Annette Bening warns anti-trans politicians ‘you do not want to make this momma mad’

Annette Bening in a black blazer and top smiling at the camera while on the red carpet.

Actress Annette Bening has publicly warned any anti-trans US politicians that they “do not want to make this momma mad.”

The Nyad and American Beauty star received the Advocate Award at the GLSEN’s (Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network) Rise Up LA benefit, organised to raise funds for the advocate group’s education programs that support queer students across the US.

Bening, who is the mother of a trans son, Stephen Ira as well as three other children, used her acceptance speech to send a special message to anti-trans political leaders and explain what inspired her to get so vocal about trans rights.

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Annette Bening has warned anti-trans leaders not to cross her. (Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

“You do not want to make this momma mad,” she said, directing her threat at those responsible for the recent slew of hateful bills across the US that unabashedly target trans youth.

“Most of my career, I’ve been a pretty private person … but over the last several years, I’ve changed my mind,” said the four-time Oscar nominee, per The Hollywood Reporter.

“I have felt the responsibility to speak out and to speak up as transphobia has invaded our government at the local, state, and federal levels. It is hurtful. It is shameful. And it is being used as a tool by the far right to rally their base and turn out the vote.”

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Bening went on to share a story about a friend who, like her, has a trans child, but lived in Texas, where laws that target trans minors are particularly harsh.

“Imagine being brought up on criminal charges or reported to child protective services because you are just trying to do what is best for your child,” she said, referring to Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s ban on gender-affirming care for trans youth, which he has publicly equated to child abuse.

Stephen Ira.
Annette Bening’s trans son, writer Stephen Ira. (Poetry Foundation/Chris Berntsen)

“It got to the point where my friend gave her young trans child a burner phone and an explicit set of instructions to follow in case child protective services came to her school to question her, which they have been allowed to do without the parents present,” Bening shared.

Eventually, the actress says, her friend was left with no choice but to move her family to California, where laws are kinder to trans minors.

Bening described her unnamed friend as a “political refugee within our own country.”

“Think about that for a moment. The government should not be getting in between parents and children when it comes to private matters like this,” she said.

Bening urged listeners to keep spreading and promoting queer joy and to use their vote as a means of fighting back.

“There is one thing I have always known,” she said. 

“Love and compassion have to lead the way. Let it lead the way towards radical understanding and acceptance, let it lead the way toward queer joy and celebration, and let it lead us all the way to the ballot box.”

Bening has been an outspoken ally ever since her son Stephen, who she shares with husband Warren Beatty, came out as trans.

The Nyad star has used her platform to speak on trans issues ever since her son came out to her as trans. (Netflix)

Although the Golden Globe winner has confessed that she felt “very ignorant” to her son’s gender identity when he first came out to her as a teenager, she has thoroughly educated herself, and now hopes to use her platform to help educate others.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter in August, The Kids Are All Right star said: “To love your child so much is the greatest way to learn about what trans people are all about.

“I get to say this because I’m the mother: My son is incredibly brilliant … I am incredibly proud of him, and he has carved his own way. He’s someone I do admire, and I’ve learned a lot from when he first came out,” she added.

The actress hopes to change the way the US treats the trans community by sharing her story and using her platform for good whenever she can.

“We all have a responsibility to protect and defend the rights of trans folks in our world. They’re precious parts of our community,” she stated.

“My parents are Republicans, and I was raised in a Republican household. My mother, who is now 94, was one of the first people to say, ‘I used to have a beautiful granddaughter. Now I have a handsome grandson.’ It’s that simple.”