Rep. Mike Honda this week became one of the first lawmakers in Congress to support the idea of a gender spectrum and publicly announce a family member, his granddaughter, is transgender.
The California Democrat urged acceptance of transgender individuals in a profile of his 8-year-old granddaughter Malisa, who was born a boy, in the San Jose Mercury News.
People may say, “It’s just a phase or they’ll grow out of it,” Honda told the paper.
“But we have to be a little bit more in tune with what youngsters are telling us. From there we can develop better solutions, be more thoughtful,” he added.
The congressman, who is a member of the House LGBTQ caucus, hadn’t publicly spoken about his granddaughter’s transition until recently.
He had the family take a new photo for his campaign materials last cycle to reflect his granddaughter’s new identity, telling Malisa that “we need you to be who you are in the campaign photos.”
On Wednesday, he brought it to wider attention with a tweet saying he’s the “proud grandpa of a transgender grandchild.”
In the interview with the Mercury News, Honda suggested that the idea of gender should be more fluid than just the distinction between a boy and a girl.
“We look at gender as binary,” Honda said, as though there are “ones and zeros and nothing in between.”
“But when you spread them out, you have a spectrum of who we are,” he added.