Dear C.J.’s Kindergarten Teacher

Hi!

I don’t know you and I won’t know you until after Labor Day, but I just wanted to take a minute to introduce myself and my son to you.  I’m C.J.’s Mom and my son C.J. is gender nonconforming.  I used to shy away from telling people that before they got a chance to meet my awesome child, but, over the years I’ve found that it’s better to tell some people right up front — especially his teachers.  Plus, he has told me that he prefers for me to make the announcement ahead of him.  So, there you have it.

C.J. drew himself as a kindergartner.

Please don’t think that I’m crazy or that my son is crazy or that we are weird.  It’s okay to think that we are different.  We are different, we own that and hope that people will see us being different and come to realize that our version of different is not scary or bad, but good and lovable.

Anyway, as C.J. explains it, he is a boy who only likes girl stuff and sometimes likes to be treated like a girl.  He will show up to school dressed in boy clothes, albeit usually pink and purple “boy clothes” that I get on the sale rack because very few boys seem to want the pink polo shirts, purple t-shirts and magenta skinny jeans that retailers take a gamble on.  He likes to wear girl socks and safely tucks them inside of his shoes.  They peek out.  You’ll see.

Sometimes he accessorizes with beaded jewelry of his own creation or that he has chosen with the utmost care out of his Rapunzel jewelry box.  I’ve informed him that I’d rather he not wear his clip on earrings to school because he might lose them and would be heartbroken.  His lunch box is decorated with Monster High characters and has been his most prized possession since he got it at Target three weeks ago.

I tell you all of these details so that you know what to expect on that first day of school.  And also so that you will hopefully see how much thought goes into his getting ready each morning.  Every morning he asks “Are the kids going to tease me today?”  He’s asked me that question every sunrise for more than year and it breaks my heart that he has to worry about getting teased and because, every morning, I don’t have an honest answer.  All I can say is “I don’t know, baby.  I hope not.”

My sweet son isn’t trying to make anybody uncomfortable; he’s trying to make himself comfortable, in a body and soul that don’t always feel in alignment.  Imagine that feeling.

C.J. on a swing at the kindergarten playground.

I’m sure I seem incredibly high maintenance, but please know that I’m never aiming to make your life more difficult, I’m trying to make my son’s life less difficult.  We don’t want to be seen as a liability.  In our eyes it’s not our family against you and the school and the district.  It’s you and us against the world.  We are on the same team.

Those 20+ other little five- and six-year-old team members in your class?  I’m not asking you to educate them on gender or sex or the difference between the two.  However, I do think that you have a responsibility to teach them about empathy, kindness and acceptance.

If you have any questions about gender nonconforming kids, please ask.  I love, love, love to share what I know with others, especially those who are in my son’s life.  So, talk to me, ask me questions, tell me your concerns, let’s figure this our together.

In the meantime, expect my son to draw himself as a girl, get his pronouns mixed up, have a hard time deciding which bathroom to use, always choose pink if it’s an option and become uncomfortable if you divide the class by boys and girls.  He’ll do all of those things one day…and then he may not do them next.  His gender fluidity is just that: fluid.

Finally, please don’t gossip about us. If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me what the other moms at school think about us I could start a private school for kids like C.J.  I don’t care what the other parents think about us and I don’t have time for gossip, so please, respect our privacy.

Anyway, we’re hopeful for the school year that is about to begin and can’t wait to see our son transform into a kindergartner.

All our best, always,

C.J.’s Mom (and C.J. and C.J.’s Dad)

About raisingmyrainbow

RaisingMyRainbow.com is a blog about the adventures in raising a fabulous, gender creative son.
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111 Responses to Dear C.J.’s Kindergarten Teacher

  1. Lucia Maya says:

    Wonderful! Just found your blog and love your writing and your strong support and love for your child. So beautiful to read, thank you!

  2. Thank you! We are dealing with kindergarten for our transgendered child.

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  6. Daniela says:

    I’m a kindergarten teacher and this makes me so happy! As a member of the LGBT community, I have a somewhat broad understanding of gender fluidity, but not every teacher does. I think what you’re doing is the best option to make C.J. comfortable. I hope things at school are going well for him so far! :D
    Greetings from Brazil.

  7. Josamarie says:

    Your blog is enchanting… I stumbled across it on a friend’s facebook page and am completely hooked! Your openness is refreshing in this closed off world, and I’m so happy that C.J. was blessed with such wonderful parents.

    When I was 3 years old, my parents adopted my sister, who was just 6 months younger than I was and the exact same size as me. Adding a child to the family is tough enough when that child is a baby, but when that child is your almost-twin and you are a spoiled only-child, it’s more than confusing.

    Trying to make sense of the upheaval of my world, I did the only thing that made sense to me; a few weeks into our new family dynamic, I walked in to my parents room and informed them that I didn’t believe they could love two little girls at the same time, so I was going to become their little boy instead. I changed my name to Jim Jo (evidently I was a southern boy!), and wore only boy clothes for almost a year. To my parents never ending credit, they handled the situation exactly like you and your husband, never telling me I was wrong or correcting my decision. I’m sure as kindergarten approached they were nervous… I was already going to be the only white kid in my inner city DC class, I can only imagine their hesitation to allow me to go to school with my blonde hair cropped short and sporting a Superman T, but they never let on to me.

    Around the time I was to start school, I decided to be Josie again (I think the birth of my second sister had something to do with it, showing me that my family could include more than one little girl and not explode). As our family grew to include 4 girls, my parents never let go of their openness, welcoming my bisexual sister’s girlfriends and boyfriends alike with open arms and defending her sexual orientation against all comers in our very conservative extended family.

    Whether C.J. ultimately identifies as a girl, a boy, or something in between, I know from first-hand experience that your attitude and love will resonate for the rest of his life, and he will be the best possible kind of person because of it!

  8. Cassidy says:

    Wow, how well spoken and I do hope that your teacher reads this. Truly touched my heart. Thank God that your son has a family that is supportive and loving and prepared to advocate for and with him.

  9. Michelle says:

    Looking forward to an update. My Diva started school yesterday, so far so good. Not sure when CJ starts but I know it will be a great year!

  10. megansaurusrex says:

    In this world of labels, I am glad there are parents like you who look past all that and see your child for who he is, not who anyone else wants him to be. Thank you for being a real mother.

  11. Alice says:

    I’ve been reading since the first post and just wanted to congratulate you on being Freshly Pressed!

  12. Change says:

    Hi,

    Have you seen this already?

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/rsultan/this-dads-superhero-cape-is-a-skirt

    Best wishes to CJ on starting kindergarten.

  13. I hope your child has a great year, but please remember, homeschooling is always an option! My genderbending child (http://mytwospirits.wordpress.com/) has thrived as a homeschooler. Please know that my child does not stay at home, and is very active in the community, going to our local gay and lesbian center’s youth program, coaching soccer, attending community college, flying around the state both to help plan one of the largest homeschooling conferences in the US and also as a social justice advocate. Homeschooling, at least in our case, is a great misnomer, as my children are hardly ever home! Oh, and I am a full time teacher, teaching high school in a public school, as well as a single mom. All things are possible!
    ps, CJ is lucky to have such a great parent!

  14. There’s a lot of love in that letter. Best of everything to all of you.
    It makes me very sad for my own son. My ex-husband strong-armed custody and he doesn’t allow my son to explore in ways he did while with me. My daughter is 5 & my son is 2.5 and they used to play together with her dress up clothes and princess accessories. I loved the laughter that came from their adventures together, and it was equally joyous when my son was the princess and my daughter was the prince as it was when my son was the prince and my daughter was the princess. It was adorable when my son would come running into the room very proud of dressing himself in a backwards t-shirt, cowboy boots, and butterfly wings. He was also proud when he built a car and so was my daughter.
    My daughter is allowed to play with cars and trucks, but my ex-husband won’t allow my son to play prince and princess because there are only princess clothes. It hardly seems right to limit a child at such a young age.

  15. Samantha Ellis says:

    I love this so much. It says everything that needs to be said. I may just do a similar letter to my son’s new school teacher for Year 3. Thank you, as always, for a brilliant blog. xx

  16. Along A Path says:

    As a Kindergarten teacher, I would love to receive this kind of love letter from a parent. Some parents spend their days hoping that it’s a phase. You are a parent who loves and accepts the child you have. Your openness is pure genius and I truly hope that CJ’s teacher will see that. Our job as teachers is not to teach conformity but to provide an education. However, there will be teasing in his future, but perhaps not for a year or two, and hopefully by then he will have decided that school is indeed for him. Best wishes!

  17. justxJosh says:

    Reblogged this on Just Josh and commented:
    I just HAD to share this post with you guys. This woman seriously deserves Mum of the Year award, every year!

  18. justxJosh says:

    Your acceptance and love for your remarkable child is overwhelmingly heart melting. I wish you all the very best.

  19. What a beautifully written letter. Much love to you and your extraordinary child.

  20. What a beautiful letter! May your son have a fabulous school year!

  21. Reblogged this on EMPOWERED RESULTS ~ Creating A Difference In Our Communities… and commented:
    This was a wonderfully, thought out introduction from a Mother to a Teacher! Awesome!

  22. Reblogged this on A Heart's Whispers and commented:
    II absolutely respect and adore this mother’s willingness to step up on behalf of her ‘different’ child. Aren’t we all different anyway? Some of us just allow it to seep into the outer layers, clearly visible to everyone. I believe these children – these people – these human beings who are just like us – are teaching us all a little something about being comfortable in our skin. They are lighting our way into living the truth of who we are, feeling empowered as we stand up and just let it be. We don’t have to flaunt or fuss, but we can grow with grace into feeling liberated and ‘whole’ just by being OURSELVES. Bravo to you, C.J. – and to you – C.J.’s parents. Thank you for inspiring us all. xoxoxo

  23. I'mMyOwnStar says:

    This has made a few tears fall. Thank you for being so bold as to accept and welcome your son. Many children don’t have open minded parents such as yourself. I hope littke CJ has an awesome school year.

  24. Roshni says:

    Beautiful and touching. It almost brought me to the verge of tears because I could so vividly imagine C. J’s situation. Loved the post. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed.

  25. Jamie says:

    What a beautiful and heartfelt letter. I especially love how you help the teacher focus on CJ’s needs and so clearly express what you are not trying to do. Hopefully your letter and CJ will be received with the open mind and open heart they deserve.

  26. What a beautiful letter. I will keep CJ and you in my thoughts. As a 35 year educator, you have planted a seed for this teacher. Keep up the open communication and make clear your expectations. CJ will succeed because he has you and his dad in his corner.

  27. What a beautiful and well written letter to CJ’s teacher. When I read it, I thought of my nephew who loves and lives for the world of fashion. He’s 17 now and is a budding designer. We first noticed his love of high heeled shoes and things feminine when he was 3. I hope that CJ finds and develops his creativity and is supported as well as my nephew has been. And best of luck with his kindergarten year.

    I have had to write letters to my son’s teachers as well; but for his own particular situation.

  28. auntiemip says:

    Dear C.J.’s Mom,

    This is precious and beautiful and perfectly written. I cried as I read it and thought of the day my darling nephew hugged his best second grade friend after a three day weekend and was taunted and teased and called gay by his classmates. Now a 21 year old young man he is perfect in every way and yes proudly gay. To my knowledge tha is the only time he was ever teased.

    I think of him often when I read about C.J. I don’t mean to suggest in any way that your little guy is predisposed to homosexuality. I just remember how happy my guy was as a little guy dressing up with his little sister. We have this amazing video of one Christmas when he was about 4 and she was 2 1/2. I bought her a huge trunk of dress up clothes. He squealed with glee and ran to help his sister dig through the trunk. He came out with long white gloves and a feather boa. I loved him so much in that moment. I love him more now.

    I pray C.J’s teacher opens his/her mind and heart to the possibilities that exist in all kids, but especially to yours. Being different is never easy. But it is courageous and amazing and shows wisdom and integrity beyond his years. My heart broke when I read that he asks I he will get teased. I pray he never knows anything beyond love, acceptance and the freedoms to be exactly who he is.

    My nephew spent his entire academic life in Catholic schools. He is even at a Catholic university. The Jesuit Prep school he attended was very accepting and diverse. He came out his junior year and honestly never felt uncomfortable, out of place, was never bullied. One of the most incredible and enlightneing moments of my life came when he won the highest honor the school offered at his graduation. It came with a full academic scholarship and again, was an amazing honor. The academic president, in describing him prior to announcing his name listed the many achievements he had during his four yrs spent there. He closed by saying “this young man is fearfully and wonderfully made, just as God intended”. Fearfully and wonderfully made indeed! I have struggled mightily with my faith as a result of the Church’s stance on homosexuality. I cannot believe in a God of hate, I just can’t.

    I wish all GLBT and gender non-conforming persons could know the love and acceptence my boy has known. I am sure there may have been times when he was teased. If there were my sister never told me because she knew my heart could never stand it! And if he did endure he grew stronger. He has been surrounded by love and acceptance his whole life. Even when when he dug elbow deep into a trunk of dress up clothes and came out grinning ear to ear covered in feathers and satin.

    My love for this young man is endless, deep, profound. I see that same love in your letter to C.J.’s teacher. God chose his parents well. I will be rooting for him this year and every year as he learns who he is and grows in to the person he is meant to be. C.J is fearfully and wonderfully made, just as God intended! Have a great year buddy!

  29. Kat says:

    Good luck with the big adventure that is kindergarten.

  30. Wow. Interesting! I taught a little guy who sounds like he has some similarities to your son. I’m just curious, because I’m interested in gender, gender roles, etc., when did your son start showing more interested in typically “girly” things? :)

  31. Nurse Anj says:

    I got teary-eyed reading this letter. I’m not yet a mother, but I felt the sincere need to protect your child from the harsh world. You and CJ are an inspiration to anyone who’s fighting the same battle. I do hope this letter would spur great change to an end to bullying and suicide.

  32. This was well said and I hope CJ has the best year! You said that perfectly.

  33. amourningmom says:

    Good luck with kindergarten! Hoping everyone will just be nice!!

  34. thank you thank you thank you so much for this. :) what a beautiful post from such a supportive mother. Your child has a beautiful soul

  35. truthsparked says:

    This was fantastic to read. I do believe that because C.J. has such wonderful support from you that makes all the difference in the world. I have a gender non-conforming daughter who only wears boys things and she is going into 7th grade. We had a teacher in 3rd grade who was not so supportive, but luckily she got through it. I know it is so much different to have son who prefers girl things, a lot of girls feel more comfortable with boy things and it seems to be more widely accepted. But she has suffered and it was refreshing to see such support from a parent. Best of luck and I hope he has an awesome year. Congratulations on Freshly Pressed, this was so deserving.

  36. mx. punk says:

    maybe i’ll write letters like this to my university profs; i’ll be out as nonbinary for reals come september. i’m scared, but i’m relieved, too.

    cj is super lucky (i ALWAYS say that, i know) and this is a wicked letter! <3 wishing cj a rad year in kindergarten. <3

  37. yourothermotherhere says:

    Just think about how much more of a happy place the world would be if we didn’t have to explain these things, that people were accepted for who they are without a second thought. But to get to that place we gotta start somewhere and I’m glad you and your family are taking those first steps. Bravo and please give C.J. a hug for me!

  38. This is wonderful. I really hope the CJs Kindergarten year will be lovely and that his teacher will be teachable and teach all her kids about acceptance and empathy. I think you are wonderful parents!

  39. JenLaro says:

    I applaud you for being such a wonderful, supportive parent. Best of luck in Kindergarten, CJ! I hope you love it!! *big hug*

  40. C.J, you are a courageous person ,and very honest.l wish you and your son happiness and wonderful school year after year..Jalal

  41. roxiemariec says:

    I’m glad I read this. I hope you do get to tell the teacher all the things you said in this blog and hope that the teacher is understanding and open minded. I have question, I am a preschool aide and I have witnessed some of the boys put on the girl dress up clothes. Now I have never discouraged them, actually the other kids do. I tell them its okay and that boys can wear the girl stuff and girls can wear the boy stuff. I always think of it as that they are just playing. In your opinion is the fact the boys put on the girls dress up stuff the same as your son? Or are they really just playing? I’m so sorry if this makes me sound ignorant it just makes me wonder if the boys in my class are playing or if maybe there’s something else going on, like with your son.

    • Michelle says:

      In my experience as a preschool head teacher with degrees in pyschology and education, I can tell you that there is some of both. Some of the boys and girls who are trying on the opposite gender’s clothing are just playing, and some of them may be expressing who they really are. What I tell my preschoolers is that dramatic play and dress-up are for everyone (just like every other center area in my classroom) and that this is center where you can try out being whoever you’d like. Some days you might feel like being a firefighter, or a dinosaur, or a doctor. Some days you might feel like being a suit-wearing business person, and some days you feel like being a princess. The clothing in dramatic play is for EVERYONE, and we do not tease if a boy puts on a dress (tiara, hula skirt, pretend makeup) or a girl puts on a suit/tie/button down shirt/etc. It’s a statement that I repeat again and again. Some may never “get it”, some of what I say may be overridden by their own family values (which I have to respect even if they differ from my beliefs), but if I make one child think twice about teasing another child, or make just one child feel safer in the time that child is with me, then it is completely worth it.

      This response is getting long-winded, but I need to share one story. As a female teacher, my students were surprised when I came to school one day with my head shaved. (I shaved it in honor of a friend going through chemo and donated the hair, but I didn’t go into details with the children.) A couple of my little girls began saying every day, “You’re a boy. You have short hair.” I seized the teaching opportunity, and responded very matter-of-factly, “Having short hair or long hair doesn’t make me a boy or a girl. Some boys have long hair, and some girls have short hair. I am a girl because I feel like a girl.” It took many, many repetitions of this message. I was about fed-up: I was sure they just weren’t getting it, and were going to continue to be cruel about it, maybe for their entire lives. And then one day, my little girl said to me, “You’re a boy. No, you have short hair so that makes you look like a boy, but you’re still a girl because you feel like a girl, right?” Breakthrough! My point here is that children will not necessarily learn from being told one time what you value. You are often fighting against cultural norms and what their families may have told them, explicitly or not. But keep repeating the messages – that it’s okay to be either gender, or both, or neither. It’s okay for boys to play with pink things and girls to play with trucks. Toys are for everyone. Books are for everyone. Play and learning and MY LOVE FOR YOU as one of my students is for EVERYONE. It will eventually sink in.

      • roxiemariec says:

        Thank you. I do and will continue to tell them the dress up stuff and the rest of the toys are for everyone. Its funny last years class didn’t make note of it when a boy put on girl stuff or when girl put on boy stuff they thought it was funny and kept right on playing. They thought it was funny in the way they thought the child was just being silly not in a way to where they made fun of the other child. But this years group seems to freak out and panic when they see a boy in girl clothes or a girl in boys clothes. I tell them its okay and just play.

  42. I love this. Best of luck for a great year!

  43. It just makes my heart swell thinking about how CJ has such warm and supportive parents and role models!

  44. cherylfoston says:

    Lovely letter. I hope all goes well for CJ this and every school year ahead. He is blessed with a loving family.

  45. nomdevoyages says:

    today, my daughter is a boy. tomorrow, she might be a girl. but today she’s a boy. it bothers some people. others say she just doesn’t understand gender yet. but most are pretty chill with her nonconformity, at least at age two-and-a-half. we’ll see what happens when she starts school… her dad and i have always encouraged it, from day one. i hope that more parents stop stuffing their kids into gender constructs and, instead, allow them to blossom freely. thanks so much for sharing. it gladdens me to know there are other parents out there helping to ease the way for our enlightened children.

  46. believeinjamie says:

    As a trainee teacher, I spend so much time thinking about making classes “inclusive”. The “Every Child Matters” agenda in the UK stresses in so much detail how important it is to make every child’s learning special. We use this guide to it’s core! It is important, first and foremost, to have the right atmosphere of learning, where no child feels uncomfortable, troubled or excluded. It was very helpful for me to read this, and if I ever, for one moment, felt that any student in my class felt excluded or bullied, I would be emotionally broken!

  47. fireandair says:

    ” … and become uncomfortable if you divide the class by boys and girls.”

    This probably explains more about me than I would have realized.

  48. iRuniBreathe says:

    Such a lovely post, and I sing your praises as CJ mom. A wonderfully dynamic relationship that sounds so supportive. I wish you all the best as you navigate school and kindergarten and big wonderful changes. He sounds like a great little person.
    All the best,
    iRuniBreathe

  49. ashanam says:

    I don’t teach kindergarten–I teach high school. But, in my mind, a child like CJ is not a liability, but a gift in the classroom, because he provides an up-close, real, and personal opportunity for students to learn empathy and respect for others.

    As a practical matter, have you actually spoken to the teacher personally about his gender fluidity? It really does make a difference in how well a teacher responds to situations in the classroom to have information about it ahead of time. No one likes surprises.

  50. I commend you and your family for your courage. C.J. sounds like a wonderful kid. I hope he has a greatl school year. Every child, regardless of how they identify themself, deserves a good education and to grow up feeling loved, safe, and knowing that they are an important person who should be treated with respect. I don’t have any personal experience with this subject, but I am thankful that someone cares enough to raise awareness. Soon I will be going off to college, hopefully to be an Elementary school teacher, and I promise I will always strive to love and accept my students. Thank you for sharing your story.

  51. I love this post, thank you for writing it. I have a 9 year old daughter who likes only boy things. She is very aware of society’s gender bias and has expressed frustration that things for girls are so often pink and that online stores categorize items (toys, backpacks, etc.) as boy or girl and that Halloween costumes for girls are all about princesses.

    She’s loud and very very active – so even separate from her preferred form of dress she can be off-putting to other girls. I’ve been trying to figure out for a couple of years how to write about this amazing child. I also worry about her socially – at 4 years old boys and girls play so well together. In 3rd or 4th grade boys generally want to play with boys and girls with girls, although not necessarily with my girl who doesn’t do play the same.

    Parenting a unique child can be a challenge…and incredible. But then, just from this single post I’ve read (and I plan to go read more on your blog now) you sound like a pretty incredible parent. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

  52. crayonswandsandbuildingblocks says:

    Beautiful. C.J. is very lucky! I hope Kindergarten will be a warm, magical place that C.J. looks forward to. Good luck C.J.!

  53. Pingback: A Wish for Parental Understanding and Support for All Children | walkingphilly

  54. Your comment about how the pink and purple clothes for boys usually don’t get bought reminded me of something that I overheard a few years back. I used to work for a well known retailer that sells adult and kids/baby clothes. I was in charge of the kids/baby side of the store so I mostly dealt with parents. On this particular day a woman came in with her son, he looked to be about 10 or 12. We had a polo shirt table where we had lots of colors to choose from. Pink was one of them. Well, her son walked over to the table, looked at all the colors, and then said, “Mom, can I get the pink shirt?” His mother, who had been looking at some other tops in more boy-ish colors turned around and replied,”Sweetheart, if you if feel comfortable with with your sexuality, then you can get whatever color you want.”

    I remember thinking, “Clearly the boy feels comfortable if he’s asking you if he can get the pink shirt. The real question is, do you?” After his mother made the comment, he walked around and looked at the rest of the boys clothes and in the end did get the pink shirt. I was glad he did.

  55. Kathy V says:

    I am so proud for CJ!! What an awesome and understanding Mom!! There is nothing like a child so confident in themselves that they can be who they are…and nothing less! Good for you both!! …and good luck in the future with all those closed minds you are sure to encounter! ;-)

  56. deb says:

    Beautifully written! C.J. sounds likea wonder, and is very lucky to have you all as a family! While i am not gender nonconforming, I am a lesbian, and I was outed just shy of my 11th birthday (the youngest group in a small public school, in 1979), that included grades 7 through 12). The teasing and isolation were at times unbearable, and when I read accounts of children who are still in 2012 being ostraciized i can almost feel it again. Your accounts of C.J. and all the questions, concerns and joy that come from from raising that special little human — who seems in many ways far more advanced than most of us — make my heart sing. If every child had such parents and support, what a workd this could be! Good luck to C.J. and al of you on the first day; hopefully, it will be the beginning of a great new journey!

  57. Courtney says:

    This is so beautiful. When I was a teacher, I would have cherished and appreciated this letter. I hope your son has a wonderful year of Kindergarten. It goes by so fast.

  58. As a teacher and mom, I’m so happy you wrote this. Keep speaking your mind.

  59. momopolize says:

    My hopes for a great year for CJ! At back to school night, I had to write a letter for my son to read when he arrives on the first day of school (tomorrow!). I did not tell him to get straight As. I did not tell him to be popular. I did not tell him to win all the sports games in PE. I told him to try his best, be respectful to his teachers and, most importantly, be kind to everyone. Last year there were several occasions where he stepped in to defend someone who was getting bullied and I couldn’t have been more proud.

    (And congrats on being Freshly Pressed!)

  60. mrs fringe says:

    Love this post! We have different issues with my Flower Child, but also issues that involve long introductions and too many explanations when beginning the school year. Wishing you and CJ a fabulous year :)

  61. Raven says:

    My daughter knows a gender non-conforming girl, and OMG it is the scandal of the schoolyard. For the parents at least. Insert eye-rolling here. It’s like I’m living in 1950. The kids aren’t that concerned, so there’s hope. As the parent of two girls who aren’t as gender conforming as they could be (daughter two is proud owner of a Pokemon backpack and lunch bag), I’ll be following your blog from now on.
    I’m so glad you’re FP’d or I never would have found this blog. Good luck!

  62. Yasir Imran says:

    Very strong and hopeful letter

  63. Karen B says:

    What a beautiful, well crafted letter.

    As a former educator I would have loved to receive such an honest letter from one of my child’s parents. Your points are clearly made and easily acceptable and it would have been joy to team up with you as CJ’s advocate.

    Gender identity is a common aspect of growing up, more so than most recognize. C J’s is just more pronounced and his awareness is very high for his age, unfortunate that it probably has been a result of having been teased.

    Our world is becoming more and more forgiving of differences and I hope that CJ’s journey is filled with pleasure along the way. He has certainly proven he has strength and courage by the fact that he has not given up his love of certain things…just because someone else teased him. That is his greatest weapon in dealing with his schoolmates. Some kids just pull it off…they don’t get hurt…they just are who they are with such certainty and conviction that others let them be.

  64. This was a very heartfelt post. I hope CJ’s years go well. The kids are still young and more innocent and accepting. The ones you really need to worry about are the adults. If one administrator or teachers feels uncomfortable or is inflexible in their approach to teaching- good luck, I saw it happen to my brother. They will make CJ’s life hell- don’t ever waiver in being you and your son’s #1 advocate!

  65. Mirror MUSES says:

    I applaud you for allowing your child to BE who he is!! And as a teacher, myself, I would love it for parents to be open like this with me; it really helps us know the child quicker so we could help him set goals and reach potentials sooner. I wish you all the best & hope his K teacher embraces this information and C.J. He’s lucky to have you!

  66. Nikki says:

    Wow! I got chill bumps reading this letter and the fantastic comments people are making. Good luck to you and your baby boy!

  67. golynn says:

    I understand you and your son.
    There is nothing wrong with that, it’s unique. Everyone is different. People just have to accept this fact. I think you are a great mom. Having the courage to speak out to the world. I wish you truly, good luck on CJ’s Kindergarden year ;) You and CJ are always in my prayers!! Fingers crossed for your family :)
    Remember, CJ is unique.

  68. ellengry says:

    You made me cry! I find it heartbreaking that your little son has to deal with teasing on a daily schedule and I really hope that his teacher and new class-mates are made of braver material. CJ, you are unique and beautiful, and I’m so grateful that you have such a great Mom! My best wishes for you both, and thank you for shareing <3

  69. What a great letter!
    My son is three and people look at me crazy when he’s wearing jewelry and carrying a baby doll. His favorite game on my phone is “Care for Baby Dora”. There’s nothing wrong with that. He may grow out of it, he may not, it’s not for me to tell him he “can’t”. I would never tell his sister that she cannot play with a truck, I’m not going to deny my son his dolls. :D

    I wish the world was more accepting of the differences in our children. My daughter is autistic. While I know this is different from your son, I too write letters several times throughout the year to remind her teachers of why she’s acting out, she’s not really being respectful, and that the other students will treat her differently if she (the teacher) does. It’s all about patience with children. Who cares what they are wearing or chewing (my daughter has chewies she takes to school, second grade should be fun, eh?), as long as the child is learning, it shouldn’t matter what color his/her shirt is or what toys they prefer to play with. Hugs to you and C.J.

  70. Kit says:

    Very well written post. Good luck to you and CJ! ;)

  71. Pingback: Det ytre tegn på hva du er? « skyggebildet

  72. Impybat says:

    I wish all parents were as accepting and supportive as you. I hope CJ has a fantastic year. Hugs to you!

  73. Karen says:

    What a fantastic mama you are! You and CJ are lucky to have each other. :)

  74. howanxious says:

    He seems like a wonderful caring child! And you see, he is really talented- what with these beautiful sketches. :-)
    One thing that really hurts is that he is worried if he would be teased by others. I really feel sorry for those prejudiced ignorant people who would like to distinguish him from others. But I hope he copes up with that part of the world very well with the help of your guidance and most importantly your love.
    Love,
    HA

  75. I don’t think you were the only parent who ever feels that way for their child. But I am impressed by your acceptance. Don’t worry CJ will be okay if you’re always there for him

  76. Reblogged this on body & mind balance and commented:
    Love this post, just had to reblog it.

  77. muddledmom says:

    Beautifully written. I hope CJ has an amazing year.

  78. Reblogged this on Reserved Abandonment and commented:
    What an excellent post for gender androgynous awareness. I am very happy it was Freshly Pressed!

  79. notoneanswer says:

    Inspirational letter, is all I can think. Luckily in a sense, I have never had to go through the same problems you have. Similar but by no means the same.
    I wish you luck, and I know with your determination it will considerably help your son’s future and wellbeing.
    Good luck, and I hope your rainbow stays bright.

  80. Michelle says:

    Thank you so much for this. I am right with you as my Diva starts kindergarten this week. I wish every day that you were closer to us, I know that D would LOVE to meet CJ.

  81. ButchDyke(is that redundant)? says:

    Happy first day of school to everyone!!!

    Go get em C.J. and C.J.’s brother!

    I wish when I was younger I was able to wear pants to school back in the 1960s. It would have saved me getting me nauseous every morning and lots of discomfort. Really it would have.

  82. Anne says:

    That answers my question:). Thanks!

    Sent from my iPhone

  83. Rizzo says:

    I feel anxious for you. I cant imagine the stress of not knowing if your child’s teacher is going to be a good protector for all the hours your little heart is in their care. I’m praying for another wonderful, understanding teacher, and praying for open minds and hearts for all of those with whom CJ comes in contact.

  84. Mr C says:

    As a classroom teacher, I wish all parents were as caring about their children. I think your letter to CJ’s kindergarten teacher is spot on with what he or she needs to know about your incredible child. It is very clear that you are a most loving and doting parent. All children should be so lucky.

    I was reading Ms. Herbert’s comments about about the colors of her classroom and I had to chuckle. It made me think about my own classroom and others in my school. There are over 50 different classrooms in our building of 1200 5th and 6th graders. Until this year, I was the only male teaching 6th grade. I can tell you that my hallway of 5 classrooms was lovingly referred to as the “Pink Hallway” given my colleagues’ affinity for the color. I guess their love of pink has rubbed off on me. I have no specific colors in my classroom. My goal for the room is a soothing environment that is conducive to learning for all. However, I have noticed that the colors of pink and blue-green have made a prevalence in the room.

    Yes, I am a male who likes the color pink! There is nothing wrong with that. Colors were never meant to be gender-specific. However, our society has placed gender-specific identities to certain colors. I was taught by a very good friend of mine that there is nothing wrong with loving and embracing your love of the color pink. (Sorry, completely off topic, it seems. I will refocus…)

    I believe that as teachers, it is our job to embrace all students that cross our path…in any shape, form, background, etc. I do not teach tolerance in my classroom. In fact, I despise the idea of just teaching tolerance. I prefer to teach acceptance for all! In my classroom, any negative comment, no matter how slight it may be, does not go unnoticed. In fact, I use them as teaching moments saying that we should all learn to respect one another, learn about and embrace our differences, and come to appreciate that without all of us together the world would be a rather dull place.

    I am thankful for parents like you and your husband in this world, and I am thankful to know students that are as bright and colorful as CJ! Keep up the great work!

  85. My hope and prayer is that CJ’s first year in school goes well for all of you! I love reading your blog and I admire how strong a person you are, as I am sure there are people who do not understand. Best of luck to CJ in school, and can’t wait to see the updates for what will be a GREAT year :)

  86. George Clarke says:

    Wonderful letter! Very strong and hopeful, yet I feel your trepidation. I know it must be nerve-wracking to have to wait and wonder who this next teacher of his will be, and what kind of person they are. Take heart; most teaches of the very young are there because they love the kids and the work. Chances are, his new teacher will be as good or better than the last. Either way, you’re starting on the right foot with this letter! Do please let us know the teacher’s reaction. I’ll be keeping you and yours in my thoughts.

  87. jorge says:

    You are beautifull persons… keep going like that, p ersons of tender and kind hearts make the world more peacefull… that’s the principal matter than we should focus… congratulations

  88. batmouse says:

    I pray for the day C.J. NEVER has to ask that question again.

  89. SOOOOOO GOOD!

    Darlene Tando, LCSW 619-948-8926 http://www.DarleneTando.com Healing Children… Helping Families…Changing Lives… One heart at a time. “Like” me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Darlene-Tando-LCSW/216808981672205

  90. Tommy says:

    Obviously I know you are real people, but your writing is so evocative I can’t help thinking of you in cinematic terms. This is the beginning of Act Two in the story. Except that it’s really your story, as a mother and a woman. Because it will be another 7-10 years before this film reaches theaters, we can only imagine which actress will possess the heart, soul, wit and charisma to portray you on the big screen. Meryl Streep will be too old but she could be Nana Grab Bags.
    Lots of love and good luck with C.J.’s first day of kindergarten. I can’t wait to find out how it goes.

  91. G. says:

    As gender variant college student worried about facing a whole new group of professors who don’t yet know about my identity, this made me want to cry. You’re such a great mom. I have so much hope for C.J. and for future gender non-conforming children after reading this. I know that people like you are going to make the world a better place for them.

    • Dr. X says:

      G., I’m a university professor with over 10 years in higher ed, and you should know going in that most of us are really very liberal thinkers and accepting of differences. You’d be hard-pressed to find a college campus which doesn’t support LGBTQ students. Best of luck to you this coming year!

  92. Vic Anne says:

    Absolutely wonderful! If she responds back, would you mind sharing with us? I’d love to know that she is just as amazing as Ms. Sunshine!

  93. Nyssa23 says:

    Beautifully written. Hope all goes well for C.J. <3

  94. Lisa says:

    I can’t tell you how much I hope that C.J.’s teacher understands or wants to understand how to meet his needs and how to help other’s in his class show compassion and acceptance. He/she can’t help but be touched by your heartfelt letter. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers as this school year begins. I hope that it is a happy and peaceful one and that C.J. no longer has to ask his question each morning.

  95. lutiesmom says:

    beautifully stated; I believe I will share this post with my son’s teachers on parent night and just tell them to fill his name in where CJ’s name is. Thank you!

  96. vanetua says:

    Kudos to you for being such a supportive parent. Unconditional love is truly the best.

  97. Stephanie Millard says:

    Way to go C.J.’s mom! I myself read the blog you linked us to on your last post and thought “eureka!”!, this is such a wonderful tool to pass on to my 5th graders teacher. I have to admit I was hoping she would read it and just run with it, helping my son to avoid the bullying this year and perhaps even teaching his classmates to be accepting, tollerant, and understanding. Unfortunately she must like to run, because to my dismay I was met with the response that she will not use or speak to the kids about the subject. She did however promise to keep her eyes and ears open for any bullying or teasing on my son’s behalf. Small victory I suppose. I do hope that CJ’s teacher does like to run and helps all of you to have an amazing school year!

  98. Ms. Herbert says:

    I’m a teacher. I would love it if every parent was as open about their kids as you are about CJ. I don’t know the 26 kids I’ll have this year, yet they are due to meet the teacher in 26 minutes. I will tell you that
    “Like a girl” is an inappropriate phrase

    There are no no girl colors or boy colors (My theme is blue and purple with space monsters)

    The only time we comment on someone’s clothes is to complement or to tell them their shoe laces are undone.

    In the first few weeks I tell them about my computer science “teacher” who on the first day looked around the room and told us Girls your in the wrong place – this is computers, I’m not sure were home ec is. My revenge was scoring a 100 average in the class. Their jaws drop because I’m the geek teacher on campus who’s kids use Ipads and computers (real use not drill and kill) every single day.

    • I'mMyOwnStar says:

      I’m starting school on Wednesday to obtain my teaching degree. I hope, when I have my own class room, I’m as awesome of an instructor as you. Reading your comment made me smile. Thank you.

  99. Have other children teased him before? My daughter had a boy in her class that sounds very much like your son. He loved playing with my daughter in Kindergarten at free choice time because they both liked playing with the doll house. My daughter never noticed he was different from the other boys only that he was a good friend. The boys did not tease him either. I invited all the kids in the class to my daughter’s birthday party and served princess cupcakes and pirate cupcakes. He picked the princess cupcake and no one said a word! This made me so happy because I thought maybe this next generation was going to be different than all the last and everyone would be excepted no matter what! I sure hope your son is accepted as much as this boy has been and that he has a wonderful school experience!

  100. AMM says:

    I very much hope that CJ’s teacher reads and understands — really understands — what you’ve written. And I hope you get support and cooperation from the teachers, administrators, and support personnel as he goes through the ed system.

    I wish I could say that I thought it was likely, but my own experiences with our school district were not so great. We had difficulties with both our sons, and got very little actual cooperation from the district. They basically patted us on the head and then did whatever they always do. If we insisted on something, we’d get promises and IEPs and 504s which wouldn’t actually be carried out. The school psychologists were oblivious to my older son’s Asperger’s Disorder and my younger son’s ADD, even after we pointed it out to them.

  101. I can feel your heart wrapped up in that letter and it brings tears to my eyes. I wish you and your little one all the love and acceptance in the world.

  102. Kelly says:

    Beautiful letter. Had me sobbing. CJ will be in my thoughts and prayers as he heads off to Kindergarden for what I hope will be an amazing year…

  103. Victoria says:

    PB doesn’t mind if our kids want to wear gender non-conforming things inside of the house. He is so terrified of the kids wearing them outside where people can see them. Where they could be teased, bullied, harassed (by kids and adults alike). I would just hate to tell them “no sorry you can be who you are outside of the house” to me that sounds more damaging. Suppose we won’t know until we cross that bridge. I am just glad I found your blog.

    Good luck to CJ

  104. Kathleen Guillory says:

    CJ’s teacher last year was a true gift from heaven. Could she talk to this year’s teacher? Or maybe that’s too pushy so could the new teacher be offered the option of talking to her? i’m not sure how to do it but last year seemed to work out so well, it seems like a good place to begin. But we don’t want the new one to think we’re pre- judging that she won’t be able to handle things.

    His question each morning about teasing made my insides clench. No little kid nor parent should EVER have to face that uncertainty. You are always in my prayers and I am looking forward to hearing about a DY-NO-MITE year for CJ in the next few months – and years to come!

  105. Lauren says:

    Well done. I hope it turns out great this year!

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