Charlize Theron is an LGBTQ ally who has long used her illustrious film career as a way to spread acceptance (she even won a GLAAD award in 2006). But for Theron, inclusivity begins at home.
In an interview with Pride Source, notoriously private Theron opened up about her effort to support seven-year-old daughter Jackson who was assigned male at birth but, at three years old, declared to Theron, “I am not a boy!”
Theron has openly supported Jackson throughout her journey. She has even repeatedly come under fire in the press for allowing Jackson to grow her hair long and wear traditionally feminine clothing.
However, Theron admitted that she still struggles in referring to Jackson using the appropriate pronouns and that her misgendering missteps “really hurt her feelings” and is what inspired her to speak publicly on the matter.
“I feel like as her mother, for me, it was important to let the world know that I would appreciate it if they would use the right pronouns for her… It became harder for us the older she got that people were still writing about her in the wrong pronouns, and also I was still talking about her in the press using the wrong pronoun.”
Pronoun misuse might seem like an innocuous mistake to some, especially given Jackson’s age. However, addressing transgender youth by their chosen moniker is crucial to their health and well-being, and the research backs it up.
According to a study from the Journal of Adolescent Health, transgender youth whose preferred name and pronouns are affirmed in multiple settings (at school, in the home, socially, etc.) see vastly lower depression, suicidal ideation, and suicide rates than their unsupported counterparts. Additionally, research has shown that transgender children identify with their chosen gender as strongly as cisgender children do.
By acknowledging Jackson’s preferred pronouns, Theron is not pushing political agendas or seeking public validation. She is showing baseline compassion for her daughter and championing her to become the person she deserves to become. In an era when suicide rates continue to rise, particularly for transgender and black teens, Theron should be lauded for giving her children the space to discover who they are and honor that identity from a young age.
Theron also wants such discovery to be shielded from headlines, noting that Jackson’s gender is “really private and it’s her story, and it’s really up to her to decide if she wants to share that.”
Though Theron believes that her children are “a little too young” for fully-formed conversations around queerness and sexual identity, she wants to make sure that they feel supported no matter the path we choose. She said,
“We definitely have these conversations whenever they say, ‘I’m gonna get married’ and I’m always like, ‘What is it gonna be? A boy or a girl? What is it gonna be?’ I love that my kids just know that that’s a normal question to ask.”
She joked about daughter August, 4, who says she’s going to be married five times, to three boys and two girls.
“God knows what it’s going to be, but I love that she feels safe enough to explore in her little-girl brain that anything is possible and that she’s gonna go and discover that for herself.”
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Feature photo: Bombshell / Facebook
Michelle Vincent is a project manager and freelance writer. She enjoys traveling, is worried she won’t love her future children as much as she loves her dogs, and is actively recruiting podcast recommendations.