When Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s child Rodrigo came out to her as a transgender man, she initially had questions. Rodrigo was raised as a girl, but always knew that didn’t fit, and so he transitioned to live every day as the man he has long known himself to be. Over time, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen’s opinions evolved and she grew to better understand her son and continue loving him exactly for who he is. By sharing their story, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen and Rodrigo have helped hundreds of families deal with a child’s coming out process.
While serving in Congress, her perspective on LGBTQ issues have changed, in part because of the relationship she has with her son, and she became a leading proponent of LGBTQ dignity and equality. “Every transgender person is part of someone’s family and should be treated with compassion and protected from discrimination,” Rep. Ros-Lehtinen said. “Family is about acceptance and love. All of our children should have the opportunity to work hard, earn a living, and take responsibility for their lives on the same terms as everyone else. I take pride in the work I do. Taking responsibility for your life and working hard are important values to our family.”