Nickelodeon, the popular kids television network, is launching the “Trans Youth Acting Challenge” in partnership with transgender actor Michael D. Cohen. The challenge asks parents of children who identify as transgender or non-binary to put together an audition tape for Cohen and Nickelodeon to review.
In a Facebook Live video on Nickelodeon’s Facebook page, Cohen announced the “Michael D. Cohen Trans Youth Acting Challenge.” The challenge will encourage parents to video their child’s audition and send it to Nickelodeon and Cohen, who will review the tapes and select winners to receive acting lessons from Cohen. Cohen was born biologically female but transitioned to female about 20 years ago. Cohen said that biology does not decide gender and wants to encourage transgender children to pursue acting.
In the Facebook Live video Cohen said, “In 2019 I shared my story with Time Magazine that I had transitioned, and since then I’ve been getting a lot of DM’s and emails from trans kids around the world, who like me when I was a kid, had dreams of becoming an actor. So I went to Nickelodeon and said, ‘I really want to help make it possible for these kids to realize their dreams.”
The challenge is “open any transgender and or nonbinary youth who loves acting.” They will pick 12 to participate in a Zoom acting class with Cohen. All who audition will be invited to attend a webinar with Cohen and the Nickelodeon casting team to ask questions.
In the aforementioned Time Magazine article, Cohen says, “I was misgendered at birth. I identify as male, and I am proud that I have had a transgender experience — a transgender journey.”
Cohen says that Nickelodeon isn’t pushing an agenda, but “what it does is send a message to kids that whoever they are, however they identify, that’s celebrated, and that’s okay.” Cohen doesn’t believe gender is defined by biology but doesn’t see it as a choice either, saying, “It is not random, it is not arbitrary, it is not chosen. It’s like trying to negotiate with gravity.”
Nickelodeon has included homosexual characters in the past. In 2016, the network featured a homosexual couple on an episode of “The Loud House.” The animated show “The Legend of Korra,” a spinoff of “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” starred a bisexual character. Nickelodeon also seemed to announce in 2020 that SpongeBob SquarePants, a character that has been around since 1999, is a homosexual, featuring him in a tweet with Korra and Cohen celebrating LGBT pride.
This despite the creator of SpongeBob, Stephen Hillenburg, saying in 2005, “We never intended them to be gay. I consider them to be almost asexual. We’re just trying to be funny and this has got nothing to do with the show.” Hillenburg died in 2018.
Though Cohen claims to the contrary, it seems Nickelodeon does have an agenda in promoting the LGBT lifestyle to children. Nickelodeon and Cohen may feel like they are helping children who identify as transgender, but what they are really doing is furthering their confusion. Children, even those who identify as transgender, like Cohen, were created by God for a purpose. Encouraging them to embrace a transgender lifestyle is not celebrating who they are but encouraging them to go against God’s purpose for them. We should be celebrating how God created our being, not celebrating how we feel our being should be.
Check out the Falkirk Center podcast with Ken Ham on answering cultural questions through Genesis: