'The Boy Who Was Born a Girl' Goes Large

7th December 2009

Green Bay's Channel 4 film THE BOY WHO WAS BORN A GIRL was watched by more than a million people, comfortably outperforming the series and slot averages and winning widespread acclaim in the UK press.

Now it's been snapped up by international distributors Digital Rights Group and will be marketed as one-hour documentary special to global broadcasters, launching at the key MIPCOM marketplace in Cannes this October


Jon is a typical teenage boy in all respects except one: he was born a girl.

Brought up as Natasha for 15 years, Jon can remember feeling male since he was only five years old. Having grown up always feeling different to the girls in school, it was impossible to identify as female.

Jon eventually confided in his mother Luisa, who supported him in seeking help from his GP and subsequently a gender specialist. He has been diagnosed with gender dysphoria, a condition that affects over 100 British children every year, and is embarking on an extraordinary journey of transition.

Director Julia Moon follows mother and son through the first three months of Jon's life-changing treatment as the testosterone pushes his female body into male puberty.

For Jon the changes that follow are things he's always wanted. But for Luisa, this means coming to terms with the enormous loss of her daughter.


Sunday Times

Julia Moon's film is a touching portrait of Jon, who combines adolescent gawkiness with self-possession in the face of teenage bullying. Yet it also bears witness to the bravery of his mother, converting love for her daughter into love for her son, searching with him on the internet for chest-binders and "packers" and replying with a startled "gosh" as they appear on screen. Jon is making the transition from female to male, but he is not the only one having to change his life.

Radio Times

Documentary of the Week & Pick of the Day

The Boy Who Was Born a Girl is a quietly powerful essay by producer/director Julia Moon about sweet and articulate 16-year-old Jon, who used to be a girl called Natasha. It's a genuinely lovely film, thanks to the honesty of both Jon and his mum, Luisa. Jon is excited about his transformation and Luisa is hugely supportive. But she has no hesitation in discussing her pain at the loss of her daughter Natasha. She says of her new son's excitement: "his happiness is my grief".


Sixteen-year-old John was born as Natasha, a pretty girl from London with a biological gender disorder that meant she should have been born a boy. Now taking testosterone tablets that make his voice drop and listening to heavy metal, John is getting rid of the person that he was while his mother feels she has lost her daughter, to be replaced by a male twin of sorts, and school, predictably, is a nightmare. John is blessed with a brilliantly understanding mother and a wisdom beyond his years, making this a moving and inspiring film.

The Times

Pick of the Day

It's a simple and moving film about courage, tolerance and love.

Time Out: London

Pick of the Day

Julia Moon's film catches Jon at a moment of profound transition. Gender realignment issues aren't exactly unknown territory for TV documentaries, and they aren't always handled with the utmost sensitivity. But where Moon triumphs is in her communication of the emotional nuances of the process, for both Jon and his mother Luisa. Typical of this is a wonderful scene in which the pair are refreshing Jon's wardrobe. Jon's embarrassed by the bras and dresses. His mother's proud, but fighting back tears. She's gained a son, but lost a daughter. ‘It's as though I had twins and one has left', she confides. It's a notable achievement to pack such depth into such a short film, but it's a feat that is increasingly typical of this fine series. Highly Recommended.


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