This Interview With Ileana Ros-Lehtinen & Her Transgender Son Rodrigo On LGBT Acceptance Will Inspire You
While the acceptance of the LGBT community and its rights is on the right course, a handful of those in the upper echelons of Capitol Hill are not quite up to par. Same-sex marriage is legal in many states now, but politicians — especially those from the GOP — fearful of alienating the more conservative bloc of their constituents, typically remain tight-lipped about their views. But on Thursday, Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen opened up about her transgender son, Rodrigo Lehtinen, as they both discussed their experience wading through the murky waters of sexual identity in an interview with CBS Miami.
Rodrigo, assigned female at birth, told CBS:
Rodrigo hails from a prestigious family — his mother, Ros-Lehtinen, was the first Cuban-American woman to be elected to Congress; his father, Dexter Lehtinen, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida was in charge of prosecuting Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega; and his grandfather, Enrique Ros, was an unyielding Cuban-American author who, until his death last year, strong opposed Castro.
Despite growing up in a household that held conservative values, Rodrigo said his family was "really, really supportive" of his decision. Ros-Lehtinen told CBS:
In 2011, Ros-Lehtinen made headlines for becoming the first ever Republican to co-sponsor a bill that repealed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that banned same-sex marriages. The Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that DOMA was unconstitutional. On top of her progressive views on LGBT rights, Ros-Lehtinen also appears to have a sense of humor:
The Florida Republican is one of the founding members of the LGBT Equality Caucus that is committed to fighting for equal rights of the LGBT community. She was also the first Republican of Congress to pose in this awesome photo for NOH8, a charitable group promoting equality in response to California passing Proposition 8. A pretty cool woman, all in all.
The CBS interview was Rodrigo's first time talking about being transgender publicly, noting that he was more "introverted" than his mother, who naturally is used to being in the public eye. He also said that he was surprised at the source of external support upon transitioning, too.
Kudos to this awesome family and Rodrigo's support system — now if only the rest of those fuddy-duddies in the GOP would catch up.
Images: Screenshot/CBS Miami (2); Getty Images