Review: First Day

Evie Macdonald in First Day

First Day is an Australian series about a transgender girl as she enters school as her authentic self for the first time. It’s aimed at young people. It both helps clarify what it is to be transgender and provides inspiration for those who might be in a similar situation.

First Day introduces us to Hannah, played by the promising and talented trans actress Evie Macdonald. She’s starting high school and attending dressed as a girl.

She has no friends, is concerned about getting permission to use the girls bathroom, and terrified that the other students will find out about her.

Evie Macdonald and Joanne Hunt in First Day

Hannah is encouraged by her supportive mom (Joanne Hunt). Her mom helps her talk to the principal and the teachers to make sure she will be supported at school. At home, Hannah’s dad (Mark Saturno) and brother (Ethan Gifford) are also supportive.

Hannah watches videos with advice and tips from Jazz Jennings. Late in the series, when her secret is out, one of her friends talks to her about how to convince parents to accept who you really are. Now it’s Hannah giving help and tips, being a leader.

Evie Macdonald, Nandini Rajagopal, and Elena Liu in First Day
True friends

A girl named Olivia (Elena Liu) befriends Hannah immediately and proves to be a loyal friend when the word comes out that Hannah is trans. Natalie (Nandini Rajagopal) is a good friend too.

At first Jasmine (Arwen Diamond) is a friend, but shuns Hannah when the news spreads. Hannah’s nemesis, a mean girl from primary school, Isabella (Isabel Burmester) is at the same high school. She is a constant source of worry for Hannah.

In only 4 episodes, we see Hannah go from a frightened and shy girl to a girl not afraid to claim who she is with pride. It helps that she’s accepted by the students and has good friends, but she actually makes the journey herself. She sticks up for herself, she isn’t afraid to face a challenge, and she even goes swimming. Swimming is one of the biggest hurdles for transgender people, but she does it. I hope there will be more seasons as we watch Hannah navigate high school and perhaps beyond.

The series was written and directed by Julie Kalceff. She created a hopeful and inspiring story. It’s meant for young people, but I enjoyed it. If you know a young person in need of support and encouragement, this is a good series to watch.

First Day poster

This trailer is meant for Australian TV. In the US, the series is streaming on Hulu.

Australian teachers produced a teaching kit for First Day. And Australian television supported a webinar with questions from Australian school kids for Evie Macdonald and the director, Julie Kalceff. You’ll find both on YouTube. Scroll down under the video for a link to the teachers’ materials.

Author: Virginia DeBolt

After many years as an educator and writer, Virginia retired from working life. She's always loved a good movie or TV show and wants to use her free time to talk about them with you now. She's Old Ain't Dead!

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