Death On The Nile star Annette Bening has praised her trans son in a new interview.
Since the 1980s, the beloved talent has curated a long and successful career filled with critically acclaimed films and an array of accolades – including one BAFTA Award and two Golden Globes.
In addition to Bening’s stellar acting catalogue, the American Beauty star has also made a name for herself as a fierce advocate and supporter of the LGBTQ+ community, including her trans son Stephen.
In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the 65-year-old praised the 30-year-old poet, describing him as “incredibly brilliant.”
“To love your child so much is the greatest way to learn about what trans people are all about. I get to say this because I’m the mother: My son is incredibly brilliant,” she said.
“I mean I have four amazing children, and I love all my kids. Stephen has always been a highly literary person. I just read his latest poem that was just published; wow, it is so extraordinary.”
Bening went on to say that she’s learned a lot from Stephen regarding the trans experience, despite being “very ignorant” in the beginning.
“He’s someone I do admire, and I’ve learned a lot from when he first came out. I was very ignorant about what it meant to be a trans kid,” she explained.
“I, like every other parent, want to protect my kids and make sure they’re ok, and I had a lot of learning to do. I didn’t always know what to do, and I didn’t always make the right choices because of my own ignorance, but we got through it.”
Towards the end of her interview, Bening expressed the importance of using her voice and platform to fight back against anti-trans hate.
“It is heartbreaking to me, the coldness and lack of compassion that so many people have, and they are trying to stir up all this fear in people about trans kids and parents, and they are trying to legislate that,” she said.
“We all have a responsibility to protect and defend the rights of trans folks in our world. They’re precious parts of our community.”
“This should not be scary to anybody else. This is a private, legitimate, complex, deep, spiritual, physical, and psychological experience that has to be respected and honored.”
Bening’s interview comes at a time when anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric –especially anti-trans hate – has reached an all-time high due to the constant attacks from right-winged lawmakers.
According to a recent report from ADL and GLAAD, between June 2022 and April 2023, there were “at least 356 anti-LGBTQ+ extremist and non-extremist incidents motivated by hate across the United States.”
There has also been an alarming rise of anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments in the UK.
Back in October, the Home Office reported that “over 30,000 hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation or transgender identity recorded in between 2021 to March 2022.
This was more than double the number of hate crimes committed in 2017 and 2018.