R. Kelly's Ex, Jay Kelly's Mom, On Loving Their Trans Son

'Parents get it wrong when they don't support their children,' says Drea Kelly days after her ex-husband refused to acknowledge their teenage son's gender transition.

BY Mitch Kellaway

July 08 2014 11:01 AM ET

Drea Kelly

In a recent interview with VH1, Drea Kelly — who is the sole full-time parent to Jay, the transgender son she had with singer R. Kelly — opened up about the pride and admiration she feels for her 14-year-old child.

"All I can say about Jay is he makes it so easy to be a proud mom," she tells the network. "For parents, we need to realize our kids have their own journeys. Parents get it wrong when they don't support their children."

Her response comes in stark contrast to R. Kelly's in an interview last month. The R&B star publicly misgendered Jay while implying that news of the teen's transition was fabricated.

In her interview, Drea Kelly readily acknowledges that her son is transitioning — and that it can sometimes be a learning process for her. "You know, it took a minute for [the news of Jay's transition] to click in my head," she says, after explaining that she sometimes uses the wrong pronoun when referring to him.

She adds that pronoun usage is something she and her son work on together with a smile, and the occasional reminder to herself that, "Girl, you got a son, honey, get it together. Get it right."

Of the immense public response to Jay's transition, Kelly says she has to keep reminding herself that "in the urban community, this is like a first." While she says her own family is unsurprised by Jay's trans identity, she "need[s people], especially in the black community, to stop burying their heads in the sand."

"Let's quit playing the game that you just choose to be gay or trans," she urges. "We need to stop worrying about people's gender and sexuality and think about the choices we're making with our youth, period."

Read the full interview here.

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