Shortland Street praised for welcoming first 'intersex' baby to the show

goss 10/08/2018

The latest addition to Shortland Street, baby Billy, also happens to be the soap opera's first ever intersex character.

Two of the show's main characters, Harper and Drew, welcomed their child on Wednesday night's episode, and audiences are praising the show and it's writers for demonstrating inclusivity.

Shortland Street posted an image of the new character to its Facebook page, prompting fans to share their thoughts - with some sharing how they personally relate to the storyline.

"Well done Shortland Street, this is a very real storyline and one very close to my heart," one commenter wrote. 

"I never thought in my entire time of watching soaps that I would finally see an intersex child," said another.

"It's very rare for this to happen, but I am fortunate to have a gorgeous baby who was born like this."

Some Facebook users remarked that Wednesday's episode was the first time they had encountered the word 'intersex'.

"It made me aware... so thanks for educating me in this," one fan wrote.

The term 'intersex' covers several variations in sex characteristics. According to Intersex Awareness NZ, "it includes over 30 conditions where the sexual anatomy or the chromosomes are not the standard male or female".

While many fans celebrated the show's latest development for "addressing real life", not all of the comments on social media were so positive.

One user claimed the narrative was "messed up", asking, "why can't there just be normal baby, either a boy or a girl?".

Another comment called the storyline "over the top."

Earlier this year, New Zealand flew the intersex flag at parliament for the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia - becoming the first country ever to do so.