A group which offers support to the LGBT community has welcomed the portrayal of a transgender character in an innovative online drama series broadcast on the S4C website.
PyC is a series of five episodes which exist solely online on the website s4c.co.uk/pyc and made by the same BBC Cymru Wales team behind Pobol y Cwm. They are short, sharp and shocking and aimed at 18-30 year olds which will show a different side to Cwmderi.
Transgender people's gender identity does not match their physical sex that was assigned to them at birth. In the third episode of PyC shown on Wednesday night, 10 April, we discover that the character Llew is a transgender man in the process of changing his physical sex from female to male.
Jayne Rowlands of Unity Project, who offers support to the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community, says: "There is still such a long way to go to overcome stereotypes in the LBGT community which is why innovative programmes such as PyC are so vitally important. Seeing someone like you out there being part of life with all its up and downs rather than on the outside of it can be life-changing to a young person.
"Growing up struggling to come to terms with your gender identity if often a hugely isolating experience. Alongside the difficult process of trying to understand your own feelings and then to accept them are the huge pressures to behave and act like 'boys' or 'girls' should. From them come the judgements when those 'rules' are perceived to be transgressed."
The BBC Cymru Wales team worked closely with transgender organisations and support groups, such as the Unity Project, as they developed the storyline. PyC producer Hannah Thomas explains, "It was important that we showed accuracy and sensitivity when dealing with the subject. It was important that the transgender groups supported the project and we also met people who had, or wished to have, gender treatment."
PyC storywriter Bethan Marlow adds that the process proved to be emotional, "I had no idea about the extent of the problems that transgender people deal with. Researching the story was a difficult process at times, but it was also heart-warming since so many people I met had happy endings."
For young actor Gwydion Rhys, who plays the transgender character Llew, getting to grips with such a complex character was a new challenge, he says: "It was the psychological side of the character which proved most difficult, since I had no previous knowledge of the subject. But through the script, and the research, I succeeded in building the character."
The innovative series is currently being shown on the S4C website – s4c.co.uk/pyc. Also in a new method of storytelling, some of the characters share their hopes and fears through fictional Facebook and Twitter accounts where they communicate together and with the viewers.
Huw Marshall, S4C Digital Manager, says about the project, "It is suitable that a series such as PyC discusses subjects that are relevant to young people on platforms that they use in their daily lives."
The next episode of PyC will be added to the website at 9.00pm tonight (Thursday 11 April), with the final episode tomorrow (Friday 12 April). The entire series will be available on the website for another two weeks.
The s4c.co.uk/pyc website includes everything you need to know about the series including a link to a transgender support group website which includes personal testaments as well as advice and support information.
For more information about the work done by Unity Project please contact Jayne Rowlands firstname.lastname@example.org or Andrew Davies email@example.com.