Stereophonics frontman Kelly Jones has praised his teenage son Colby’s ‘incredible courage’ in deciding to come out as transgender.
The musician, 46, told how even as recently as last year, people would tell him ‘it’s just a phase, he’ll grow out of it’, but he knew his son – who was born female and given the name Lolita Bootsy – ‘couldn’t look more different from the rest of the girls’ in his class.
Kelly said he has ‘learned a lot’ from Colby as he discussed his family situation on the latest edition of The High Performance Podcast with Jake Humphrey & Prof Damian Hughes.
He explained: ‘I went to watch a carol service at the school last summer, and people are going, “It’s just a phase, he’ll grow out of it.”
Honest: Stereophonics star Kelly Jones has revealed how much he’s learned from his transgender son, Colby, 15, as he admits: ‘I don’t know anyone else who has gone through this’
‘I went to this carol service and watching all these teenage girls singing with long hair and the little spots and all the stuff they’re doing.
‘And he walked down with a short cropped haircut, like David Bowie, wearing trousers and a shirt.
‘And he’s like, “I look like a bartender” and he couldn’t look more different from the rest of the girls there. And I’m thinking, “Well, that takes a lot of balls that”.
‘And there’s no way you would be doing that if it wasn’t something for real, you know? So there’s a lot of courage involved in that whole thing. Yeah. It’s incredible.’
‘He was funny, man’: Kelly also gave some lovely anecdotes about the late David Bowie during the interview – who passed away in 2016 from cancer
Kelly co-parents Colby and daughter Misty, 12, with his ex-wife Rebecca Walters, who he split from shortly after Misty’s birth.
He also has two children with his second wife, former MTV journalist Jakki Healy.
Kelly said: ‘I’ve learned a lot from him [Colby]. I’ve learned a lot from all my kids. I’ve just been walking around a park with my 13 year old because she’s going through stuff as well.
‘You can’t stop learning from them really. I mean Colby’s episode was, you got a young kid telling you something’s not right. And you think it’s about a sexuality thing, and it slowly trickles into a gender situation.
‘And then I look around and I’m thinking, “well, who can I talk to you about this?” I don’t know one single person in all the people I know in my life that has ever been through this.’
The singer-songwriter continued: ‘I can talk to people about having kids from different mothers. I can talk to people about most things, but this is like, I’ve got no idea what’s going on here.
‘Once I realised that was actually happening, it was a case of, I have to do my research and go and talk to some therapist to get help, to get him therapists, because he’s at an age where you’re not an adult, but you’re not a child and this in between.’
Superstar: Kelly, (third from left), pictured in an undated picture with Bowie (third from right)
During the podcast, Kelly spoke about having to have throat surgery after a polypo formed and having to relearn how to sing.
He said: ‘I went for just a regular checkup and they called it a one-off trauma polyp on my vocal chords, which could have been done by a bad cough or shouting at the football…
‘I went and had the check and they said they found this thing and then said, go away, come back in a couple of weeks. And then I went back a couple of weeks and it’s still there. They said, come back in a couple of weeks and ended up coming back in on New Year’s Eve for the last check.
‘And they said, “it’s still there”, I think we’re gonna have to operate. They said come back in on January 7. And I went in and they took it off. And then I had to go to Wales for a recovery thing.’
He continued: ‘I couldn’t speak for about three days and then I could speak for two minutes and then I could speak for five minutes. I was just reading like a chapter of a book out loud and then stopped talking. So it was quite a strange process.
‘And then, it was about learning how to literally how to sing again. I’ve never had a vocal coach before. So I contacted this guy who Declan the surgeon put me in touch with, Joshua.
Tough time: During the podcast, Kelly spoke about having to have throat surgery after a polypo formed and having to relearn how to sing
‘He would teach me these things about blowing into straws and stuff like that first. So you strengthen the muscle without straining it, which is quite bizarre.
‘And it looked like a bunch of drugs, straws and bottles and pipes everywhere. If anybody walked into my room, they probably thought I was having a good time. I just had to go through all this very, very slow process really, and try to regain the strength and the thing that’s going to give me my whole kind of life.’
Kelly also gave some lovely anecdotes about the late David Bowie during the interview.
He said: ‘David Bowie, I guess what I learned from him was, I mean watching that guy touring from one end of America to the other and crafting a set list. The way he played the setlist in the middle of America, compared to how he played it on the West Coast and East Coast was completely different.
‘In the middle, it was all very Let’s Dance and do what you need to do, but then he became more left field everywhere he went. He was really good about knowing the audience. It was very interesting to see that… He just knew his audience really.
‘I would write screenplays and I would give it to him and he would critique them and give me notes, because he was the reality too. I don’t think he was playing any character. He was just being himself and he would come and sit on a nice box and the dressing room and just talk to you and ask you about your family and stuff like that.
‘He was very grounded at that time. We had a five a side football match and he was on the side of the pitch heckling us. When we lost, he brought the trophy down above our head on a piece of string and told the audience how cr** we were at football… He was funny, man.’
He said: ‘I couldn’t speak for about three days and then I could speak for two minutes and then I could speak for five minutes. I was just reading like a chapter of a book out loud and then stopped talking. So it was quite a strange process’