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GOP Congresswoman Discusses Her Transgender Son's Coming Out

“Love your child because that person is your child whether it’s the person you wanted him or her to be or not," said Republican Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen in a CBS special with her transgender son.

Posted on November 18, 2014, at 12:49 p.m. ET

Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and her transgender son, Rodrigo Lehtinen, shared their story for the first time Monday in an exclusive interview with CBS.

Joshua Roberts / Reuters

“I came from a family where politics was very much talked about openly, calmly with respect on a regular basis,” said Rodrigo Lehtinen as he discussed his coming out in the interview.

The oldest child of Ros-Lehtinen, 28-year-old Rodrigo came out as gay in High School and made the decision to transition in college.

miami.cbslocal.com

Rodrigo sent his parents a coming out letter and included several informational pamphlets about what it means to identify as transgender.

“As parents we wanted to make sure Rigo understood we were totally fine with it,” Ros-Lehtinen said of the coming out letter they received from their son in 2007.

miami.cbslocal.com

Rodrigo's father, former Florida U.S. Attorney Dexter Lehtinen, was also present for the interview.

"I’m generally a private person,” Rodrigo told CBS. “I know that may not be expected because my mom’s a politician and she’s very much in the public eye, but I’m just generally a more introverted person.”

"Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has long been one of the best allies that LGBT Americans have had in the Republican Conference and in the entire Congress, and it's really wonderful to see that television news report covering how proud she is to be the loving mother of her transgender son," Tico Almeida, a Cuban-American Democrat who runs Freedom to Work, told BuzzFeed News.

The clip concludes with the congresswoman's one piece of advice to any parents of transgender children:

“Love your child because that person is your child whether it’s the person you wanted him or her to be or not. That’s my advice to parents, never, never reject your child. That’s unconditional love no matter what," she said.

Watch the full CBS interview here.

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