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'Real Housewives of Orange County' star admits she's unsure — at times — to be so public with her trans son's identity. But she knows it'll help other LGBTQ+ families like hers.

A family of six at a restaurant
Heather Dubrow, her husband, Terry Dubrow, and their four children. The kids are, from left, Katerina, 17, Ace, 13, and twins Nicholas and Maximilla, 20.
  • Three kids of RHOC's Heather Dubrow are respectively bisexual, lesbian, and transgender.
  • Dubrow told Business Insider she 100% supports their sexuality. "Communication is key," she said.
  • The mom of four campaigns for the rights of people who identify as LGBTQ+.

When Heather Dubrow was asked to rejoin the cast of "The Real Housewives of Orange County" after a four-season break, she thought hard about the decision.

It was a big deal to open up her home to the cameras again — some days for seven hours per day — and have her private life in the spotlight again.

However, the 2020 offer came shortly after her daughter, Maximilla (whom she calls Max), revealed she was bisexual at the age of 17.

"I'd worked for equality before Max came out," Dubrow, a mom of four, told Business Insider. "But I knew the show would give me a platform to help normalize it."

In 2021 — the year that the family was featured in the 16th season of "RHOC" — Max's then 14-year-old younger sister, Katerina (known as Kat), came out as lesbian.

The show included an interview in which Kat said she had faced bigotry at school for her sexuality.

"From what I saw from the outside my older sister's coming out story, everyone was supportive," the teen said. "Her friends were supportive. But when I came out, I was dealing with a lot of homophobia."

"I had issues with people at school who were saying the f-slur around me and who were just not very supportive of the LGBTQ+ community," Kat said in the show.

In the same episode, the now 17-year-old told her mom she'd considered taking down her rainbow flag for pride after being criticized online.

Dubrow replied that Kat should be true to herself and keep the flag if she wanted, no matter what others think.

The star told BI she asked the teen if she was OK with the exchange being aired on TV. "Kat said, 'Absolutely because I think it will help people.'"

Dubrow, who first appeared in the seventh season of "RHOC" in 2012, added, "I'm so proud of her for having that honest conversation."

The second of Dubrow's sons, Ace, 13, is transgender

Then, in March 2023, Dubrow shared an Instagram post that confirmed rumors that her youngest child, then 12, was transgender.

She posted the message, including the fact he was called Ace, on International Sons' Day. "Our job as parents is to give our kids a safe and supportive environment so they can grow up as healthy, happy, confident, independent humans," she wrote alongside a photo of the name Ace carved in sand on a beach.

A woman with brown hair wearing a button up white shirt
Dubrow's campaign for LGBT+ rights begins at home.

"We posted it, partly because of the trolls," Dubrow, who also has a 20-year-old son, Nicholas, Max's twin brother, told BI. "People were already talking about our son, misgendering him, and making comments.

"It was sort of our way of quieting the whole conversation because he is so young. Was it the right thing to do? I don't know," she told BI.

The 55-year-old, who is married to plastic surgeon Dr. Terry Dubrow, star of the reality show "Botched," added that it would be up to Ace, now 13, when — or if — he wanted to tell his own story.

"He's 13. He's in middle school, and he's got enough to deal with," she told BI. "I also think kids today are fluid in the best way. I want to give them the space to figure themselves out."

The mom said her old-fashioned parents pushed sexuality under the rug

Still, Dubrow advised other parents to act as sounding boards — but only if their children asked them first. "You can't press kids into telling you things you want to know," she said. "You have to wait for them to feel comfortable to tell you in their own time, in their own way."

"You just have to create a safe and comfortable environment for them and just let them know that you care," she told BI.

She added that "communication is key" and that adults should step back and listen. "It's hard for a lot of parents not to immediately try to fix or give advice."

As for her own parents, Dubrow told BI that she "came from a very 1950s family," and matters like sex were pushed under the rug. "I didn't even know what a period was," she said.

It was one of the reasons, she said, that she was so frank about supporting people's choices regarding their sexuality. She added that the 18th season of "RHOC"— which premieres on July 11 — included moments in which she, her husband, her children, and friends advocated for LGBT+ rights.

"If we can put our very normal family on television, some of the people watching might think, 'Oh, that's me,' or 'That's my kid' — and it's cool.'"

Read the original article on Business Insider

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