Channel 4 is known for pushing the boundaries and kickstarting conversations with its shows – and Naked Education is no exception.
Fronted by Anna Richardson, the six-part series – co-hosted by Yinka Bokinni and former Love Island star Doctor Alex George – aims to break taboos and aid body positivity with frank discussions and a whole load of nudity.
One pair we meet in episode three is Finlay Games and Lucian Main, two transgender men who get candid about coming out, transitioning, surgery, and navigating life as trans people.
In a truly powerful moment, the guys bare all, with Lucian showing his scars from top surgery, which he had six months prior.
Sometimes called chest feminisation or, in this case, chest masculisation surgery, top surgery is a procedure that removes breast or chest tissue (subcutaneous mastectomy), with the intention of reducing gender dysphoria and aligning the physical with what a person feels on the inside.
Meanwhile, Finn has also had top surgery, as well as bottom surgery, (phalloplasty) to create a penis and urethra using tissue from his forearm.
The aim of their interaction is for Finn to share his journey and provide Lucian with answers he’s been seeking while he contemplates bottom surgery, explaining how everything works, what the surgical process is like, navigating sexual relationships, and debunking misconceptions.
Plus, it alters people’s perceptions of what it means to be trans.
Speaking exclusively to Metro.co.uk, the duo share their reasons for stepping out of their comfort zones and stripping off in the name of visibility.
‘There is so much information around being transgender in general, but especially around gender-affirming surgery and what that is, and why we have surgery. It was so important to show that this isn’t just surgery that we choose, it’s life-saving stuff,’ Finn begins.
‘Surgery is more than just the aesthetic changes on the outside, it’s really deep, internal, life-saving changes. I had my surgery quite late in life and I lost all my young years to gender dysphoria and distress, but this surgery has given me a whole new lease of life and I wanted to show that this really does enhance lives.’
Lucian adds: ‘I’m the other end of the scale, I’m the guy out there looking for information. In the community, it’s great and we do all stick together and share things where possible, but that’s not necessarily our job and a lot of the time, not a lot of people will talk about it because it’s so painful in some aspects.
‘So, I had all these unanswered questions and I believe everything starts with a conversation.’
Understandably, both stars had their anxieties about showing off their naked trans bodies on TV, but they argue that the positive impact the scenes will have far outweigh any negativity that may come.
‘I read a lot of terrifying things in the media about trans people, so I knew I’d be putting myself in a position where I’d be vulnerable to negativity. But from an impact perspective, that crushed the anxiety a bit. I knew we had to do this,’ says Lucian defiantly.
Finn agrees, adding that the trans people who came before him and shared their stories made it possible for him to live openly today, so he wants to ‘pay it forward’.
But, that doesn’t mean he’s naïve to the possibility of criticism.
‘This is going to have such a positive effect, but I knew there’d be a huge backlash,’ he admits. ‘I already share my story publicly and I’m used to it, that’s not to say it’s right. But I’m here today and able to go through transition because of people who were brave enough to share their stories and put themselves out there.
‘It’s not up to everyone to do that, but the people who can have made it mostly safe for me to do the same. I’m so grateful for the life I have today and the negative feedback is insignificant to the positive stuff that comes out of this.’
He believes that such representation would’ve ‘saved’ him growing up, as the 49-year-old battled ‘hell’ in the form of drug and alcohol abuse and mental health problems before starting to live his truth.
So, what do they want audiences to take away, and how do they wish to be perceived? Well, the answer is simple.
‘We don’t have an “agenda”, we just want to be happy,’ Finn says proudly.
‘Having our voices heard is so important. The only place to learn about trans people is from trans people. Seeing regular trans bodies on television, that’s what people need to see, trans people being their regular trans selves, going about their regular trans lives.
‘This isn’t about transitioning, this is about being human.’
Even if the negative conversations do come, Lucian is more than prepared.
‘I just want people to talk. Don’t be afraid of looking for the answers or asking questions. I just want it to spark people’s curiosity. We are two normal dudes you could walk past in the street.’
Naked Education airs Tuesdays at 8pm on Channel 4.
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