Hollyoaks trans youth storyline sparks fury from bigots

Rose Lomax in Hollyoaks.

British soap Hollyoaks has kicked off a brand new trans storyline in which 12-year-old Rose Lomax begins to question their gender identity – and internet trolls are already frothing at the mouth.

In an emotional scenes during Monday night’s episode (4 March), Rose, played by Ava Webster, opened up about her feelings to trans character Kitty Draper (Iz Hesketh), who tried to assure the youngster that they would be OK.

“I don’t know what the first step is. I’m a boy but my body’s all wrong. How am I supposed to tell my parents that?” Rose cried.

Vowing to help, Kitty replied: “You need to know that your life is in your hands. So, stop bunking off school, then, and only then, you can start thinking about how and when you can tell your mum. You can’t move on with your life until you’ve told the people you love who you truly are.”

Rose announced that she determined to talk to mum Diane Hutchinson (played by Alex Fletcher).

“Once you’ve taken the first step, you can start actually being who you truly are. It’s the best feeling in the world,” Kitty said.

In earlier scenes, Rose asked Kitty about her experience of coming out as trans, with the older character revealing that she was kicked out by her father at age 14 after moving forward with her decision to transition.

The soap shared a clip of the “important” conversation on X/Twitter, which has been swamped by anti-trans bigots accusing the show of promoting “grooming”.

One person labelled the storyline “appalling, irresponsible propaganda,” while another wrote: “Hollyoaks is basically a LGBTQ soap now. Not happy with turning everybody gay, now they have their eyes set on grooming kids. Absolutely sickening.”

Despite the flurry of trolls armed with the “groomer” slur, the soap has also been praised.

“An important and well-handled storyline. Well done to all involved,” said current Drag Race UK vs The World star Tia Kofi, who appeared in a guest role in the soap last year.

Another fan said: “Love to see it. I knew I was gay from when I was a kid, and I would have been horrified if anyone had tried to tell me I wasn’t. Listen to queer kids.”

Responding to the criticism, someone else wrote: “The ignorant brainless comments here show why this is important. F**k transphobes, we love you Hollyoaks. Keep doing what you’re doing.”

Hollyoaks has long been a champion of trans and non-binary representation, introducing Sally St. Claire (played by Annie Wallace) in 2015 – the first transgender character to played by a trans actress in a British soap. 

Since then, Phoenix Hathaway (Tylan Grant) and Ripley Lennox (Ki Griffin) have also joined the show.

Hollyoaks airs weeknights on E4 and Channel 4’s streaming platform.

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