Last year, Jamie Lee Curtis's daughter came out to her and her husband, Christopher Guest, as transgender. In a new interview with PEOPLE, Curtis and her daughter, Ruby, are opening up about their family's journey for the first time, and say they hope Ruby's story resonates with other families.
"It was scary — just the sheer fact of telling them something about me they didn't know," Ruby says about telling her parents she wanted to come out as trans. "It was intimidating — but I wasn't worried. They had been so accepting of me my entire life."
Curtis, who accepts her daughter wholly and unconditionally, admits that she's not always going to get it right. But she's dedicated to getting around the learning curve.
"It's speaking a new language," Curtis explains. "It's learning new terminology and words. I am new at it. I am not someone who is pretending to know much about it. And I'm going to blow it, I'm going to make mistakes. I would like to try to avoid making big mistakes."
Becoming more thoughtful in Ruby's presence is a must, and Curtis says she's always aware of how her words will land.
"You slow your speech down a little," she says. "You become a little more mindful about what you're saying. How you're saying it. You still mess up, I've messed up today twice. We're human."
"But if one person reads this, sees a picture of Ruby and me and says, 'I feel free to say this is who I am,' then it's worth it."
According to data accumulated by The Trevor Project, 1.8% of youth identify as transgender. Transgender youth report significantly increased rates of depression, suicidality, and victimization compared to cisgender peers. During 2018, one in three transgender youth reported attempting suicide.
Surrounding transgender individuals—particularly kids—with love, acceptance, and support is paramount. Having an A-list celebrity like Jamie Lee Curtis and her daughter share their story publicly is invaluable, and hopefully, people listen and learn from it.
For her part, Curtis says she's a "grateful student" while learning from Ruby. She admits, however, that she always wants to know how she can do better.
"You've done the most you can, and that's all I want," Ruby says to her mother. "Helping others is something everyone should do. I don't think it's only our household thing. It should be a human thing."