Colin Mochrie & Kin­ley

Re­cently, when North Toronto’s ac­claimed comic Colin Mochrie took to so­cial me­dia to com­ment on his trans­gen­der daugh­ter, Kin­ley, the re­ac­tion was over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive, and the Leasider has be­come some­thing of a spokesper­son

Midtown Post - - News | Cityscape - by Ron John­son

Colin Mochrie is a comedic icon in this coun­try and es­pe­cially in Toronto, where he re­sides in Lea­side with his equally hi­lar­i­ous part­ner, De­bra McGrath. Mochrie was in the news last month to talk about his son Luke who re­cently an­nounced he was trans­gen­der and would be­come Kin­ley. Post City spoke with Mochrie about his daugh­ter.

What in­spired you to go on Twit­ter and talk about your ex­pe­ri­ence with your daugh­ter?

I wish it was well thought out. It was just a day with a lot of neg­a­tive stuff in so­cial me­dia: the Amer­i­can in­au­gu­ra­tion was about to hap­pen, and there was lots of neg­a­tiv­ity. I thought I’d put out a nice lit­tle thing about two women in their late 80s who ac­cept some­one who is dif­fer­ent from any sort of life ex­pe­ri­ence they had. So it was just put out there as a lit­tle pos­i­tive, “Hey there is still good in the world.” And I didn’t re­ally think it through. Kin­ley had been out for a while. All her friends knew, and she had posted it on Face­book. And after, I thought, “Oh wait a minute, a lot of peo­ple who fol­low me aren’t re­ally in my cir­cle.”

What sur­prised you most re­gard­ing the re­ac­tion you re­ceived?

Just the fact that it was such a big re­ac­tion and it was over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive. I tend to not be an op­ti­mistic per­son. I don’t of­ten­times be­lieve in the pos­i­tiv­ity of hu­man­ity, so it was heart­warm­ing for me that it was over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive. There were a few neg­a­tive and even fewer just bla­tant hate tweets, but over­all I was very happy, and I loved that the peo­ple were also tak­ing on the naysay­ers.

Peo­ple can be cruel on so­cial me­dia. How did that im­pact you?

A lot of it was more out of ig­no­rance than blind hate or trolling. Some I thought, “This per­son seems like some­one that just doesn’t know.” And I would try to present the facts. And [with] oth­ers that there was no rea­son, [had] made up their mind, and it’s so darkly neg­a­tive that I just didn’t want to get drawn into it.

And tell me how it went when your then-son told you he was trans­gen­der.

I was ac­tu­ally out of town. I was do­ing

Whose Line [Is It Any­way?], and we were, Deb and I, were think­ing of do­ing a show loosely based on our lives. We were talk­ing to Kin­ley — Luke at that time — and asked, if he’d mind if we use el­e­ments of our life, and he said, “You know what, I have to talk to you about some­thing.” So I got the call when I was in Los An­ge­les, and I didn’t re­ally get a chance to talk to Kin­ley. I just sent her a quick text mes­sage that we sup­port her. It was so sur­real in a way, un­til I got back home and saw her, and it was like, “Oh yeah, you are ab­so­lutely the same per­son we raised and we love.”

What else could you say, re­ally?

I felt like, OK, I mean re­ally, what’s the al­ter­na­tive? “No, you’re not?” So, no. Kin­ley isn’t some­one to jump into some­thing. She re­ally takes her time. This has been a long time com­ing. She wanted to make sure this was right for her.

Were you con­cerned that this might shine the light more on Kin­ley and make it more un­com­fort­able?

We’ve got­ten a lot of re­quests for things, and I al­ways go to her and say, “This is go­ing to be dif­fer­ent for you be­cause it’s some­thing you’re not used to. Feel free to say no to any­thing.” But at this point she wants to. She wants to get the mes­sage out there and get some of the fo­cus on trans­gen­der rights.

And do you think it was eas­ier be­cause Toronto is such an ac­cept­ing city?

Oh ab­so­lutely. It would be dif­fer­ent in a small town. I know Kin­ley has a large trans­gen­der sup­port group, and it is a lot eas­ier than it would be any­where else.

What ad­vice do you have for other par­ents in a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion?

Ed­u­cate your­self. One of the great things about Kin­ley was that she sent us five videos about the var­i­ous pol­i­tics of trans­gen­der and peo­ple’s per­sonal sto­ries, and she keeps us in­formed be­cause this is some­thing we are still learn­ing about and feel­ing our way through. It’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber this is still the kid you raised. They are just wear­ing a dif­fer­ent coat.

Do you hope to con­tinue to be an ad­vo­cate for LGBT rights in the city and in the coun­try?

Yes, although I don’t know if ad­vo­cate is the right word, but cer­tainly an ally and there to speak. I don’t re­ally know if your com­mu­nity wants an old white man to talk for you. It’s not like some­thing I can re­late to or a strug­gle I went through in my life, but I will cer­tainly be an ally and be there to help wher­ever I can and talk if I have to. There are plenty of trans­gen­der peo­ple who have stepped up and will cer­tainly fight for their rights.

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