'RHONY' Alum Cindy Barshop Talks Life After Publicly Revealing Her Son Is Transgender

The Real Housewives of New York City alum Cindy Barshop revealed last month that her 9-year-old son Jesse is transgender, though she shared that "nothing's really changed" in her household since sharing the news.

"That’s how we have always lived, since they were little. I’ve always let him dress how he wants, do what he wants," she told PEOPLE. "So a lot of the kids know, some don’t. Nothing’s really changed, I just thought he may want to speak about it a little bit and he said, 'No you can do it.'"

Along with Jesse, Barshop is also mom to Jesse's twin, Zoe.

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“It’s just so normal in my household. We’ll joke around and be like, ‘Jesse gets more attention because he is trans.’ We play with it just like an everyday type of thing. But she’s fine, she looks at him as a brother,” Barshop said of her daughter. “I mean once you start, they are 9 now, so it’s for six years they’ve been doing this.”

Barshop, who appeared on the Bravo reality show during its fourth season, originally shared that her son was transgender in response to Mario Lopez's recent comments about parents waiting out their kids' early years before making such decisions.

“First of all, he is not a parent of a trans child, or may not know yet. So, it’s absolutely wrong,” Barshop said. “Trans children, they know their identity. It’s not about sexuality and that is the most important thing. Because people are like, ‘Well, how do they know?’ It’s an identity change, not a sexuality. So that’s the one clarification I want to make. And you have to be open with your children.”

Barshop opined that trans children should be able to open up as early as possible and that she knew her son was transgender when he was around 3 years old.

“You notice very young, it’s very young,” she said. “The other parents I’ve spoken to, we’re talking at 2. Even the movements that they make. At 3, 3 1/2, I was 100 percent sure.”

“So they say ‘at that age, how do they know?’” she added. “They know at that age, they know that, ‘you know what, I’m not supposed to be a girl, I’m supposed to be a boy.’ And just to flourish that. We are probably going to save one child’s life just now by just talking like this to a mother, that they say, ‘Well maybe I should just be open about it.’ It’s super important.”

The V Spot owner shared that Jesse was "upset" by Lopez's remarks and asked his mom to speak out.

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“He was so cute, so that’s really why I started talking about it, is because he got really upset and didn’t understand,” she said. “Because he was like, ‘Ew, I don’t like anybody yet.’ So basically he said, ‘Say something mom,’ and I said, ‘Fine.’ And Jesse said, ‘He needs to go back to fifth grade, because that’s where you learn it.’ Which is true these days. At least in school these days, you’re learning about different types of identities and what children want to be and you should cultivate it.”

Photo Credit: Getty / Steven A Henry

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