Busy Philipps Shares that Her Child is Gay, Uses They/Them Pronouns

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Monday January 4, 2021

Busy Philipps and Birdie
Busy Philipps and Birdie  (Source:Busy Philipps/Instagram)

Actor Busy Philipps shared on the Dec. 30 edition of her podcast "Busy Philipps Is Doing Her Best" that her child Birdie, 12, is gay, came out at 10, and uses they/them pronouns, USA Today reports.

Philipps made the disclosure while chatting with Shantira Jackson and Caissie St. Onge, the co-hosts of the podcast, noted People magazine.

"For those of you who are my friends listening at home, this is the first you're hearing that Birdie is gay and out," the 41-year-old actor, known for her roles on "Freaks and Geeks," "Dawson's Creek," and "Cougar Town," said on the podcast. "Birdie told us at 10 years old and we immediately... I mean obviously, I knew that Birdie knew."

She described how she and Birdie discussed the fact that, up until now, Philipps has publicly referred to Birdie using feminine pronouns.

"You know Bird, I've been doing a bad job with the pronouns," Philipps recalled saying to her child, adding that the reason for it is "because I have this public persona and I want Birdie to be in control of their own narrative and not have to answer to anybody outside of our friends and family if they don't want to."

But Birdie gave Philipps the green light to speak about them more authentically, Philipps related, with Birdie telling their mother, "You can talk about that I'm gay and out. You can talk about my pronouns. That would be cool with me. That's great."

Philipps was just as candid and understanding in turn, telling her child, "You get to choose what will make you feel fulfilled and happy. It doesn't have to be any of these constructs that we've all been fed our whole lives. This is a different world that you get to f—ing build."

Philipps' response and approach echoes that taken by NBA star Dwyane Wade and actor Gabrielle Union, who last year publicly acknowledged their trans daughter, Zaya, who was 12 at the time, and expressing unreserved pride in her. Wade told Ellen DeGeneres during a talk show appearance early in 2020 that "we are proud parents of a child in the LGBTQ+ community. And we're proud allies, as well. We take our role and our responsibilities as parents very seriously."

Like Philipps, Wade and Union allowed their child to set the terms when it came to discussing her in terms of authenticity. "I looked at her and said, 'You're our leader. You're our leader, and it's our opportunity to allow you to be a voice,' " Wade recalled telling Zaya.

Union was 100% on board, publicly talking about Zaya and showing her support with the words, "She's compassionate, loving, whip-smart and we are so proud of her."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.