The transgender star of a new ABC Family docuseries admires Caitlyn Jenner's public transition and hopes it will spread a message.
"We're just normal, loving people," Carly Lehwald said on Good Morning America Monday. "We deserve all the same respect as everybody else."
Ben Lehwald was 13 years old when his parents told him that they were getting a divorce and that his dad, Charlie, would be transitioning into a woman, Carly. A new docuseries called Becoming Us follows Ben's family as well as that of his girlfriend, whose dad is also transgender.
Ben, now 17, said that he struggled with the transition from the beginning.
"It was like my dad died," Ben said of learning the news, "and that was really hard because it was like seeing my dad as a new stranger that I have known for so long."
The transition was not easy for anyone, Ben himself included, the teen explained.
"It definitely took a lot of time," he said. "It was rough for a period of time. I was confused and I was feeling all these emotions. It just took time."
Ben said his friends have always been supportive and kind. Now he's hoping his story will provide support and inspiration for other families.
The show is the first family-oriented series of its kind. For his part, executive producer Ryan Seacrest hopes that the message behind the show will be seen as one of love.
"I hope there's a message of acceptance," he said. "I hope there's a message of understanding that, universally, we're all kind of the same."
Becoming Us airs Monday, June 8 at 9 p.m. ET | 8 p.m. CT on ABC Family.