Stephen Ira Beatty: the Transgender Son of Warren Beatty and Annette Bening
Warren Beatty Has Never Been Comfortable With Media Attention. Why Should He Change Now to Please Mr. Musto?
Should Warren Beatty and Annette Bening Speak Out In Support of Their Transgender Son or Do They Have the Right to Their Privacy?
Columnist Michael Musto urges film stars and spouses, Warren Beatty and Annette Bening, to speak out in support of their adult transgender son, Stephen Ira Beatty. I say that's ridiculous and mind your own business. Just because we live in a time where everybody wants their own reality show, posts every detail of their life on Facebook, and watches the Kardashians become rich and famous for over-exposing themselves, doesn't mean privacy and discretion are bad. These parents should be admired, not criticized. This is good parenting when a mom and dad remain silent and let their adult child speak for himself. So, Michael Musto, mind your business and leave this family alone.
Warren Beatty and Annette Bening Are a Class Act!
Mind Your Own Business, Michael Musto!
In a column for Out.com , Michael Musto criticized film stars, Warren Beatty and Annette Bening, for not speaking out publicly in support of their transgender son, Stephen Ira Beatty. Musto used his mighty journalistic pen to shame the famous couple for not being cool enough to give their child a “public benediction.” He writes: “You haven't said a word in public about him, and I hear you've even dodged press to avoid having to confront this subject. Maybe, you think it's not our business, but it became our business when Stephen Ira came out as trans at 14.”
First and foremost, I lay my cards on the table to say how much I loath the ubiquitous open letters to celebrities. I find them phony – the writer feigning concern and intimacy with the letter's recipients just as Musto did by starting his letter with fake familiarity: “Hello, Warren and Annette. First off, I've admired your work.”
I further detest the open letter format because it's lazy journalism – no research, no depth, just an emotional response written on a whim. Writing a letter is a cathartic experience for many of us – something a therapist might recommend to a patient. But then it's best to rip it up and threw it away. Don't send it or publish it. Writing down your opinions probably helped you, Michael, but your scripted denunciation of Beatty and Bening was hurtful to them and their family.
To prove how easy it is to compose an open letter – to find fault in humans one doesn't know and berate their actions without understanding their situation – I've decided to try my hand at an open letter to Mr. Musto:
My First and Final Attempt at the Open Letter Format -- Lazy, Judgmental Journalism
My Open Letter to Michael Musto
First, let me take this opportunity to say how much I've enjoyed your writing over the years. However, I must strongly disagree that Warren Beatty and Annette Bening should speak out publicly in support of their son's transition from female to male. Since you're neither a parent nor a family therapist, you're not qualified to speak about what's best in these situations. As the mother of a teenage son with autism (high functioning), I'm in a position to share his story in the hopes of helping others. However, I refrain from doing so. You see, Michael, my son's story is his to tell. He decides what to say, when to say it, and to whom.
As you surely know from reporting on celebrities for many years, Warren Beatty and Annette Beatty are unusually private and guarded for ones so famous. Unlike young stars today who speak up about anything and everything in interviews (you can't get those Kardashians to shut up) and are active in social media with blogs, Tweets, and Facebook pages, Warren and Annette are old-school. They do not place their lives on a platter for public consumption. I find this refreshing and commendable. It seems to work for them as they've been married 23 years and have four children.
Warren Beatty as you know is especially tight-lipped. Even at the height of his popularity in the 70s, he rarely gave interviews but preferred his movies speak for themselves. Barbara Walters once called him her worst interview subject because he was nervous, dull, tight-lipped, wary of the media, and unwilling to reveal himself. If Mr. Beatty is uncomfortable talking about his own life, Michael, why would he open up about his adult son's? Warren Beatty is now in his 70s so I doubt he will change his reserved personality to suit your political agenda.
Let me give you a piece of advice, Michael, friend to friend. When it comes to families and their inner-workings, it's best to mind your own business. Stephen himself recently tweeted to you: “Leave my family alone. We like our privacy. My parents and I are doing great.”
Now I'll address where we agree; Stephen Ira Beatty does seem like an incredibly smart, talented, and impressive 20-something. He's helping me, an old chick, understand transgender issues in a new, fresh way. He says of himself: “I identify as a trans man, a faggy queen, a homosexual, a queer, a nerd fighter, a writer, and artist and a guy who needs a haircut.” These words represent someone who's pretty darn comfortable in his own skin, an individual who doesn't want labels to define him. I don't think he needs mommy and daddy sticking up for him.
So, Michael, I hope you'll lay off Warren and Annette. Stop criticizing these parents who've reared a remarkable son. Let Stephen speak for himself.
Warren Beatty recently called Stephen "his hero," showering his son with praise. He did it on his own time, with dignity and class, and not to appease Michael Musto and others who put their political agenda before all else.