The new Disney+ streaming service is spotlighting the activism of a 12-year-old transgender girl as part of the new Marvel unscripted series Hero Project, which profiles young individuals who are trying to make a difference in their communities.
Hero Project‘s episode “Mighty Rebekah” introduces Rebekah Bruesehoff, a transgender girl from New Jersey who transitioned at the age of eight. Bruesehoff was born male but now identifies as a girl with the support of her parents.
The episode follows Bruesehoff’s path toward activism, which began around the time the group Garden State Equality started agitating for statewide guidelines regarding transgender kids in schools.
It also reveals that Bruesehoff is active as a singer in her Christian church, where her father is a pastor.
Bruesehoff was only ten when she spoke at her first big rally. “It was kind of nerve-wracking because it was my first time speaking there. Speaking anywhere,” Bruesehoff recalled in the episode.
Her mother, Jamie, has supported Rebekah’s transition and activism.
“Holy moly. She was just a natural,” Jamie said. “All these people were impressed by her bravery and the clarity of ‘this is who I am and I deserved a safe school.’ Suddenly people cared and wanted to hear your voice.”
Rebekah added: “They wanted to hear what I had to say on the matter of me being me.
In a recent interview with The Advocate, Rebekah Bruesehoff expressed surprise about being chosen as a Marvel “hero.”
“It’s really surprising and cool,” Bruesehoff told the magazine. “But I also think that it’s really important to have a transgender kid in one of these companies because representation is really helpful for kids who are going through their transition to know that they are not alone and that there are people fighting for them.”
The 12-year-old said personal inspiration came from Jazz Jennings, the transgender girl who starred in the TLC reality series I Am Jazz.
“She inspires me by being a role model for kids like me to help them come out and transition,” Bruesehoff said. “But she also inspires me because she’s just a kid — well, not a kid — but just a regular person like any other. ”
As part of Bruesehoff’s advocacy, the pre-teen has lobbied in favor of New Jersey Assembly Bill 1335, which would mandate the teaching of LGBTQ history in public schools.
“I feel that it’s really important for all kids to learn about LGBTQ people and how they can impact our world and our history,” Bruesehoff told The Advocate.
“Because they can see that transgender and all LGBTQ people are … like them and they can change the world.”