Becoming Us

Family puts spotlight on gender identity in TV series

Most students with an LGBT parent probably wouldn’t be eager to talk about it, but junior Ben Lehwald has agreed to star in a documentary series on ABC to provide guidance about living with a transitioning transgender father.

“I want people to be able to be themselves and to see everyone as a human instead of a thing,” says Ben. “We’re all humans and we all come from the same stuff.”

The show will mainly focus on Ben and his father Charlie, who is transitioning into “Carly.” The series was filmed in Evanston starting in October 2014, ending a few months ago. “People should be able to identify however they want, and I hope to communicate that through this show,” Ben explains.

The series, titled Becoming Us, will premier this summer on ABC Family, directed by Ryan Seacrest Productions. Ben and his family initially came up with the idea as a joke and passed it on to their family friends, who are producers. It then got into the hands of Ryan Seacrest Productions, which sold it to ABC Family as a 10 episode documentary series about the past three years of Ben’s life.

Ben found out about his father’s transition a few years ago. “I was really shocked, but I was mainly just kind of worried because you know how people are,” he says. “My main concern was if my mom was going to be okay and if Carly was going to be okay.”

According to, 90 percent of transgender people have been discriminated against in the workplace.

“I’ve seen discrimination on the Internet about Carly, and I’ve seen discrimination on the Internet about me already too,” Ben adds.

Becoming Us is completely unscripted, focusing on the daily lives of a family with a father who is transitioning into a female. The purpose of this show is not only to interest the audience, but also to inform everyone about gender identity and help others who may be dealing with a parent who identifies as transgender.