How the rule of improv helped Colin Mochrie support transgender daughter

Canadian comedian Colin Mochrie is showing his support for his daughter's gender transition by explaining his family's journey and encouraging other parents to be understanding.

Whose Line Is It Anyway? star and transgender daughter Kinley open up to The National's Wendy Mesley

Comedian Colin Mochrie, best known for his role on Whose Line Is It Anyway?, and his daughter, Kinley, talk about Kinley's gender transition with The National's Wendy Mesley. (CBC)

When comedian Colin Mochrie showed support for his daughter's gender transition on social media earlier this year, he never expected all the attention it brought — positive and negative.

Mochrie said he consulted his daughter Kinley beforehand, who had announced the impending change to family and friends the previous year.

"I think we were both idiotic in a way," the Whose Line Is It Anyway? star told CBC's Wendy Mesley in an interview airing Sunday on The National. "I didn't really think of the full ramifications. I just thought 'I'm just putting this positive thing out there.'"

The road to understanding

While the comedian received a lot of support, he couldn't escape social media trolls and the ignorance that went along with them. He said his first thought about his daughter's life change was: "God, let her be safe."

He also admits he wasn't sure what to expect.

"You go through this thing 'now my child has changed gender, does that mean that previous child is now gone?'" said the actor.

He says he soon came to realize "it's the exact same kid" with a "different coat on."

How the 'yes, and...' rule helped the adjustment

There's a concept in the world of improvisation called the "yes, and..." rule, and Mochrie says it helped him approach his family's new reality.

In improv, a participant must always agree with the situation presented by a partner and say "yes." Throughout his daughter's coming out period, Mochrie says he and his wife have found it helpful to apply the rule to real life, too.

"We've started saying yes — within limits — and it's taken us to these amazing places and amazing people. So I do think improv actually did help with this," Mochrie said.

"You accept what someone has given you and you build on that."

Support and acceptance

Mochrie says education and communication are a parent's best tools for helping their transgender son or daughter through what can be a difficult process.

Kinley Mochrie said even though her transition involved many conversations, she never doubted her parents' understanding — a luxury not everyone in her position enjoys.

"It took some time but I knew that support and acceptance was on the other side," she said. "I was not worried for a second."

Watch the full interview below:

Colin and Kinley Mochrie discuss gender transition

7 years ago
Duration 8:29
The famous comedian father and his daughter sit down with Wendy Mesley to discuss Kinley's journey as a transgender woman.

With files from The National's Wendy Mesley