Cindy Barshop is opening up about being the mother of a nine-year-old transgender son.
During a new interview, the former Real Housewives of New York City cast member spoke about her decision to encourage her child Jesse, who was born female, to live as a transgender person.
“When a child feels comfortable and open, identity issues are able to be discussed in the family environment,” Barshop told People magazine on August 1. “I believe living in creating an open and positive home so they are able to express themselves.”
According to Barshop, she felt it was necessary to come forward with her and Jesse’s story after hearing what television host Mario Lopez had said about parents waiting until a child’s “formative years” before allowing them to make certain declarations about their chosen gender.
Although Lopez has since apologized for his statements, telling People magazine on Wednesday that they were “ignorant and insensitive,” Barshop hopes to turn Lopez’s comments into a learning moment for others. She believes that with more awareness being brought to issue of gender identity, more understanding will come.
“Trans is an identity and has absolutely nothing to do with sexuality,” she explained.
Barshop also admitted that she had a conversation with her transgender son Jesse about what Lopez had said about children and their gender identity.
According to Barshop, Jesse shared a telling statement in reaction to Lopez’s words.
“He said, ‘Why don’t you tell him that we learn about this in 5th grade and he needs to go back to 5th grade.’ It shows how evolved our children are and hopefully the adults will catch up,” she shared.
During an interview on Inside Edition in December 2015, Barshop admitted that her then-daughter Jesse preferred to dress more like a boy than a girl.
“I was trying to find very girly tomboy clothes for her, and we were out and she said: ‘mommy, I want to go here.’ It was the boy’s section,” Barshop recalled, according to a report shared by the Daily Mail.
At the time of the 2015 interview, Barshop did not discuss the possibility of Jesse transitioning into a male and confirmed that she was still using female pronouns to describe her.
As fans of The Real Housewives of New York City may recall, Barshop was brought to the cast for the fourth season of the show but did not return to the series for season 5.