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Nearly three months after revealing that her youngest child is transgender, Jamie Lee Curtis sat down for an interview with her daughter Ruby about the 25-year-old’s transition and journey to self-acceptance.
The “Halloween” star, 62, admitted on Wednesday that “learning new terminology and words” has been a challenge at times, but she is determined to put in the work for Ruby.
“It’s speaking a new language,” she told People. “I am new at it. I am not someone who is pretending to know much about it. And I’m going to blow it, I’m going to make mistakes. I would like to try to avoid making big mistakes.”
Curtis said she’s become more thoughtful over time, explaining, “You slow your speech down a little. You become a little more mindful about what you’re saying, how you’re saying it. You still mess up; I’ve messed up today twice. We’re human. But if one person reads this, sees a picture of Ruby and me and says, ‘I feel free to say this is who I am,’ then it’s worth it.”
Ruby, for her part, told the magazine that she was “intimidated” by the idea of coming out to Curtis and her father, director Christopher Guest, but she ultimately did not have to worry about their reactions.
“It was scary — just the sheer fact of telling them something about me they didn’t know,” Ruby, who works as a video editor, explained. “It was intimidating — but I wasn’t worried. They had been so accepting of me my entire life.”
Ruby shared that she was “about 16” when she began to think about her gender identity.
“A friend of mine who is trans asked me what my gender was. I told them, ‘Well, I’m male.’ After, I’d dwell on the thought. I knew I was — maybe not Ruby per se, but I knew I was different,” she recalled. “But I had a negative experience in therapy, so I didn’t come out immediately when I probably should have. Then, seven years later, still being Tom at the time, I told the person who is now my fiancé that I am probably trans. And they said, ‘I love you for who you are.’”
Curtis was surprised that Ruby “said her dead name” during their interview, adding, “I haven’t ever heard her say that name. It so doesn’t fit anymore. That was, of course, the hardest thing — just the regularity of the word, the name that you’d given a child, that you’ve been saying their whole life.”
The actress then confessed that she and Guest, 73, “still slip occasionally” and forget to use the correct pronouns for their daughter.
“I don’t get mad at them for that,” Ruby said, however.
Curtis and Ruby’s bond is so tight, in fact, that the “Freaky Friday” star plans to officiate her daughter’s wedding next year.
“This is our family’s experience,” Curtis said. “I am here to support Ruby. That is my job, just as it is to care and love and support her older sister, Annie, in her journeys. I’m a grateful student. I’m learning so much from Ruby. The conversation is ongoing. But I want to know: How can I do this better?”
Ruby replied, “You’ve done the most you can, and that’s all I want. Helping others is something everyone should do. I don’t think it’s only our household thing. It should be a human thing.”