After blasting Mario Lopez for his ‘insensitive’ comments, Cindy Barshop opened up about parenting her transgender child.
Cindy Barshop, 54, is setting the record straight after revealing that her 9-year-old son Jesse is transgender. After publicly calling out Mario Lopez, 45, for his controversial comments, Barshop revealed that the debacle was a learning experience for young Jesse in an EXCLUSIVE interview with HollywoodLife. “The first thing [Jesse] said, just for the record…was ‘punch him’,” Barshop admitted. “I said, ‘No, we’re going to learn from this. You have to use your words.’ And then his words weren’t great. I said, ‘How about if we use the word… ignorant.'” Jesse took his mom’s approach to heart, and his mom included his words in an interview with People magazine — which was the lighthearted rebuttal, “tell [Mario] to go back to fifth grade.”
Though this was the first time Barshop confirmed her son is transgender, the single mom wants people to know she wasn’t hiding anything from the public. “It’s never been a secret. We’ve always known, and it’s just our life,” Cindy, who is also mom to Jesse’s 9-year-old twin Zoe, revealed. “We’re so used to it, we don’t even notice it.”
When asked about how Jesse came out, the former Housewives star got raw and personal. “There’s signs when you’re open to your child when they’re babies — you let just them me and do what they feel in their environment. And I always had this idea, ‘he’s a tomboy,'” Cindy told us. As he got older, Cindy confirms she realized that Jesse wasn’t merely going through a “stage” — but something much deeper. “The child, at a certain poignant moment, makes it very clear that they believe they’re another gender. And there’s all different ways they do it, but it’s clear and precise — and we would be shocked how accurate they are.”
The family has received an outpouring of support since coming out from both fans on social media, and, of course, their family at Bravo. “I’ve gotten different messages, but I’ve gotten a lot of support from other mothers, but actually Bravo themselves have been amazing, like [Executive Producer] Andy [Cohen],” she told HollywoodLife. “[Bravo is] posting it on their website and everything, with a psychiatrist who explains…how [being transgender] is definitely an identity, not a sexuality.”
Cindy hasn’t heard from Mario since speaking out, but “it would’ve been nice for him to [reach out,” she admits. “Just to say, ‘Hey, I’m a dad. I get it. I’m glad you made it clear.'”
As for whether or not Barshop — who only appeared in season 4 — would return to Real Housewives Of New York, it would depend on a few factors. “[I would have to] talk to my family, my fiancé. He has a child. It depends on where my head was at, and…what my kid wanted to do.” She still keeps in touch with some of her former cast mates, though. “I have to say Luann is great, and Jill. I love those women…we’re joined at the hip!”