PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — Katie Couric, slammed three years ago as insensitive during an interview with transgender women Carmen Carrera and Laverne Cox, says she has evolved.
“We can’t be afraid to make mistakes on our journey to educate ourselves,” said Couric, host and executive producer of “Gender Revolution,” a two-hour National Geographic special airing next month.
On an episode of Couric’s former talk show in 2014, she asked model Carrera if her “private parts” were different now. The model said she was uncomfortable with the personal topic.
When Couric raised the question with Cox (“Orange is the New Black”), the actress called it unhelpful given the problems of anti-transgender discrimination and violence.
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In a Q&A session with TV critics Friday, Couric said the exchanges could have been edited out of the taped show but she chose to leave them in as a “teachable moment” on appropriate or inappropriate ways to have such conversations.
The critical reaction didn’t make her shy away from the topic but instead compelled her to become better informed, Couric said.
“Gender Revolution: A Journey with Katie Couric,” airing 9 p.m. EST Feb. 6, is described by the channel as an exploration of the changing concept of gender in the realms of science, society and culture.
Couric interviewed scientists, activists, families and others to delve into the role of genetics, brain chemistry and modern attitudes on gender identity.
She said the “personal stories are what make this documentary.”
Among those featured in the special are JR and Vanessa Ford, parents of a transgender child who was being raised as a boy but who told her parents at age 4 that she was “‘a girl in my heart and my brain,'” Vanessa Ford said.
She said she hoped the project would help people get to know her family and relate to them.
“‘Hey, here we are. My kid won’t eat vegetables either,'” is part of the message, Ford said.
Lynn Elber can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lynnelber.