Why Annette Bening stopped being ‘protective’ of trans son’s privacy

Annette Bening wanted to shield her trans son from the limelight when he was younger but decided in recent years that his story could advocate for the LGBTQIA+ community — particularly because of the current political climate.

“As time has gone on, especially now with what’s happening, unfortunately in the political process, trans people are being used, fear and ignorance is being stoked against trans people in the most frightening way,” the award-winning actress, 65, said on “The View” Friday.

“It’s so unfair and I feel very, very strongly about it.”

She added, “I am a Democrat — we need a strong Republican party. We need a strong opposition, but we don’t need people to stoke up fear.”

Bening — who shares son Stephen Ira Beatty, 32, with husband Warren Beatty — further explained how her mindset about speaking about her child was different years ago.

Annette Bening opened up on “The View” about why she speaks freely about her son’s gender identity. The View/ABC
Bening said on the talk show that “fear and ignorance is being stoked against trans people.” The View/ABC

“At the beginning, I felt very protective of his privacy because he’s the son of these two famous people,” the “Nyad” star said. “I felt it was his right to say what he wanted to say publicly or not.”

Bening first disclosed Stephen had transitioned in an interview with AARP in 2019 when he was 27.


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“He’s managed something that’s very challenging with great style and great intelligence,” the “American Beauty” star told the publication at the time.

“He’s an articulate, thoughtful person, and I’m very, very proud of him.”

Bening’s son, Stephen Ira Beatty, is transgender. supermattachine/Instagram

Even then, Bening talked about her inclination to want to protect Stephen and her other kids. She also shares another son, Benjamin, 29, and daughters Isabel, 27, and Ella, 23, with Warren, 86.

“When I was younger, part of me thought I could save my children from having to suffer, which was, of course, ridiculous,” she previously told AARP.

“They have to go through their struggles. They’re very much their own people now.”

Bening, who is married to Warren Beatty, said she wanted to protect Stephen as the son of “two famous people.” Getty Images for AFI
Bening first talked publicly about her son’s transition in 2019. supermattachine/Instagram

On “The View,” Bening also shared that she hopes people would “find someone in their lives who is a trans person” so they could better connect with the community.

“There might be someone that they don’t know, who works at the grocery store or their doctor or their teacher … someone in their lives who is just like they are that happen to be trans,” she said.

“If you’re even luckier, you have someone in your family, because then you really do understand that we don’t have to judge. We have to love and understand.”