Charlize Theron: Jackson told me ‘I am not a boy’ when she was 3 years old

Charlize Theron shops with her kids at the Farmer's Market in Studio City

In a cover interview with Elle last year, Charlize Theron spoke about her two adopted children, calling them “my two beautiful girls.” In other interviews, she made references to having “two African-American daughters” and being the mother of “two girls.” When she adopted Jackson Theron seven years ago, everyone identified Jackson as a boy, including Charlize. As Jackson grew up, the child began to wear blonde wigs like Elsa from Frozen, and Jackson was photographed in dresses and more. There was low-key gossip about it on some blogs, but now Charlize is confirming things, I guess: Jackson identifies as a girl and always has identified that way.

She is a doting mother-of-two. And Charlize Theron was just like any other mom as she embraced her eldest child, Jackson, on Wednesday, in Los Angeles. The star – who adopted Jackson as a baby and introduced the child as her son – explained that Jackson is every bit as much a girl as her three-year-old sister, August.

‘She looked at me when she was three years old and said: “I am not a boy!”,’ said the star, when asked. She continued: ‘So there you go! I have two beautiful daughters who, just like any parent, I want to protect and I want to see thrive. They were born who they are and exactly where in the world both of them get to find themselves as they grow up, and who they want to be, is not for me to decide. My job as a parent is to celebrate them and to love them and to make sure that they have everything they need in order to be what they want to be. And I will do everything in my power for my kids to have that right and to be protected within that.’

[From The Daily Mail]

I go back and forth on what I think about how Charlize talks about her daughters. On one side, Charlize gets photographed with her kids often enough to where there was already speculation online about Jackson. In that sense, I see Charlize as just acting as an advocate for her daughters and being a very public example of a parent who accepts and loves her children, come what may, and normalizing everything about having a transgender child. On the other side, I do feel like this should be a private family thing until Jackson is older and able to talk about it herself, you know?

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193 Responses to “Charlize Theron: Jackson told me ‘I am not a boy’ when she was 3 years old”

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  1. Snazzy says:

    So please don’t jump down my throat at this question because I am really just trying to learn: I’m wondering if this is the kind of thing that is really known so early, or if it’s just a kid being a kid ans figuring this out? Like because a child says that at 3 you just run with it? I ask also because my friend’s daughter via the same: she says she doesn’t want to be a girl, but that she is a boy and they are trying to be supportive but as parents they are also very confused. Sorry, I guess I don’t really know what I am saying except that all of this, especially with children, is difficult to navigate and understand (at least for me)

    • Nikki says:

      *raised hand* I also want a legitimate answer for this question, as I don’t have any kids of my own and I’m also trying to learn

      • Kristen says:

        I am no expert but based on my reading and understanding, kids are capable of knowing at an early age. While it’s possible a child might be experimenting and “switch back” to the gender that matches their sex, it’s more likely they intuitively know because they know themselves and their identity.

        Either way, I think the best course of action is unadulterated support and acceptance.

      • Moe says:

        I agree. three us too young to make what could be a life long suggestion. just let a young child like that be. I may be old school o this I know but it’s what I would do. although I think charlize is doing what she thinks is best and i support her for that too

    • Esmom says:

      I think like many things, gender is a spectrum. Using sexuality as an example, two of my best friends are gay. One knew from his earliest memories that he was attracted to the same sex. He literally never imagined anything else. The other one didn’t start to get inklings of same sex attraction until he was a teen and decades later still can be attracted to the opposite sex at times.

      I guess my point is I believe some people can know that early, while others may not. I think all a parent can do is be as supportive as possible every step of the way.

      • NotSoSocialButterfly says:

        I fully agree. I think some people know who and what they feel they should be from a very early age. If my three year old boy said that to me so emphatically, I would do just what she is doing. The quandary comes when it’s time to consider pharmacologically suppressing puberty to give additional time to decide.

    • MagpieSassyPants says:

      My BFF from Kindergarten has a FtM child that knew when he was three or four. He very clearly stated to his parents that he was a boy, not a girl, and they cut a deal; if after being the flower girl in a wedding being held in six months, if he felt the same way, then they could cut his hair, change his clothes, etc. During the six months, the child didn’t say much about it, but made it clear they were uncomfortable in the pink and sparkly hand me downs from the big Sis. On the plane back from the wedding, he asked if they were going straight to the hair salon and wanted reassurance that he would never have to wear a dress again.

      It has been a challenge for the parents, but they fully support him. He is thriving in school, and none of his peers know. I still struggle with pronouns, which is why I went to great pains to use he/him above.

      A study was done where Brain scans of MTF and FTM were compared with those of Cis gendered people of the same sex. Basically, the scans of MtF brains match up with that of cis gendered women, and the scans of FtM match up with those of cis gendered men. Based on that, I don’t think it is a child’s whim, it is something they “know”.

      Given the suicide rates in the trans community, especially among young people, I am proud to support the child, his parents and they way they are handling it, and the trans community at large.

      • Nanny to the rescue says:

        This is all very interesting, about the brain scans! How is woman’s/MtF’s brain different from man’s/FtMs so it shows on a scan?

        ETA: Did some googling, but the results are all over the place. The best article about it in The Scientist from 2018 lists some interesting studies that confirm this, but then basically debunks it in the conclusion (in a sense: yes, some brains of transgenders are like the opposite sex, but others aren’t, so we can’t really draw conclusions yet).

        Good thing is that we’re getting there.

      • goldstar1 says:

        Girls are allowed to dislike dresses. Girls are allowed to have short hair.

        How can’t you see this is just imposing a stereotype on a girl until she decides she’d rather call herself a boy than wear clothes and hair in a way she doesn’t like doing?

        Calling a girl who doesn’t like these things transgendered and setting them up for a lifetime of medical treatment and infertility is child abuse!

        On the topic of brain scans, all they are seeing in these brains is homosexuality. They don’t use any kind of brain scan for the diagnosis. It doesn’t make sense to say “you just know”. How does it feel to be female? It doesn’t feel like anything. Being male or female is just something you are.

      • lisa says:

        ^^^ This. Labelling a female child as transgender when she could just be a tomboy or gay or both, is very dangerous. Please do not let a three-year-old decide something so impactful. The grownups need to act like parents instead of indulging every idea.

      • Kim says:

        @goldstar1 you are confusing very different things. Wearing dresses, long hair, etc. is how we express gender. That is separate from gender identity (for example, I identify as a woman but I don’t like dresses, I don’t wear makeup, etc.) Sexual orientation is VERY different from gender identity, so saying that ‘she just might be gay’ conflates sexuality and gender, which are separate. I know that can be a bit confusing– check out Sam Killerman’s work, especially the gingerbread person.

        As for saying people don’t ‘just know’ please don’t speak for everyone. I know I’m female, and have never doubted that fact. I also know I’m straight. This reminds me of when people say ‘how does a gay person know they’re gay if they haven’t had sex?’ which is ridiculous, because plenty of straight people know they are straight before they have sex.

      • QuidProQuo says:

        As a cisgendered woman, When I hit puberty I only wanted “tough” clothes, I’d have a tantrum if I had to wear frilly or immature. It doesn’t mean I was trans, and thankfully my parents had neither time money nor the inclination to get in my face and grill me @sexual pref OR identify. It was all a phase and I had to do my own thing. It’s such a trend to dissect and announce your child’s most personal issues. Just let them be FFS SHORT hair, dresses, black, IT DOESN’T MATTER.

      • Marianne says:

        Yes, @Goldstar1. I agree. Why is the wearing of dresses or not necessarily essential to being female? Wear dresses, don’t wear dresses, wear makeup, don’t wear makeup, it’s all ok. It is a serious matter to undertake transitioning. May involve hormones, multiple, multiple surgeries, and to conclude from some basic statements made by children seems irresponsible. I have read of studies that show that the contentment of transitioned trans people post transition is not necessarily any more than it was after transition. I recognize that as more people transition and acceptance grows perhaps it will be easier for trans people and the outcomes may therefore be better.

        But, if you will be no better off mentally having transitioned than you were before you did, save yourself the surgery and lifelong medical intervention. It certainly distresses me to think that a decided preference as to features of gender expression would be the same as concluding that the person is trans. Where the person is older we can respect that they understand better, but for children, it seems awfully irresponsible to leap to this conclusion. Maybe Charlize has two daughters. That may be the case. Or maybe she has one daughter and a son that expresses his gender in a traditionally female way (whatever that may now mean). It seems we are still learning a lot about these things. I suspect that in the future, they’ll look back at some of this and think, wow, people allowed for a lot of inappropriate and unnecessary early surgical interventions on their kids. Seems drastic.

      • NotSoSocialButterfly says:

        Full kudos! I think kids that young can know. We are all wired differently.

      • NotSoSocialButterfly says:


        Excellent post. I hope people will take the time to digest what you are saying.

      • Nanny to the rescue says:

        goldstar1 makes a good point, tho.

        If you remove the biological features of a woman (so biological sex) and stereotypes of a woman (gender) and their treatment, what is a woman? How does one feel a woman and live like one?

      • Angie says:

        I’m no expert. I have four kids and each of them when they were little asked things like “why am I a —- (their gender)?” And most of them said i don’t want to be a boy, i want to be a girl or vis Versa at various times. What they wanted to hear was biological- you’re boy because you have a penis like daddy. They’re little. They’re just literally trying to understand the world. Kids don’t think in complex adult ideas and a big parenting mistake is to project adult thoughts on a kids in any area. Of course support your kid as they get older and watch and monitor. But I think it’s a mistake to take a three year olds innocent question as a decree. Three years old is young. My son thought he was Batman at that age. For me it would just be something to note and pay attention to. Let kids be kids- dress how they want, play how they want without labels at the age of 3.

      • Grey says:

        Why couldn’t she cut her hair and change her clothes as a girl?

      • L. says:

        Great story backed up by science. Thank you. I believe kids know early on but they are taught to be a certain way, so begin to question themselves early on, be in denial early on, feel shame early on and so forth. If people would just acknowledge children’s words and support them on their path, be a source of love. I believe Charlize is doing this. And speaking openly about her daughters words about who she is does this.

    • Chica71 says:

      All those that I’ve met who are transgendered said they knew very early on. in kindergarten or elementary school..I think it’s just so unusual to see a parent embrace it this soon. But I think mothers are more tolerant though.

      • ItReallyIsYou,NotMe says:

        Here’s my question: so is it okay for the parent to “out” the child before the child is old enough to decide for themselves? I don’t blame Charlize here because Jackson is photographed and there was already gossip, so I think she was making the best call she could, I am more putting it out there for thoughts.

      • Bella Bella says:

        @ItReallyIsYou,NotMe, in some ways, with a parent embracing the child’s decision, it makes for less work for that child as they get older. One of the most difficult aspects of being transgender as far as I can tell from people sharing their stories, is announcing it to their parents and having their parents accept it, and/or announcing it to their friends and having their friends accept it. If it’s just presented as a given — this is who I am, or this is who my child is — it eliminates the pain of having to make some kind of official announcement. It’s kind of like adopted children being seen as children, versus “adopted children.” Just normalize everything. Especially with kids, the earlier other kids have something presented to them as normal, the less likely they are to bully or ostracize or feel fear.

      • NotSoSocialButterfly says:

        I think CT is just trying to socially normalize the situation, as she should.

    • JaneEyreApparent says:

      Based on the people I know, yes, they really do know that early.

    • KP says:

      My thought is that if they don’t identify that early I question if they are truly transgender and not somewhere else on the spectrum.

      • Roma says:

        I wouldn’t say when they know should be of an indication. I have a good friend who is MtF transitioning in their late 30s. Something seemed always off to her, struggles with depression and anxiety, and kept questioning if she should be a gay man. Then she went non-binary. Finally, after talking it through with a therapist the first time she took HRT it was like everything in her brain aligned. I think it’s a unique path for all.

      • Kim says:

        Being ‘on the spectrum’ can also mean trans. Non-binary people also identify as trans. Being trans doesn’t mean you are necessarily transfemale or transmale.

    • kgeo says:

      My kids have both pretty much let me know which gender they are, which happens to align with their sex. They’re 5 and 2. We have not guided them in any way. They both enjoy doing things that are ‘typical’ to the other gender, but they are obviously the gender they are. If I had a male child that told me they were a girl at 2 years, I’d absolutely believe it. They know what they are.

    • aang says:

      I have a FTM son. He preferred gender nonspecific clothes as a child, baggy jeans/t shirts for the most part. Asked to have a short hair cut at about 7. Always took the boy part during creative play. Had a bff that was a boy all through childhood. But also liked princess dress up and nail polish sometimes. We never gendered our children very heavily and its easier for a girl to be a “tom boy”. It wasn’t an issue until puberty. At 12/13 he (still identifying as she) developed an eating disorder. After a few years of therapy at 15 he realized he was trying to starve his breasts and hips away, he didn’t want to grow into a women. He started dressing like a boy and we called him his usual gender non specific nickname but asked him to hold off on medical transition for a bit as we were just getting our lives back after the hell of the eating disorder and we wanted to make sure he was mentally healthy. From 17 – 18 he reverted to dressing/presenting as a girl. At 18 he said “I tried and it is not me” so we helped him change his name / legal documents. At 20 he’s been on hormones for 1 1/2 years and just got top surgery. He is now the same outgoing, happy, confident kid he was pre puberty. Finishing his first year of grad school and about to start law school in the fall. He’s ready to take on the world and fight for LGBTQ+ people everywhere. I wish with all my heart he had been able to articulate his gender as a young child. It would have saved so much suffering. So I say GO Charlene, do what is best for your family and f’ the haters!

      • starry1 says:

        You’re a great parent.

      • Ader says:

        Thanks so much for sharing.

      • lisa says:

        what a wonderful post!

      • lucy2 says:

        Thank you for sharing your story, and for being such a wonderful and supportive parent.

      • QuidProQuo says:

        AANG , I get your path, but I notice more parents announcing these “phases” on social media. Does the world have to know “what a great parent you are”? I mean. It’s a child’s life, NOT the parents. Why can’t parents Just calm down and let it roll w out the invasion and fanfare?

      • TaniaOG says:

        I’m in tears reading your story. Your son is lucky to have your love and support.

      • NotSoSocialButterfly says:

        You are a wonderfully supportive parent, and your son is so lucky to have you.

      • LahdidahBaby says:

        This is the most admirable and inspiring post I have ever seen here, aang. What a fine parent you are. Things could have gone so badly for your son if he’d had different parents. Thanks for letting us see how well things can turn out when parents respect their children’s knowledge of themselves.

    • Embee says:

      I have found that Janet Mock is really helpful in understanding trans issues. She has done a number of podcasts including Oprah.

      • Writtenonthewind says:

        I recommend following Justin Vivian Bond on Instagram (MxViv). One, she is fabulous and hilarious. And two, she now and then posts beautifully written posts about her personal experience of discovery and transitioning. I think she is heroic. And you can tell in the comments that she is helping so many people by example.

    • Snazzy says:

      Thank you everyone for the interesting feedback!! Love how this community is helping me learn and grow ❤️

    • Wilma says:

      With my daughter I could clearly see that she knew she was a girl around 2,5/3. Then she began to categorize everyone as either a girl or a boy, so I can imagine that trans kids can realize at that age what gender they actually are. My trans brother didn’t know until 18, but that was because he had a lot of mental health problems that made him feel out of place and so obscured whatever else was going on.

    • cannibell says:

      I had a roommate who was born in the late 1940s, lived in a small town and had parents were part of a strict religious sect. She told me she used to cry herself to sleep every night from the time she was seven and pray to God to make her a girl.
      Needless to say, there wasn’t anyone to even think about opening up to in that time and place. In 1975 or 1976 when Mike Douglas (a proto-Oprah) hosted a transgender woman, my roomie-to-be broke down crying and said, “That’s me.” Divorce and estrangement from her two children followed.
      Charlize is getting out ahead of speculation and protecting her daughter. Good for her.

    • Jay (the Canadian one) says:

      Parents don’t just declare this on a whim. In the situation I’m familiar with, the child saw a psychologist to ascertain that there was a legitimate identity discrepancy under it all, not just a child’s contrarianism as it were. Certainly as these children approach puberty and have to take hormone injections to enforce their identity, that’s not something you just find next to the aspirin in the pharmacy. Experts have weighed in by then.

    • Kim says:

      Snazzy if you’re interested, check out Sam Killerman’s TED Talk

      This one:

      The True Trans series by Laura Jane Grace:

      And the best book I’ve read about trans identity is Whipping Girl by Julia Serano. She’s a trans woman and a biologist (!) and has a really interesting perspective.

    • Mrs.Krabapple says:

      “Like because a child says that at 3 you just run with it?” — I don’t really know how young transgendered children realize it. But, as long as a parent “runs with it” rather than *imposes* it, I don’t see a problem. If the child was experimenting or didn’t fully mean it, then a parent who “runs with it” would be just as likely to “run with” the child changing his or her mind later, right? If Theron’s kids feel comfortable about it (and it appears they do), they can decide for themselves whenever they want, and I don’t see what’s wrong with that. She’s not INSISTING that Jackson identify one way or the other.

    • Anners says:

      We watched this video at work (Ryland’s story) and continue to show it in training. It helped me understand the trans community a little better and definitely made me more compassionate:

      I second the genderbread recommendation – it breaks everything down into understandable chunks.

    • salmonpuff says:

      Just chiming in to say that my son told us he was a girl when he was 2-3. He had longish hair and wore a dress most days. We rolled with it, while also making sure he understood his body and how it was physically different from his sisters’. (This was ten years ago, so before the current glut of information…we were just muddling through and figured we should try to be as honest and clear and supportive as possible!) At any rate, he started out insisting he was a girl, then moved to saying things like, “Remember when I used to be a girl?” and now he’s a total little dude. We are very open about transgender and sexuality issues and have let all the children know we’re happy to help them figure anything out…but that we’ll probably get some stuff wrong as we do. :) If he’d continued insisting that he was a girl, we would have sought out professional help for all of us because you just don’t know what you don’t know until it’s too late. I’m glad there is more attention and normalization happening around transgender issues, but I’d likely let my child take the lead in deciding when/where to discuss it rather than announcing it to the world for them.

      • Isabelle says:

        Think the big thing we need to understand is differing between stereotypes of sexuality versus someone who feels like they were born in the wrong body. Not liking dresses but preferring masculine clothes, wanting short hair if you are a girl, wanting long hair if you are a boy is breaking the mold for what we have stereotyped as particular to a sex. You can dress like a man but have no desire to be a man, dress more feminine as a man but have no desire to be a woman. Unfortunately we as a society have deemed something like dress as a total definer of sexuality. Consider how most nearly all women wear “masculine” clothes, aka pants, T-shirts and athletic wear but still consider themselves very female. My FTM now nephew said he felt like his body/skin belonged to another person and wanted to escape it. Which is a big difference than just wanting to dress a certain way. Parents needs to navigate and yes ask a lot of questions before making a right out judgement. Let that child/young person make their own decision on it as well (which can take sometime) express their emotions on it without you pushing them into a decision based on how you feel, anxiety or even what you see.

    • uninspired username says:

      You can know you’re trans very early. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have the exact language for it yet.

      • BchyYogi says:

        IMO poor communities “do better” w identity and or preference. The parents typically don’t have the time, resources or wanna be hipness to force it. I have to say, I notice it seems a trend in wealthy communities. I’d like to see actual peer reviewed data on the subject, but again, this is simply my observation.

    • Ash says:

      I believe that we are born this way and our identity is already established but it is not until toddlerhood in toys and clothing based on the opposite gender or vocalize our feelings. I have always held the belief system that it is predetermined in the womb perhaps even before conception. I have a few gay cousins and the one closest to my age took interest in girls toys more than boys toys from a young age. He would rather play with his sister’s barbies and dolls and play dress up than play with his trucks and action figures. It was just something we noticed from a young age and when he didn’t outgrow the phase and exhibits more and more feminine behaviors with age, we all knew and expected he was gay. He came out at a family party at 16, it was just for the adults in the family and the older nieces and nephews. It was an Octoberfest party which seemed odd to us all, we didn’t know that he had asked my aunt and uncle to host the party so he could tell the family. He got up and said he had something he needed to share with everyone and showed anguish and fear in his face that made us all feel unsettled and worried until he announced, “I am gay. I like men and I have always felt this way but I want to live a free life and not live this lie anymore.” Everyone sighed in relief as we all knew this for years and loved him just the same and everyone applauded, many of us shed tears and we all congratulated and embraced him. He was afraid of acceptance and little did he know he had already been accepted all along but it was up to him to share when he was ready, not for someone else to label him without his recognition of it first.

      I believe Charlize’s daughters ability to articulate her feelings at 3 shows her level of maturity at such a young age and depth to be able to identify that that is who she is and she felt comfortable doing so as well is an amazing feat. It shows that she felt no fear saying it and I believe living in her truth for most of her life and as long back as she will remember will actually be an asset to her later in life and and in her ability to be resilient, strong, confident and self assured. I don’t pass judgement on others parenting choices unless I see some serious flaws and damaging evidence and I think Charlize saw and knew that her daughter (Jackson) was changing and evolving into her true self a lot younger than most and Charlize embraced it rather than fought it which could have posed serious problems if she failed to accept and recognize it in the future so I commend her for letting her child be true to themself. I think this just goes to show that at 3, she innately knew and props to her because so many of us struggle with our identity and live in secret for so long for so many different reasons and she will never have to experience that side of it.

      I just thought about my own child as I have a son who is a just a year old and he has a natural gravitational pull to all things boy even down to his toys and even when exposed to dolls, barbies, meant to draw in the opposite sex, he doesn’t show much if any interest and rather have his trucks, balls, etc.

    • Steph O says:

      Just speaking from my personal experience – my 3yo son loves to wear princess dresses, sparkly shirts, rainbows. He also firmly insists that he is a boy. he has an older sister so we have discussed gender vs sex in simple ways, since they’ve asked about why their bodies look different. I feel like kids know themselves from so young. And if they go back and forth on gender identification, that doesn’t discount one of those identifications – as the Taco Bell commercial says, why not both?

    • charo says:

      How is she supposed to not talk about it when the media are up her a** all the time?

      • LahdidahBaby says:

        Yes, Charlize is so much in the public eye, papped constantly wherever she goes, and she obviously needs to be able to go out with her children and lead a normal life with them, so although I think a less public person might prefer to just let the child grow into his/her gender identity or sexual identification without a lot of comment, she spoke up about Jackson rather than have her made an object of ridicule or treated as a freak. I think many would see it as unfortunate that she had to go public with such intimate information when Jackson is so young, but she HAD to do so, and I applaud her for being so matter-of-fact about it.

    • Beatles says:

      FTM here, 3 is precisely the age I can recall first being cognizant of it and expressing myself about it. Basically, the age when we first start understanding gender differences, 3-4, is often when we begin to be able to verbalize the differences we’ve innately felt in ourselves.

  2. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I’m entirely on the side of protecting the FAMILY until the FAMILY decides it’s time. This isn’t her life, it’s a small child’s and they shouldn’t have to answer for anything until they’re much older, have experience, accumulated information and dissected personal feelings and whether they want to tell or stay silent and how much sharing is actually necessary.

    • Anna says:

      It IS different when the paparazzi is following you around taking pictures of your kid, though. The average person and kid would have more space to figure it out, but I’m guessing Charlize made the choice she did because of her situation as a celebrity. I don’t think it’s appropriate to mom-shame her for making what I’m sure she considers to be the best choice for her family, even if that’s not how other people would necessarily handle it.

      • otaku fairy... says:

        This. I don’t think she did this for the sake of attention at all. She probably just thinks it’s the best decision to make considering the way her kids live and what’s already out there.

    • M says:

      I get where you’re coming from, but it rests on the presupposition that a trans or fluid or non-confirming gender identity is something that should only be revealed after careful consideration. That assumption carries stigma with it. Sending the message to a child, “we won’t talk to anyone about this unless you’re really, really sure” brings a sense of shame to it. I hope we can get to a place where there isn’t this sense that it’s this deep, dark secret.

  3. LeaTheFrench says:

    Thank you, Snazzy. I have similar questions. Looking forward to what posters will say and the knowledge they will bring.

  4. Ctgirl says:

    Charlize is showing her child and the world that her daughter is ok. By providing such a low key explanation she is showing her daughter that there is nothing to be worried about. If Charlize had waited to address her daughter’s identity then there was a risk that the daughter would feel like she has to hide who she is, especially if there is online trolling. This very matter of fact public acceptance by Charlize is the greatest gift she could give her daughter.

    • Kristen says:

      100% agree. This isn’t a private matter, it’s speaking openly about her daughter’s identity. Just like she said at one point, I have a son (and we’re all okay with her saying that, right?) she is now saying, I have 2 daughters. She isn’t sharing gritty medical, private details. She’s sharing the most basic information.

    • CityGirl says:

      100% agree with you Ctgirl & Kristen!

    • Nikki says:

      I agree with you. Plus, people are already speculating. If the child is firm on the matter, it’s a matter of respecting what the child is telling you. It’s really terrible for trans kids when they know exactly who they are, but nobody believes them. I am so grateful for Charlene’s stance.

    • Steph O says:

      I LOVE how simple, clear, and confident she was in explaining her oldest’s gender identification. It shouldn’t be an after school special!

  5. Kim says:

    I’m a Gender Studies teacher and I have a lot of trans students, so in my experience, I would say yes, many trans folks know when they are young. Some don’t experience gender dysphoria until they are older. Some identify in different ways at different points in their lives.

    The best thing we can do is believe people when they say who they are. She is doing the right thing in supporting her daughter, and whether she continues to identify as female or not, she should believe her. I know there is lots of controversy about people transitioning at a young age, but here in Canada, young people are usually put on hormone blockers at puberty (which can be stopped later), which buys them time to decide whether they want to go on hormone therapy later and transition medically. But it’s important to note that not all trans folks decide to medically transition, and that is okay! Of course, her child is too young for this, but that might be the route they take.

    • Mabs A'Mabbin says:

      Exactly. It’s a process which doesn’t happen overnight. There’s a lot of respect that needs to be spread around and a lot of listening. The public isn’t owed anything. Like at all.

    • Marisa says:

      I have a 6 year old son who is “gender expressive,” meaning he prefers things (clothes, toys, music) that are considered feminine. He’s been that way since he was a baby- my mother tells a story about how he used to reach for her jewelry when he was an infant (and now wears it!), whereas his older brother never noticed it. I did a lot (a lot) of reading and met other parents with kids like mine. My son doesn’t think he’s a girl. He is very clear that he’s a boy. Boys who are trans will often say things like “I hate my penis” or “I am a girl” really early on. Small kids do like to pretend and play act but when it’s consistent and persistent, it’s time to pay attention. Our children are who they are – it’s our job to let them know that who they are is perfect. So… my 14 year old jock stepson gives his brother manicures; my deeply traditional mother buys him makeup kits and sequin tops; and we just let him lead the way. Sounds to me like Charlize is doing the right thing. She most likely wants to normalize the situation and get ahead of any speculation that could be harmful to her child.

      • Lizzie says:

        Marisa – you are a very good mom. Sincerely – your story is inspiring. It is a difficult situation and you aren’t just normalizing it for your child but your community. Kudos.

      • Snowslow says:

        Same. EXACTLY how my 13 year old is and how his younger more heteronormative brother interacts with him. It’s like you are describing my family.
        My ‘gender expressive son” also helped open his brother’s horizons and now he complains that at school boys only play with boys and that in athletics (outside school activity) at least all genders play together as his brother mainly has friends who are girls. He was also helped to understand that purple and pink are his favorite colours thanks to his brother.
        On the other hand, my 13 year old who experiments with gender fluidity could be a bit defensive and closed up unlike his younger brother. Now I hear them yelling their name to each other from different corners of the house. When the other asks “yes?’ the other says “I love you”.
        Bliss. I don’t know why some families forbid themselves these littles sparkles of happiness.

      • margie says:

        marisa-You and your son, and your entire family, sound amazing.

      • CityGirl says:

        What Margie said

      • Marisa says:

        Thanks everyone! And, @thaliasghost, my point was actually that my son isn’t trans, but is “gender expressive” and prefers to express himself in ways that are considered feminine. So, no suggestion for top surgery here. And funny enough, I am a total tomboy. Never wear makeup or jewelry so when my son wanted to do makeup, I had to watch YouTube tutorials! And, if you could have been in the room the day I got over my own fear of other kids’ teasing him and bought him the “sequin flip” shirt he’d been asking for, you wouldn’t be making fun of this. He was so so purely joyful. And wore that damn shirt every day for a week. A couple of kids made some comments but most just said it was pretty. He’s in kindergarten. We just need to listen and follow our kids’ lead. They are who they are and either they learn to hate themselves or to love themselves. And they learn that from us first and foremost.

      • BchyYogi says:

        I mean, can puberty blockers REALLY be reversed? I have to call BS. I’m so “in between” all of the comments. Up to age 5, my son loved tutus, jewelry, glitter, etc until his kindergarten buddies “style shamed”. I had a young caregiver -assume- he was trans, but I absolutely rolled w what he wanted, I never labeled. It totally fell away, but who knows, and who cares if it “comes back” after puberty. I don’t care if men dress “feminine”, I’m educated enough to know it’s a social construct. I have a degree in fashion history, and loved how men wore tights and earrings in the 15c, Indian male aristocracy were more beauty queen than modern pageants, and, all things Glam Rock. My son grows his hair long, then cuts it, etc. I think his generation is breaking out of construct, but it’s NOT up to ME to interfere, or label. Of course, SUPORT, but do kids need us to announce it on FB? His friend at school transitioned, and all the kids thought the parents were just being pushy & hipster.

      • NotSoSocialButterfly says:

        Yes, you just stop taking them and the normal pituitary/gonad feedback loop resumes. Their point is to allow more time to decide ( as the child ages from prepubertal to pubertal) if the child wants to hormonally transition.

  6. Fiona says:

    I listen to a podcast about a mother who is raising a transgender child. It is extremely interesting and if anyone wants an inside look into how a child can know, what it’s like raising a transgender child and the many emotional issues both mother and child wade through, they might take a listen. It’s called “How to be a Girl”.

  7. Vexa says:

    This reminds me of when Shiloh Jolie-Pitt was young and Brad&Angelina told several magazines that she liked to be called John and to wear boys’ clothing. I thought it was cool that they were talking about it at the time and being so accepting.

    But then you fast forward a few years and like… I don’t know if that’s the case anymore? I’ve consistently heard Brad & Angelina refer to her as Shiloh or say ‘my daughter’, and there are people who call them bad parents when they do so (I think Amber Rose made a reference to it at one point, though she didn’t call them bad parents). But like, I feel that it was probably just a phase – she’s obviously a tomboy but they seem like woke enough parents that if she really was transgender and did want to be called John, they would be doing so publicly.

    I guess my point is that, it might very well be that Jackson identifies as a girl and always will, but maybe the best thing to do is just use more gender neutral language and allow them to express themselves through clothes etc, until they’re old enough to be sure. I think it’s really cool that Charlize is so accepting and Jackson is lucky, but yeah, maybe hold off on making any strict declarations to the press until she’s older? Jackson is lucky to have such a cool mom, regardless.

    • Snowslow says:

      I think that Charlize is being schematic on purpose to defend her little girl’s privacy while advocating for tolerance and spreading the word. Trans kids are very vocal about hating their body, and I am absolutely certain this was a carefully considered change.

    • JoJo says:

      Neither Brad nor Angie told magazines that Shiloh wanted to be called John. In 2008 Brad mentioned on Oprah Show that Shiloh was obsessed with Peter Pan and wanted to be called John. The tabloids used that interview and started claiming that they called her John.Her wanting to be called John may have lasted a week for all we know.When I was 2 I wanted to be called Fluffy and drink milk out of a bowl. My mom said it lasted a week.It was known as my kitten phase.
      Yes you are correct Angelina,Maddox,Jon Voight,etc.have always refered to her as Shiloh as a female (daughter,sister,etc.).Angie did an interview a few months ago and talked about her daughters Zahara and Shiloh.

      • Molly says:

        I’m very interested to see how Shiloh expresses herself as an adult. Her clothing, hair, and personal style has been very consistent for most of her life.

    • notthisagain says:

      I actually admire Brad and Angies approach to Shiloh. They seems to be allowing her to express herself however she wants with her hair , dress and interests, whilst affirming that her body is perfect the way is and she can like all those things and still be a girl

      Again gender dysphoria does exist but not every gender non confirming child is trans , caution must be taken as it is not an easy path
      A lot of this oohing and aahing over trans kids rarely looks at the downside of young kids being placed on puberty blockers, hormones and the effect on health /sterility not to mention major surgeries/removal of healthy body parts on mere teens i.e double mastectomies and penectomies ?

      • Marianne says:

        I agree with all of what you said!

      • BchyYogi says:

        <<I live in an extremely liberal culture & announcing young kiddos transition has been trendy. I agree, it's nothing to shame, but I do think public announcements put kids in a box, when the whole idea is to be accepting of anything?

    • Sparkly says:

      The child has been happily living as a girl for over half her life. She seems pretty insistent, consistent, and persistent. The family is public whether they like it or not. Confirming what is true and has been for a while seems like a logical step. There is no need to hide or undermine who Jackson is.

  8. Lizzie says:

    I think she is handling this with grace. She is famous. End stop. Her kids aren’t out there with any regularity but when they are they will be photographed so she is honestly addressing the speculation. If her daughter gets older and decides to identify as male – as a family they can refer to it as a phase of innocent and normal experimentation. If she gets older and continues to identify as female – then Charlize has laid a foundation of acceptance and support that is literally a matter of life or death for the trans community.

    Either way her children will grow up appreciating their parent unconditionally loved and supported and defended them.

  9. Case says:

    I understand the idea of protecting your child and keeping their life as private as possible until they’re able to speak about it themselves, but I also love how this normalizes raising your child the way they are asking to be raised. She is respecting her child’s wishes and embracing her for who she is wholeheartedly, and that’s a beautiful example to set. Brad and Angelina did something similar with Shiloh. Even if the child ends up realizing they changed their mind about how they identify later on, at least they know they can openly be who they are and that their parents will completely support them regardless.

    • Nikki says:

      I love your comment.

    • lucy2 says:

      I agree – I’m very much a believer that celebrities should let their kids be as private as possible, and I did feel a little twinge of “she’s putting all this out there when her child is still so young and can’t understand the idea of being public”. However, in a situation like this, I think it will do more good than harm -her children will know that Charlize supported them 100% in who they are, and this also sets a wonderful example for other parents.

  10. Jess says:

    I think it’s great how she’s being so supportive, and just now being vocal when this has clearly been going on for awhile. She’s not being overly vocal or wanting attention in my opinion, the speculation was there and she’s addressing it and moving on, making it no big deal, as it should be.

    I remember my (very white) sister saying she wanted to be a black man when she grew up, for about a year she was pretty upset that it wasn’t possible, lol. But it makes wonder how much time some parents are giving their children to feel this way before making big gender changes. I think some kids are like my sister and simply look up to someone of the opposite sex and decide they want to be like them, with my sister she loved watching basketball games with our dad and that translated into wanting to be a boy for awhile, but what if my parents supported her changing during that time, would she have felt pressure to keep it up when she eventually changed her mind and liked being a girl? I dunno, I’m rambling and can’t get my thoughts out properly, I’ll have my caffeine and come back:) I think it’s important to support your children either way, just makes me wonder sometimes!

    • Snowslow says:

      I always looked up to boys and I partly identify more with men than with women most of the time. But in terms of my gender and my sexuality I see myself as a woman and never had any doubt about it although I desired to be a man sometimes. Fantasy is a form of creating a complete identity.
      I am sure that Charlize knew and even consulted people who could help her with the statements her daughter was making: trans is not just “wanting” to be something, it’s knowing that you are, it’s hating the body you live in etc… Very very different. I never hated my body or wished to have a penis. It was more about the social construct of being a male.
      Charlize is totally commendable here for being somewhat coy but describing the most poignant thing a person can feel when trans: “I am not a boy” instead of “I wish I was a girl”. There is a world of difference.

  11. Sash says:

    I applaud her for being as good and understanding of a mother as can be. Generally, I’m so happy parents are becoming more educated of these things.

  12. CES says:

    Psychology degree here. A child doesn’t know their sexuality/sexual identity until they’re around 7-8 years old. 3 is too young to think that way.

    • Snowslow says:

      We’re talking about gender identity here non?

    • FrenchGirl says:

      Gender identity is NOT about sexuality identity

    • JoJo says:

      She is referring to her gender identity which has absolutely nothing to do with sexuality.Children as young as 2 or 3 can verbalize their gender identity.

    • Veronica S. says:

      Even adult LGBT+ identity is more than our sexual behaviors, but thanks for presenting a perfect example of why trans individuals struggle so much to find good psychological counseling.

    • Trillian says:

      Psychology degree here too. That is just not true, it forms a lot sooner. Most 3 year olds easily identify their gender and will insist being “a boy” or “a girl”.

      • SilentStar says:

        I met my childhood best friend when I was 2, in the early 1970s. He was already embodying a female identity. Not knowing any differently, it was acceptable and normal to me.

        I distinctly remember by the time we were 5 or 6 that other adults and children had expressed concern that he was playing with a girl so much, because it was somehow “turning him into a girl”. I was hurt and confused by that, because I knew that who he was had nothing to do with me. I myself was never super “girly”, though I always identified as a girl.

        We moved away from each other and lost touch before puberty, so I don’t know anything else about his personal journey.

        But my experience with him made me understand quite early on that we can be born anywhere on the gender spectrum, and it has nothing to do with sexual awareness.

    • Oh-Dear says:

      gender is a social construct. Many cultures (including many north american indigenous nations) have a broader view of gender than the binary view, including some African cultures. Charlize may have been surrounded by more fluidity than we are in North America, and has been influenced by that. I appreciate psychologists who understand diverse worldviews in their practice so they understand this.

    • CairinaCat says:

      CES is either lying about having a degree or is a very bad student.

    • Thekindthatlikesflowers says:

      CES – psychology PhD here. You are wrong.

    • Stacy Dresden says:

      The person with a Bachelor’s is here to enlighten us all!

    • Beatles says:

      Actual trans person here, we’re talking gender not sexuality (given your gross inability to know such a fundamental difference I doubt you have a psychology degree, right there) and children absolutely can know their gender variances as early as 3. I lived it. Don’t you dare try to speak for what you 1. cannot know personally and 2. clearly don’t even have a basic clinical grasp of.

  13. Div says:

    I get why she came out and said something, to show her support and to get the gross tabloids to stop speculating. BUT I have an issue with the fact that she gave this exclusive to the transphobic, homophobic, racist, etc. Daily Fail. Why not People?

  14. booney says:

    Experts recommend “watchful waiting” for a reason. The majority of kids (something like 90%) who express ideas like this will outgrow it, often revealing themselves to be gay or lesbian instead. There’s no need to put a label on it. Boxing them in to such a life altering change before they can understand the repercussions can be extremely harmful.

    • Clay says:

      you’ve just put in a very clear and concise way what it took a whole messy paragraph to me, thank you.

    • Veronica S. says:

      I’m going to need you to link these “expert” studies that state 90% of possibly trans children aren’t trans.

    • Lucia says:

      Watchful waiting goes out the window when a child harms themselves in order to express their gender.

      Even if she goes on to change her mind, no harm, no foul. It’s her deal and she has a mom that will advocate for her regardless.

    • Anna says:

      One: your citation is missing.

      Two: I was not aware studies had been conducted on celebrities’ children, who are regularly followed and harassed by paparazzi. Charlize and her family lead a very different life from those people who do not have photographers dogging them constantly.

  15. Leah says:

    I’m feeling really bad but my second gossipy thought (after I’m so glad Jackson has all of this support, I have a co worker who’s starting his transition and his family is not on board and he’s struggling) was “well now we might know what happened with Sean Penn!” Cause the timeline kind of fits

  16. JinnyBye says:

    I don’t see what’s wrong with talking about it publicly. She’s following her daughters lead. If it was just a thought her daughter had expressed privately then making it public would be inappropriate, but her daughter is very obviously presenting as and living as a girl. Pretending that that’s not happening or lying about it doesn’t exactly send a supportive or respectful message.

    If it turns out she’s not actually trans that’s not a big deal. I’m never sure why people are so concerned with young kids making statements like this early. If they’re wrong about being trans or being gay or anything else, nothing bad happens. It’s not like their locked in at 5, they can just change their mind. It doesn’t have to be a whole thing.

    • jules says:

      I’m in Europe. This is international news (?!).

      She is opening herself & her daughter up to a lot of publicity & not all of it will be positive/supportive. Some of it, unfortunately, will be vile.

      • otaku fairy... says:

        Some of it will be vile, but that was bound to be the case even if she had said nothing, especially since the speculation had already begun.

    • Anna says:

      It’s because those people (often subconsciously) subscribe to the idea that being trans or non-binary is somehow “harmful” and children should be shielded from that terribly upsetting possibility as long as possible.

      Yes, some people will treat Jackson poorly, but let’s not pretend people don’t already harass Charlize and Theron when they are out, ESPECIALLY if they notice Jackson wearing girls’ clothes and think they can get some hot “scoop”.

  17. Pippin says:

    I’m not a parent nor do I want to judge a parent’s choice.
    However, I do recall from my childhood experience that I was very much a tomboy (such an unfortunate term) from a very young age. I hated wearing dresses and would take them off and run around in my bloomers whenever my parents dressed me in them. Which is why there are so many topless photos of me in our family albums 😄. Eventually they gave up and started dressing me in shorts. I also told everyone to call me a boy name. As I grew older I spent more time with boys because they were more adventurous and I had more fun with them versus the girls. My only interest in dolls where taking them apart to figure out how they “talked” or “crawled”. I destroyed many toys 😔.

    I preferred playing sports games, climbing trees, hunting for lizards, frogs and insects. I once brought home a nest of baby mice who’s mother had a run in with a hawk. My poor mother freaked out…but helped me take care of them and let me adopt them.

    In my case it was more gender norm association. I felt less comfortable in girl clothes and found girl play boring and the more time I spent with boys the more that influenced what the adults perceived as boy like behavior.
    Luckily my parents didn’t force me to adapt to gender norms and just let me be a kid. The rest of the family and my parents friends thought I was a wild weirdo but my parents allowed me to be myself.

    I loved being a girl who was allowed the freedom to experience my childhood fully without the confines of gender stereotypes. As an adult I still prefer pants and shorts to dresses and skirts. I love mountaineering, rock/iceclimbing, physical challenges but I also love pampering spas, mani/pedis, makeup.

    Long story short whether it’s just a phase or not…I can attest that it’s healthy to allow kids some freedom to be themselves.

    • crogirl says:

      I don’t think this is about what clothes the child prefers or if the child likes to play outside doing sporty stuff. It’s one thing to say “I wish I was a boy because it’s easier for them” (that was me when I first found out about period) but Jackson is saying “I am a girl”. I think Charlize is doing the right thing supporting her child.

    • Seph says:

      Great post.

  18. Clay says:

    I think is a very delicate situation and as she said in the interview the child told her at 3 he identified as a girl. And let’s put aside all the PC transphobic and armchair psychology, because is really difficult to judge from the outside, but honest question: do parents have to let the child decide such a delicate issue as gender at the age of three and in her case being a celebrity, publicly in interviews talk about his privacy. What if is just a phase? It happened to numerous people I know, relatives included, that their children went through phases regarding not only gender but other social behaviour that didn’t last, or better: that were just a symptom of other issues going on. Case in point: Jackson started fully dress as a girl just shortly after 1) she and Penn broke up (a guy who was some sort of a father figure for the boy for two years suddenly disappears) 2) around the same time Charlize adopted the baby girl. How did he deal that new arrival? He seems a difficult child, going by the very public tantrums and Charlize own admission. Some of them quite disturbing like that time she and Penn took the boy for a “sunrise picnic” miles away from their homes (!?!?) and someone called the cops over some shady situation. That story was promptly buried by some PR magic which just added to the shady AF situation. In any case, I think even if the child will fully and willingly transition by his own choice, she shouldn’t be discussing publicly the issue, so early on, he’s so young.

    • Snowslow says:

      What if she changes her mind? That’s not a problem whatsoever.
      She is allowed to explore her identity and go back to being a he if she wants.
      The world will not crack and things will go on for us as ever.
      However if it is serious and she is not allowed to expresse herself the world will still turn be she will feel crushed.
      What do you prefer?
      All the rest of your post is speculation about something Charlize is quite discreet about stating simply her daughter’s identity and not much more to protect her from scrutiny while cancelling any form of… speculation.

      • Lizz says:

        It won’t be a problem for a child of one of the most powerful women in Hollywood to publicly contradict her ? That would be a tall order for any kid, even discounting the rather dysfunctional relationship between Charlize and the men (or lack thereof) in her life.

    • Lucia says:

      My sister tried to commit suicide at the age of 9 because our alcoholic father tried to force her to be a boy. The treatment plan we were told was to let her be a girl (and for our father to have no contact with us). She hasn’t been depressed or suicidal since. So would you rather have a child allowed to be the gender that they are most comfortable or a dead child?

      Also, children have temper tantrums. Show me a child who has never had a temper tantrum and I have a deed to the planet Mars. I also recall a lot of those tantrums were from when Charlize was dating Sean Penn. Her daughter knew a bad egg when she saw one aside from just being a young child going through some stuff.

      By not sharing with us, Charlize teaches her child that she should feel shame and should hide who she is. That’s just as bad as forcing her to live life as a boy.

    • Trillian says:

      So what? In that case, she will have spent a few years wearing “female” clothes and hairstyles. Might even stick with that, no matter what she identifies as. What harm would that do? It’s not like she’s giving the child hormones or surgery.

    • lucy2 says:

      Maybe it’s a phase, maybe it’s not – that’s for Jackson to decide. Nothing medical is happening right now or anytime soon, the child is pretty young, but if the time comes for that, I’m sure Charlize will consult with experts who will guide them through the process. But right now all that matters is being supportive and loving.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      I am confused as to why you are calling a sunrise picnic shady.

    • Anna says:

      You’re over generalizing. This is not about all parents, because not all parents are as insanely wealthy or instantly recognizable as Charlize Theron. If I take my kid to the grocery store, I’m not getting mobbed. You can bet Charlize and Jackson are.

      Don’t try to couch this in terms of “what’s best for the child”. You and I do NOT live their lives and thinly veiled mommy shaming is not cool.

      Also, until Jackson or Charlize state otherwise, the appropriate gender to use when referring to Jackson is “she”. Doing otherwise is disrespectful and condescending.

  19. JoJo says:

    I’m pretty sure she has consulted with experts in that field who have advised her how to navigate this.Support your child.

  20. Lucia says:

    Charlize is right to speak of this. We’ve all wondered and we’ve all seen the occasional photo. So I feel she is putting the rumors to rest. We don’t know if she has a female name, we just know she’s a girl (I suspect she has a different name but Charlize is not sharing it). I think Charlize is telling us in an effort to give her daughter the privacy she needs to figure this all out without any of the added speculation. How her daughter decides to be a woman is up to her. However I think it’s very important she tells her daughter’s story and that it’s okay to be trans at a young age. I think she is speaking the truth from her perspective and trying to hijack her daughter’s narrative.

    My sister is MTF trans and my husband’s best friend from childhood is MTF trans so I’ve worked really hard to be an ally to trans people and to understand what people like my sister and friend go through. My sister transitioned just before she hit puberty in the mid 90s and our friend repressed pretty hard and is just now coming out at age 45. There’s no one way to be trans. Some figure it out early, others figure it out later. Just because we do not understand, doesn’t mean we should allow them to be hidden.

    Kids do know. My sister is a prime example:

    My sister knew when she was 3 as well. Our biological father was very against the idea and tried beating it out of her (literally). She tried to commit suicide when she was 9 years old and that was when she was allowed to be herself. She went through puberty blockers, hormones, and feminization surgeries as an adult. Going to school in grade 9 as a girl was the happiest I had ever seen her. We grew up in Quebec in the 90s so we both dealt with a lot of transphobia in high school (since it was known I was the sister willing to defend her sibling, I got a bit too and got into fights defending her). It was so much easier to handle the hate when she was merely being herself. Now she’s a clinical psychologist in Vancouver. She’s a very happy living as a woman, has a FtM partner, and 2 adopted kids. She doesn’t hide. She lives her life. I love her life. I love my brother in law and I love my nieces. I can talk about it because she would want me to.

    • Snowslow says:


    • Veronica S. says:

      People have this idea that trans/genderqueer individuals walk around thinking to themselves, “I wish I could be a [insert another gender here].” The reality is that they ARE that gender and they’re walking around having to hear everybody else call them something different. They need to imagine what it would feel like walking around with a mask on that you couldn’t take off – and worse, one that people didn’t even realize was a mask. THEN you have some insight into the psychological pain that kind of suppression causes.

      • crogirl says:

        Agree completely

      • Lucia says:

        A lot of trans people are like that. My husband’s friend is a prime example. She glued the male mask on pretty hard and now that it’s off it’s kind of crazy. Her wife is about 2 steps from a nervous breakdown for never realizing it. It’s kind of sad. She works in a very male oriented business and there’s been a lot of issues adjusting for her and her co-workers.

        My sister never really had a mask. It was like she was given a mask and everyone kept screaming at her to wear it but she just wouldn’t put it on. We’re Irish twins – I’m 11 months older, so we are VERY close. Growing up, she asked if I could refer to her as my sister. From grade 2 on, I called her my sister in private and my brother in public so I wouldn’t get in trouble. I used to let her wear my clothes and sneak her my underwear when no one was around.

        I have no idea what it is like to be her. I just know I like her the way she is and she’s happy. Our bff is getting there but it’s still pretty early on. I don’t think anyone other than those similar to them can have any idea as to how they feel. I grew up with a trans woman and I still have no clue what it is like. I’ve realized it’s folly to try and figure it out.

  21. Liz says:

    I don’t believe her. Top to bottom. As for her advocacy: I didn’t believe her years ago with the over the top words about adopting a black child and I don’t believe her words now with the gender stuff.

    I used to think people picked on her cause she was so pretty. But once I started paying attention …she has layers of nuts going on imo.

    • notthisagain says:

      Early in her career Charlize made comments suggesting the liberation of black people from the cruel oppressive apartheid regime was not to be celebrated but bad for white people.

      From the article below”with the dismantling of apartheid and the creation of new affirmative action laws, she became convinced “there was no future for a white South African.” also “Looking back, she says, “I just ran.”’ IMO, someone with this mindset has no business adopting black kids

      Gender dysphoria is real but not every gender non conforming child is trans, the proliferation of trans Id is being touted as progressive when it’s often regressive reinforcing of archaic stereotypes i.e boys like dresses, dolls so they must be a girl and vice versa

      There seems to be a fair amount of Munchhausen proxy by trans going on and seeing her child emerged as a girl shortly after her tumultuous break up with Sean Penn is a red flag for me.

      • Lucia says:

        Uh. No.

        Psychologists know the difference between gender expression and transgender.

        No one is getting prescribed hormones without having a psychological evaluation unless the person acquired those hormones illegally. The idea that this is a progressive/regressive label is nonsense. There are people dying because they’re forced to live a gender they don’t belong to. No amount of psychiatric/psychological help will cure it but living as the chosen gender minimizes the dysphoria.

        Also I can’t find a single thing online where she calls the end of Apartheid rule bad. Got a link?

      • notthisagain says:

        Uh no to you. Laws are being passed under the guise of banning conversion therapy (which I totally agree with in regards to gay people ) that insist that psychologists MUST affirm gender of any child that presents as trans that is any attempts to uncover comorbidities such as discomfort with being gay, body detachment due to sexual abuse /problematic relationship with either male female parent , autism , bipolar etc is considered malpractice. Kids are often “evaluated” and put on a path to medicalization after just one visit!

        Also where are the peer reviewed studies that show ppl are dying in droves because they cant be trans , this is mainly widely circulated by trans lobby groups and is never evidenced or questioned? (any death is sad but they are no higher than kids with any type of depression/mental health issue )
        What about the growing number of teens that detransition to end up breastless sterile and with health problems from blockers, hormones?

        Re South Africa, the link is right there in the comment you responded to , if you believe that the appropriate response to the dismantling of one of the most oppressive regimes is to say ” This is no longer a place for white people so I ran then I really cant help you any further on that

      • NewKay says:

        Notthis again! Yup- she is so problematic

      • Liz says:

        Reinforcement of gender stereotypes – or is it just media showmanship – is the big problem with the trans movement. Its borrowing a bit too much from another category – the cross-dresser. But then I think maybe that’s more media hype, the trans people I met the other day at the animal shelter were normal.

  22. Veronica S. says:

    Children are actually pretty gender expressive by a young age. It’s not entirely uncommon for trans/non-cis individuals to begin stating a preference for a non-biological gender assignment from a young age. We wait until they’re older to do hormone therapy and/or surgical intervention for what should be obvious reasons, but it does happen.

    I’m fine with this. She’s seen often enough with the kids that speculation was bound to occur. It’s probably psychologically healthier for the kid to see themselves referred to by the preferred gender term than the outdated one in media. Too often LGBT+ identity is tied intrinsically to sex and biology. Allowing children to explore those gender concepts comfortably and normalizing it will save others from the emotional crises so many of them when their bodies start charging in ways they can’t control.

  23. Tallia says:

    I’m just here to chime in and say I really appreciate the way everyone is discussing this in comments. It is so genuine and respectful. It gives me hope. You all rock!

  24. Enough S Enough says:

    Can someone know at 3? I found this video of Chaz Bono, then known as Chastity, at the same age on her parents’ TV show:

    • Lucia says:

      I think it’s typical for children to start getting an idea around 3-5 years of age but it may take years for them to articulate themselves and realize what it is. It isn’t just a simple matter of saying “I’m a girl or I’m a boy.” The behavior has to back it up too and grow over time. Some kids will try to hide by conforming to their birth sex gender and others take to more drastic measures up to and including suicide.

      Chaz’s case isn’t that out of the norm, honestly from my understanding. A lot of FtMs go full butch but it doesn’t help the body dysphoria.

  25. Ann says:

    I find it a little suspect how overrepresented celebrity children are in the identity politics issues, statistically it doesn’t make sense. I think that celebrity parents are overeager to jump on the trendy bandwagon.

    • Trillian says:

      Or maybe we don’t hear about other people’s children in the news (there is quite a number here in the comments, so it’s not an insignificant number).

      • CairinaCat says:

        I grew up in a Evangelical fundie church community, according to them there were no gay people in the church and certainly not any kids were.
        Spoiler: There we’re actually a lot of gay people in the church, a lot of them kids I grew up with.

      • lucy2 says:


      • otaku fairy... says:

        This. I think people sometimes underestimate how environment and different forms of privilege can affect peoples’ willingness and readiness to be open about things like sexuality.

    • Lucia says:

      I imagine as Hollywood is a rather liberal culture, there is more willingness to let the kids identify as whatever. I think the statistics on the issues of gender identity are bigger than anyone realizes but self preservation comes before allowing one to be themselves. I also think repression is a large reason why the United States may be considered psychologically unhealthy (no offense…I hope). Can you imagine a child coming out as trans in the Bayou and feeling safe or secure? I can’t. So they act in a way that allows them to feel safe, most likely to the detriment of their psyche.

      Jackson doesn’t have those worries. He lives in Hollywood and his mom has a good platform for helping normalize kids like this. Why not use it?

    • Seph says:

      I agree.

  26. Clementine says:

    Some children know from the very beginning which gender they should be, and some like to experiment. They also may have an opposite gender in their lives that they greatly admire and want to emulate. In these cases they may or may not know which gender they identify with. I think it’s important to respect the child’s choices but always provide options do they can decide along the way, and not make any permanent (physical) changes too early, at least until their brain fully develops.

  27. Adowa says:

    I like how you embrace the millenial mentality when it COMES to This topic..
    Its like embracing something you couldnt at the same age, yrs ago

  28. HeyThere! says:

    I have two small toddlers. One a boy and another a girl. It’s insane how weird people get when my son wanted a bow in his hair because his sister had one and I would, happily, because who cares?? I would get crazy looks. He also loves rainbows because, I mean, colorful and beautiful..who doesn’t love rainbows?! I let both toddlers play with any and every toy they want. He’s 3 and he just recently started obsessing over labels. ‘I’m a boy like Daddy, sis is a girl like mommy’ type stuff. It actually was crazy to me how young he started acting this way, as I have never pushed gender on either child. Also, my daughter at the age of 15 months is obsessed with anything ‘girlie’! I stay at home with them and I’m not a girlie girl. I think it’s great that she’s letting her children be their genuine self. Gender is a spectrum. I wish people would quit obsessing over it.

  29. Sorella says:

    I like the way she is handling it, kudos to her and she seems to love her children.

    But it just me but why does she always have to sound so smug? To me she always has a prickly tone, even in print, she comes across as argumentative (or maybe combative is better) and like she is thinking “you’re stupid and I’m not, of COURSE I’m smarter and handle things better than others”. Even on this topic I feel tone. I like her when she is ACTING, but otherwise in life, her tone bugs me, always sounds so condescending, even when she is trying to sound funny or warm about her kids or whatever. Something about her but could be just me lol.

    • Lucia says:

      I don’t want this to sound like a generalization but it’s going to sound like it so I’m just going to say it.

      I think it’s being from South Africa. I work with a guy from SA and he have a similar way of speaking and talking. His first language was Dutch and even though he speaks perfect English, they also come off as sounding haughty. So I wonder if Charlize is similar.

      • Jaded says:

        I have numerous SA friends and none of them sound haughty, in fact they’re some of the nicest people you could meet. I think Charlize is just naturally arrogant and probably still has some issues around her abusive father and her mother shooting him to death when he was in a violent rage.

      • Lucia says:

        That’s fair and you’re probably more right than I am. At the end of the day, I still think her heart is ultimately in the right place.

    • Lizz says:

      I agree it is not natural. She always sounds desperate to be happy or liked or accepted…..and obviously wants to be the man of the house in more ways than one. What Jackson is going through now could also have been a sibling rivalry issue with the daughter Charlize was adopting around the same time he starts making these non conforming comments.

      • Lucia says:

        I highly highly doubt that, Lizz. No kid would be able to hold up a sibling rivalry that long. Jackson is 7 now. She’s had 4 years to change her mind. She may still change her mind. Nothing is set in stone yet and I have no doubt that with the money and privilege Charlize has that experts have weighed in on the situation. I think it’s a bit silly to think Jackson told her that she was a girl and Charlize just immediately let it happen. It’s been 4 years and I’m betting actions over time have cemented that she is in fact a girl.

  30. Amaria says:

    Eh. Great majority of kids who say these things grow out of it. Some of them turn out to be femme boys and butch girls and it’s fine. Some indeed turn out to be transgender. It’s part of our human development. And then, there are societal influences – I used to pretend to be a male astronaut. My sister used to play a male biker. Neither of us identify as male. A lot of it, I think, is a legacy of old-fashion gender expression norms and a lack of role models. Sometimes girls love robots and power tools. Sometimes boys love dresses and dolls. This had nothing to do with gender. Let kids be kids, just follow their natural development… This is all so fluid in that early age, pushing them in one direction or labeling them seems pretty harmful to me.

    • Lucia says:

      Having Gender Identity Disorder is way deeper than just dressing up and labels. There is usually some kind of dysphoria that goes along with it whether it’s over their body, being called a different pronoun, or dysphoria over being forced to wear your birth assigned gender clothing. My sister used to cut and hurt herself at a very early age because of being mislabeled a boy. There’s one particularly traumatizing event I won’t get into here but there are some kids who hurt themselves over being forced to live their life as their gender assigned at birth.

      It’s a long time process to get a person to transition. It takes about 5 years from coming out to fully transition – sometimes even longer. It’s not a decision someone wakes up one morning and decides to do. It isn’t as simple as labels.

  31. Justwastingtime says:

    Love this conversation. And love how much more open parents are on this. My 2O year old went to daycare with fraternal twin boys one went straight to the dress up box every day to put on a tutu and get comfortable and totally referred to himself as a she at 2 and 3. We all thought it was cute, but thought gay not transgender.

    Fast forward to today and my 10 yo daughter has kids in her school who have already totally transitioned gender ( not medically but practically)

  32. Maggie says:

    This thread is one of the reasons this is my favorite celebrity “news” site! Not only do we get gossip, but interesting discussions of important social issues. You guys rock!!!

  33. Isabel says:

    My daughter told me at age 3 she was a boy. She told me she wanted what daddy had. She asked me to take her to the hospital to get the missing part. I supported her 100%, told her I loved her, and I made sure she felt supported by buying her boy clothes, boy toys, etc. today, at age 9, she is definitely all girl with Tom boy taste. She doesn’t want to be a boy any more.

    Every kid is different, so important to let it ride until the child is old enough to articulate it for him or herself.

  34. Sparkly says:

    Articles like this and normalizing trans children make me happy. Seeing so many people educating about trans topics is so uplifting.

    The supposed experts who come out spouting fake statistics, scare mongering, and denying all science & actual research while insisting they’re experts and extra truthy always bother me.

  35. Megan says:

    I’m not an expert on this, just a parent. BUT, my youngest child has been non-conforming since the age of 2 (my youngest is now 5.) Personally, I am trying VERY hard not to use labels that push my child into one box or the other, so, FOR ME, I don’t use the label “trans.” It’s really only a problem at school where the kids want us to enforce a label. I feel like it would be just as unfair of me to label my kiddo the opposite gender of birth as it would to label by birth gender at this point. Though the nonconformity is very strong and some of the language that’s been used by my child has been very strong, it’s obvious that gender is a concept that is still being worked out in the mind. We let our kiddo choose whatever clothes/toys/etc are preferred.

    The way we handle this may not even be the right way. It’s all very difficult from a parenting perspective. How can I require my 5 year old to take a highly politicized stance on their gender? That doesn’t feel right at all. My kid doesn’t need that. Society wants it. Demands it, even. But my kid? My kid is happy and that’s all we’re going for. In time, my youngest will be able to self-identify, but it’s not my job (at least that’s my opinion.)

    • phaedra says:

      Is communicating your child’s stated gender “highly politicized” (to use Megan’s term.) Is it OK to publicly announce your child’s stated identity? I don’t know. I assume as your kids get older and start to weigh in on your social media posts/pics of them, you’d listen, right? But what is the fear here: that they’ll “change back” and you or your child will be embarrassed? If your child ends up being gender fluid instead of trans, what is the harm of respecting their identity wherever they are? Obviously you are not going to perform surgery on your own child, so medical professionals who have scientific knowledge of these situations would be involved pre-treatment and surgery. There is a lot of psychiatric analysis involved. There are age limits, and they don’t just prescribe hormone therapy to anyone who asks. So what is the fear here? “Oops, I was wrong! He was just playing princess and now I’ve given him girl parts! My bad!” Does that really happen? Or is that just fear mongering among the “my child’s LGBTQ identity is a silly little phase!” crew? Not being sarcastic: I really want to know!

  36. Elaine says:

    She looks better as a blonde

  37. WTF says:

    I’m really happy for her and her daughters. Live your best life!
    BUT. Can we get back to gossip for a minute? What is going on in these pics?!! Why does Charlize look like a basic chic you would see at the mall? I can’t even put my finger on what’s wrong. But she’s gone from gorgeous even for Hollywood, to not even the cutest mommy at mommy and me. Is it the dark hair? Or her makeup? She should burn that yellow/orange outfit immediately.

  38. Lizz says:

    Didn’t she say she was going to raise the kids ‘without gender’ or gender neutral ?

  39. Doodle says:

    My friend’s daughter wants to be a boy. We all knew it as soo. As met her her in preschool. The people in denial were her parents, but she was pretty clear about her preferences. She is in second grade now and her mom at least is coming around to the fact that she is “probably” transgendered – sometimes, kids just know. To say otherwise is denying them a basic right, like saying they don’t know if they are hungry or if they have to go to the bathroom. They KNOW if they have been put in the wrong body. They KNOW if who they are in their head doesn’t match what they see when they look down.

    But I do think it’s a spectrum… my son has an older sister who he adores. When he was three, he had a mild freakout when he was informed he would always be a boy and not turn into a girl like his sister. However, it was a one time thing, and since he wasn’t always asking to grow his hair long, didn’t want to paint his nails or wear dresses I didn’t worry about it.

    The only reason I bring up painting nails and wearing dresses (as a woman I do neither often) is because as a child, those are stereotypical representations of being female. If he felt like he was in the wrong body, he would be doing everything he could to express himself differently.

  40. Lea says:

    Honestly I think she is doing the right thing in allowing her child to dress as they wish, and to get their hair done as they wish. That being said, I wouldn’t put a “transgendered” label on a 3 year old child. Jackson may be non-binary, and too young to express it.
    When I was a child, I was raised in a gender neutral environment and was more interested in stereotypical boy stuff than girly stuff. I identified as “one of the boys”, and to this day I find it easier to be friends with boys than with girls. I am a cis woman though (and heterosexual).
    One of my (way) younger siblings was raised in a very different way (pink everything, Barbie dolls, etc) and came out as transgendered recently (FTM), without any prior indication that he wanted to be a boy.
    What I mean to say is that you should encourage your children to be their true selves but do not put labels on them until they are ready to do so.

  41. Patrizio says:

    When I first read about this, I thought why would she put it out there?
    She’s a pretty private person – by show biz standards anyway. I have always liked her acting, but you rarely see pictures of her children- she doesn’t use them for PR. Then I came to the realization she’s doing it for her child, and society. Perhaps, getting it out there will become the new standard.
    I also like how she’s incognito when she’s out and about- but brings it when there’s an awards ceremony, or opening.

    • Raven says:

      Not that I think she using her child, but their are actually alot of pictures of her kids out there and of Jackson wearing “girls” clothong and hair in braids. She was very public with her relationship with Sean Penn.

  42. Heave Ho says:

    If you think it should’ve been a private family thing, then why are you posting about it on a heavily trafficked website? Please don’t post about children, they should not be used to generate traffic.

  43. Elo says:

    I am all for kids being able to be themselves- no matter what however I might ask if defining this so publicly with a child so young essentially forces them into this gender box as well.
    Admittedly, even with a trans family member, I am not super knowledgeable on young trans children- and shame on me I should be- but I would love to hear others insights about defining gender in a young child.

  44. SansaStark says:

    There are more great supportive and thoughtful comments but I see A lot of transphobic comments here, even the well meaning “why do we have to talk about it openly” crowd.
    Kids and teens need to know it is safe in public to be whoever it is they want to be, they need to know they do not face actual physical violence or death or lack of social and economic benefits by living as who they are meant to be.
    If you’re confused by all of it and don’t understand try actually listening to trans people and taking the time to learn until you get it.
    Instead I see a lot of cishet people imposing what they believe is best, which is funny coz that’s what they accuse trans people of doing.
    It is important to loudly and publicly love trans kids, especially if they are poc, considering the high mortality rate for trans black women. It is literally life or death to openly show support and understanding even if things later change.
    I think Charlize is an excellent person for this, she’s publicly backing her daughter and making it clear what standard she sets in her household and for how she wants her child to be treated.
    Children can make mistakes but so do billions of adults, I don’t see why so many of you like to assume that children are inherently stupid and can’t understand certain core characteristics of themselves. Or that being an adult suddenly means a person makes better or healthier decisions for their body. Coz uh that’s false.

    There are a lot of “old school” mindsets that many so called feminists would never tolerate anymore and many encourage others to move on from ASAP but this is where suddenly yall are all about being careful and cautious lol. Just say you don’t understand and go.

    I really wish more people would take the care to read trans stories, to just listen and accept that while it may make you uncomfortable or cause cognitive dissonance at times, it’s worth the patience to learn how to support and care for other human beings.
    I hope Jackson lives a happy and safe life and I wish the same for all trans and non-binary children.

  45. Doodle says:

    It is such a complicated issue. My friend’s child was born female but dresses as a boy and has her hair cut in a boy style. She plays on a boys’ softball team . However she hasn’t asked for the pronoun “he” and hasn’t asked for a different name. She tries to use the female bathroom at school (she’s in grade two) and is being hassled by kids at school for using the wrong one. A sub teacher came in and refused to let her use the girls room. She is wetting her pants and getting bladder infections from holding it all day to avoid asking to use the restroom now. And this is because she wants to use THE CORRECT BATHROOM. If people would just let others be instead of trying to put them into these defined labels everybody would be a lot happier.

  46. Luci Lu says:

    Her girls are pretty.

  47. hildegarde says:

    If Jackson is comfortable with it, and maybe she requested it, I don’t think they need to wait. Jackson is going to grow up using the internet and she’s going to google herself or her mother and it might be unpleasant to see herself being referred to as a boy and by male pronouns. It’s not uncommon for kids to socially transition at a young age so Jackson is probably already identifying as a girl in her daily life among their close relations. But Charlize is famous and as a result so is Jackson, and she probably has more people to come out to than most kids. Not to mention it’s entirely possible that Charlize and Jackson work with a specialist who helped them navigate this announcement.