In a profile for November's issue of Vanity Fair, Warren Beatty spoke about his six decades in movies, his return to directing after a long hiatus, and his storied love life before Annette Bening — tidbits you'd expect from the Hollywood legend. But there's one revelation that stands out, because it's a first for him. When asked about transgender son, Stephen Ira, 24, Beatty said, "He’s a revolutionary, a genius, and my hero, as are all my children." This is the first public statement from either Beatty or Bening on Ira's gender identity since he began transitioning about 10 years ago, at age 14. Some commentators, including Out's Michael Musto, have made note of the parents' silence in recent years, especially after Ira spoke out about the suicide of trans teen Leelah Alcorn.
But Ira refuted any skepticism about his family's embrace of his gender identity in an email to Refinery29. "I have never doubted my father's love and support for a moment," he wrote. In late 2014, Alcorn's death inspired many trans adults to take to Twitter to write about their own struggles as teenagers. The Ohio teen had written on her Tumblr that her parents subjected her to so-called "conversion therapy."
"IF YOU CAN’T HANDLE HAVING A TRANS KID, DON’T HAVE KIDS,” Ira wrote. "I survived conversion therapy and transphobic abuse. I'm 22 and I live in New York City and I just put on my androgel. #RealLiveTransAdult." Ira, a poet and co-editor of Vetch: A Magazine of Trans Poetry & Poetics, told Refinery29 that people shouldn't read too much into his tweets. "Do not mistake my political passion for anger at [my father]. My family loves what privacy we have." In 2012, when he made a video for WeHappyTrans, Ira told viewers who had been most supportive of his transition: "My friends, my peers, who I'm lucky to have relationships with a lot of ever since high school, which is when I came out and transitioned socially." A rep for Beatty said the actor does not have any additional comments on the matter.