual, he’s not the only person living with a parent who is transgender. He wanted other people to know they aren’t alone. In an interview with Nightline, he made it very clear that families all over the world are going through the transition of a parent or child — not just celebrities, which is largely what the public sees. “We’re normal people,” Ben told Nightline. “Famous people don’t just do these things. Everyday people go through things. We’re a functional but dysfunctional family.”
The show is full of very real and valid emotions — bringing viewers closer to understanding what it really feels like to be in Ben and Carly’s situation. In one moving scene, Carly tells Ben she’s going to have “bottom surgery.” Ben responds with real-ness and humor by telling Carly “my dad is gone. . . the person that made me will not have the thing that made me. That is weird.”
Ben’s high school girlfriend Danielle is also featured on the show along with her transitioning dad, who used to go by Dan, and now goes by Sallydan.
“I met Ben, and Ben also has a transgender father, which, it’s kind of like, ‘What?’” Danielle said. “We did not set this up for the TV show!”
If two kids from the same high school both have dads who are transgender, chances are it’s a lot more common than most people realize — which is exactly why Becoming Us is so important. We will definitely be tuning in.
Check out the trailer, and don’t forget to check it out tonight at 9 p.m. on ABC Family: