'Degrassi' Breaks Down Walls -- Again -- With Transgendered Character

I remember when 'The Kids of Degrassi' first aired back in the early '80s -- I'm pretty sure I saw it in the classroom, the last refuge of an exhausted teacher in my downtown Toronto public school. I recognized the streets and even some of the kids, since my father lived in the area, and my mom was always sending me to artsy after-school programs. Even at that tender age, I recognized that 'Degrassi' was different from other television shows. Mostly I noticed that the kids weren't rich, good-looking or well-dressed.

Hey, in television that's already pretty out there.

But as we all know, 'Degrassi' has gone much further than simply showing us kids wearing K-Mart classics to a run-down school. They've shown us teens confronting sex, drugs, abortion, rape, sexual assault, cutting, abusive parents and homosexuality, and all without the after-school-special endings one usually expects from episodes dealing with these issues.

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