New ITV drama Butterfly explores schoolboy's journey with gender identification disorder

Anna Friel and Callum Booth-Ford in Butterfly, which began on ITV on October 14. Picture: ITV.
Anna Friel and Callum Booth-Ford in Butterfly, which began on ITV on October 14. Picture: ITV.

A touching drama following a family's journey as an 11-year-old boy believes he's trapped in the wrong body has gained praise for its sensitive portrayal of gender identity issues.

Butterfly, starring Anna Friel and Emmett J. Scanlan, premiered on ITV on Sunday and opened up a hot-button issue about gender identity and how to support children feeling confused about who they are.

When 11-year-old Max reveals he thinks he has Gender Identification Order, it presents a real test for his parents Vicki (Friel) and Stephen (Scanlan) as they work out how to support their child.

The first episode was watched by more than two million people as Max tries to suppress his feelings of wanting to live as a girl, but struggles to feel he fits with day-to-day life.

And while dad Stephen seems to think his son's attitude and habits are a phase, mum Vicki is determined to protect her son, and his mental health and happiness, at all costs.

As Max starts secondary school, viewers watch as the 11-year-old wrestles with his emotions which stop him from using the boys' toilet and feeling comfortable in his uniform.

Max, played by Callum Booth-Ford. Picture: ITV.

Max, played by Callum Booth-Ford. Picture: ITV.

Max, and sister Lily's, estranged parents move back in together to support Max as he comes to terms with who he is, and what that means for his future and family.

There are moments where we, as an audience, get a glimpse of Max as Maxine, exploring her femininity and true self, as she believes it to be.

Butterfly was praised across social media for its powerful representation of trans issues. What do you think of the topics raised in the programme?

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Max and mum Vicki. Picture: ITV.

Max and mum Vicki. Picture: ITV.

*The three-part drama continues on Sunday, October 21 from 9pm.