Back in July,
AC Slater Mario Lopez got skewered (and rightfully so) because he made some ignorant comments about parenting and transgender children. Mario, a father of three, suggested that it is “dangerous” for parents to label a child as transgender. He also said something confusing about how young children don’t know anything about sexuality so they can’t possibly decide that they are transgender.
Mario seems to have confused “gender identity” with “sexual orientation.” Someone get Mario Billie Lee’s phone number, because he is in serious need of her tutelage. Mario has since issued an apology. As. He. Should. In the wake of Mario’s ignorant comments, Cindy Barshop, from Season 4 of the Real Housewives of New York opened up about her own transgender child.
Cindy revealed to People that one of her 9-year-old twins, Jesse, is transgender. According to Cindy, Jesse’s gender identity is a very natural part of their household and did not change anything about the family’s lives, stating that life is “the same. We are the same.”
Cindy told People that Jesse, upon hearing Mario’s gender identity/sexual orientation confusion asked Cindy to speak out about it. The 9-year-old asked Cindy to explain that being transgender isn’t about sexual preferences. Jesse said “Ew, I don’t like anyone yet.” Which is so cute and so 9.
Cindy explained that she was actually “glad” for Mario’s public comments, because it gives her the opportunity to correct a common misconception about transgender children. Mario’s comments included the statement that parents shouldn’t label their children as transgender, because the children are too young to know or understand their own gender identity. In response to that, Cindy explained that parents should be more open to children who are trans because even at a very young age “they know.”
“They know [at a young age], they know that ‘you know what? I’m not supposed to be a girl, I’m supposed to be a boy.” Cindy went on to encourage parents to “flourish” their child’s gender identity. She explained that the rates of suicide among trans children are alarmingly high, due in part to how their families respond.
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In fact, the Human Rights Campaign reports that more than half of male transgender teens and more than 20% of female transgender teens reported having attempted suicide. Family rejection and bullying partially account for this large number. That is sad and so awful.
Cindy hopes that by speaking out and encouraging parents to be understanding an accepting when their children express a gender preference, she will have helped save a life. I hope so, too, Cindy.
Too bad Cindy was a dud of a Houswife (I don’t remember one thing about her, tbh), because she seems like an amazing mom.
TELL US – DO YOU THINK MARIO’S COMMENTS WERE IGNORANT? DO YOU REMEMBER CINDY?
[Photo Credit: Robin Marchant/Getty Images for Big City Moms, Inc.]