Cougar Town and Dawson Creek actress Busy Philipps revealed on her podcast that her eldest child Birdie Leigh is gay and had asked the family to use they/them pronouns.

The 41-year-old American actress is married to screenwriter Marc Silverstein and the couple have two children. Philipps hosts a podcast Busy Philipps Is Doing Her Best and spoke about her oldest child in the episode broadcast on December 31, 2020.

Philipps’ co-hosts on the podcast writers Shantira Jackson and Cassie St.Ong were discussing the fact that gender was a construct. The actress mentioned an “intense” moment that she had with her child. 

“I love that kid and this has been a fucking wild year and I feel like I finally just really understand a lot of bigger things. I said, ‘You know, Bird, I’ve been doing a bad job with the pronouns’,” Philipps recalled the conversation with her child.

Philipps admitted that she still messed up her child’s pronouns when addressing or talking about them. “Because Birdie said that they would like their pronouns to be they/them. 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.”

Coming Out

The actress said that Birdie had come out to them when they were 10 years old. 

“Bird was like, ‘I don’t give a fuck… 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’. So I said, I can talk about that on the podcast. Bird was like, ‘Talk about that on the podcast, mom”.

“So Birdie, my Out kid prefers they/them. I fuck up sometimes. But Bird, I’m trying my best at that too,'” the actress announced on the podcast.

Philipps, Shantira and Cassie then had a discussion about how many parents and people are not trying at all when their kids tell them that they want to be called a specific pronoun.

Practice makes perfect

Shantira had a simple tip for people about how to use pronouns – practice.

“One of the things that has helped me with making sure I get it right or that I do not get it wrong, is to practice at home. I like to say that person’s name, and then a few sentences, where I say oh ‘they are’, or ‘they are coming’, or ‘they were there’. I’ll try to connect that part of my brain to that pronoun,” said Shantira.

“And also I will actively try to say their name, instead of a pronoun, which is something that I’ve been trying to do for people in general…  instead of ladies and gentlemen or you guys, I have been trying to say, ‘y’all’. I say, ‘folks’. 

The response on social media has not all been welcoming with Philipps being trolled and her parenting questioned. Some questioned if Philipps should have outed her child. But, like the actress explained she had permission from Birdie to speak about it. 

Others, welcomed Philipps’ podcast for discussing about how to navigate around pronouns.


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