“Hi, I’d like to see if there is availability in the Saturday morning ballet/tap combo class,” I said to the girl at the front desk of our local South Orange County youth gym. It’s a converted warehouse where a child can learn to play soccer, swim, cheerlead, take gymnastics, learn aerial arts on silks, practice parkour, attend preschool, have a birthday party and do just about anything else that will keep business booming for the owners and cater to the OC uber-moms who pilot the blacked-out Escalades parked out front.
“How old is your daughter?” the front-desk girl asked while scanning her computer screen.
“I don’t have a daughter,” I said and stared at her. It took her a while to realize that I had a boy who wanted to dance.
“Oh, I’m so sorry, we don’t have a tap/ballet combo class for boys,” she replied sympathetically, sticking her bottom lip out and tilting her head to the side.
It’s the story of my life.
“Okay. Well. Is there room in your Saturday class?” I asked.
“Yeah, does he want to be in there with girls?”
“He’d love nothing more,” I said.
There was, in fact, room for C.J. in the class. He was going to die.
C.J. has been in gymnastics for about a year and had been wanting to add the ballet/tap class to his schedule for months and months. But, since swim lessons would save his life, they took priority in the summer. Soccer season dominated the fall, although C.J. did not dominate soccer. All the stars aligned when C.J. had a break in his schedule and two special Fairy Gay Fathers (whose initials are, oddly enough, C and J) asked if there was something they could do for C.J. and our family. Why, yes, there was something they could do; they could pay for a few months of C.J.’s dance class so we could try it out and see if he liked it as much as he thought he would.
We headed to Payless Shoes to buy some tap shoes. C.J. could not control himself. When he saw those shiny, patent leather shoes that made loud noise, with huge black bows on top he was nearly embarrassed by his own excitement. He held them and rubbed them for a long while before he even thought of putting them on his feet.
“Those are girls’ tap shoes, the boys tap shoes look like this,” the Payless Shoe salesgirl with crunchy mousse hair said bending over, exposing her crack and showing us what boy tap shoes look like. The boys’ shoes were not shiny. They were dull black with boring lace ups, no Mary Jane-like cutouts on top.
“I want the girl ones,” C.J. said to me quickly with a look of concern.
“I know you do,” I said ignoring Payless girl’s reaction. When it comes to shoes we know what we like. We had this handled, thank you very much.
On Saturday, I awoke to a noise I was not familiar with. It wasn’t the house alarm. It wasn’t a video game. It wasn’t an alarm clock. Not my phone. I threw on my robe and stumbled down the stairs, trying to pry my dry eyes open and brushing my bed head out of my face. The noise got louder. It wasn’t even 7 a.m.
“Mommy! Good morning! Guess what today is?! My dance class starts today!” C.J. said as he danced he tapped his shoes on our kitchen tile, giving Gregory Hines a run for his money. I made coffee and wondered how I was going to make two hours fly by.
Finally, it was time to get dressed. I had been dreading this.
“Where’s my dance outfit?” C.J. asked, as if I had been working on a sequined, lycra, organdy number in my free time.
“You can just wear workout shorts and a t-shirt,” I said.
“No I can’t! I need a tutu!”
Of course he did.
The final ensemble was: the tights from his Frankie Stein Halloween costume that are green with fake scars and stitches on them, blue Nike athletic shorts, a purple tutu from his dress up drawer, his purple Handsome In Pink t-shirt and black socks with skeletons on them. He looked in the mirror and thought he looked perfect, like the dancer that lived in his soul.
Walking through the parking lot, through the gym and up to the second-floor dance studio, it was obvious that not everyone thought C.J. looked as perfect as he thought.
We met his teacher.
I introduced her to C.J. and let her know that we needed to borrow ballet shoes. She showed us to the lost and found.
“I get to wear those?!” C.J. said smiling.
“ALL OF THEM?!” he squealed looking at the tub of about 100 pink lost and found ballet shoes.
“No, silly, just two, you only have two feet.”
“Ahhhh, maaaaaaaaannnnnnnn.” If only he were a centipede.
I returned C.J. to Miss. Milk-N-Honey’s class and walked him just inside the door. A little girl pointed.
“A boy in ballet shoes!” she laughed and pointed for the other girls to see. The little ballerinas giggled.
C.J. self-consciously found a place on the mat and got ready to stretch. I explained to Miss. Milk-N-Honey that C.J. is gender nonconforming and she smiled like she knew what it meant. I think the tutu pretty much tipped her off to the fact that C.J. isn’t your average boy.
C.J.’s therapist wants us to work on owning his gender nonconformity and to not be hesitant when there is the need to tell someone new. She doesn’t think we need to go around telling everybody or flaunting it, but when it feels like an appropriate thing to do, we should do it without pause, like we are just stating the facts, there is room for a discussion if the person wants to be educated, but there isn’t room for negative judgment. I think we are getting good at it. It is what it is. I’m not labeling him for life; I’m giving a name to what he is right now.
I walked to the area where the parents sit and watch their tiny dancers. I looked at the sets of eyes staring at me as I found a seat. They were watching the new mom who just brought her son to an all-girls dance class, which has never seen a boy before. And, he was wearing a tutu and pink ballet shoes.
To be continued…..
That reminded me of the time when my son Sam was 4 years old. He told me that he wanted to do ballet I said he could signed him up to the local ballet class then when it came to the outfit I let him wear a plain pink girls top, pink tutu and the pinkest pair of girls ballet shoes you have ever seen. I let him wear them because I let him wear girl clothes and I never told what’s for girls or what’s for boys so as long as it’s appropriate I get it for him even dresses
I came across this while looking for tap shoes for my son. Has this story been continued yet and why don’t they have shiny boy’s tap shoes????
I am smiling so wide reading your blog post. I love it! My son taps around the house and I too am looking to put him in tap dance classes. Some say it’s for girls but I say that he is beyond fascinated with the movement and sound. I don’t believe that people should say what’s for boy or girl.
What I don’t understand about people is those women who judge your son are probably the same ones who enjoy going to the ballet and I’ve never seen a good ballet with no men in it. They also probably have a list of favorite designers on HGTV many of whom are men a
My son is broad and strong. He love Cheifs football. He’ll tackle his dad without notice. He is constantly running and jumping. People always comment how he is all boy (whatever that means). He also loves to dance around the living room with his sisters. When his twin sister insisted on starting dance class I didn’t even hesitate, and asked “Mikey would you like to take dance class with your sister?” “Yes! Yes! Yes!” When we went in the studio to inquire I asked if the class was coed “Well sure, I mean there aren’t any boys in the class but I there could be” the lady said. My little girl took over from there, “There have to be boys in ballet because someone has to lift the ballerinas and my twinner wants to dance with me.”
We also have a 5 year old daughter who frequently chooses to buy boy shoes (though I’ve yet to figure out exactly what about them makes the boy shoes).
I do believe in gender roles and conservative values but in our house we completely reject the idea that dolls, dance, pink, princess movies, cooking, ect are just for girls or that contact sports, extreme sports, blue sneakers, superheros, monsters, tools, trucks, ect are just for boys.
And we really live that way I am a stay at home mom but I’m also a Military Vet and most of the tools in the garage are mine and my husband does most of the cooking and irons his own clothes.
Hey at least we know that since there are so few male ballerinas are sons maybe in hot demand if they ever reach a professional level.
Thank you so much for this wonderful article! My son has danced since he was 3 years old, ballet & tap to start. He is now 11 and is part of a competition dance team! It was the only sport he ever showed any interest in, but it took years before my husband and his family would accept his decision to dance or my willingness to support him. We had many classes where the other dancers and moms would make comments and laugh (interestingly, many of the fathers of other dancers supported my sons dancing). I’m very grateful that my son is a dancer- because it has made him independent, artistic, and strong (both physically & emotionally) but also it has taught him how to interact with all types of individuals- even if they do not support your decisions and are unwilling to listen to your perspective!
I came across you article when I was looking for where I could buy my son his first ballet slippers and first tap shoes, and very happy I did!
I am a Competitive Ballet teacher at a wonderful studio. I have yet to have a boy in my class and wish I did.
My dancers are very open and welcome all new students.
I taught my classes while I was pregnant with my son, and he is now 28 months and all he wasn’t to do is dance. My dancers say it must be because he was in ballet class since he was conceived 🙂 I almost believe them when I sit back and watch him dance with the older girls. He is built like a male ballet dance and has his mother’s straight legs, amazing turnout, and beautifully pointed toes (non sickled) that make all my senior girls so envious (in a positive way). However, I have all the support from the studio, I just don’t have the support I would like to have from my husband, his family or mine. If my grandmother was still with us she would support the idea 100% 🙂
I want to applaud you for letting your little boy do what he likes to do…dance! Costume and all! You are an amazing woman and the world should be filled with more people like you!
“People are always afraid of what they don’t know or understand”
I am proud and honored to have come across your article and have the chance to correspond with such a strong woman!
If you son was ever in my class he would be welcomed with open arms, tutu and all!
Thank you for sharing you courage and your ongoing adventures.
Thank you so much for sharing this!! I have a boy just turned 5 and I so want to love and support him through his own choices. I panicked at the shoe store last year when he wanted sparkly pink Dora runners for his first day of school. I am ashamed to say we left the store without said shoes. I’m so afraid he’ll be picked on. He’s so sensitive to the things other kids do/say. Starts dance this fall though! I have to shop for tap shoes and stumbled across your post while googling “boy tap shoes”.
Hi there, I loved reading this and it just highlights the issues that young men and boy dancers experience throughout their training. We are very supportive of make dancers and s much so have just opened the UK’s first Boys Only Ballet School (www.BoysBalletLondon.com). Would you be willing to link our website as we would so much appreciate your support. Thank you for reading! James
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I am so glad I found this. My son took beginner ballet in daycare and will begin tap/jazz this Saturday. He loves dance. He alsois loves videogames and baseball. Do you have a facebook group?
My son is 3 and is starting ballet/tap! I’m having a hard time finding shoes that will fit over his braces though… (He uses a wheelchair/walker with AFOs)
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I am so happy to have found this story. My son Cyler (CJ) started predance himself about 2 weeks ago. WTG!
Reblogged this on walkingphilly and commented:
One of the most moving accounts, I’ve ever read… and an awesome family (and therapist too!) I can’t wait to read more! CJ clearly has a lot more growing up to do and, like most of us as we do that, will probably find many new interests and means of expression. But, it’s hard to imagine anything but an exceptional, open, loving, compassionate adult emerging. My hope is that those around him embrace and enjoy CJ’s differences and learn from them. We can all learn so much from mom, CJ, the therapist…everyone.
This is so amazing, and CJ is one very strong and outstanding little person…and is very lucky to have such awesome support! So looking forward to reading more….
This is just all manner of awesome; people like you restore my faith in humanity
Wow, I’m really touched…this is amazing. CJ is amazing. Better than Billy Elliott!
Love this….can’t wait for the update!
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Oh my god, I don’t even know your boy and I am proud of him! And you are AMAZING for sticking up for him and encouraging him to be who he is! He sounds like a wonderful kid. I hope he loves the class, I’m sure the class will love him!
um, you are AMAZE-BALLS. please, keep fighting the good fight. the world will thank you for your son, one day. truly great writing as well. thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed.
I think what you’re doing is awesome! So awesome, I reposted your blog in my Cadance blog post Yay For Open Minds. I can’t wait to hear more adventures in raising your rainbow.
I don’t have children, nor do I really intend to–but if I did, I hope I would be a loving supportive mother like you. This makes my heart happy.
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Reblogged this on i like funny i like honey and commented:
I really applaud these parents for loving their 5 year old for who he really is, whatever that may be…what a lucky little guy and what lucky parents!
Since I’m a mom now, I think about my son’s future CONSTANTLY. I wonder if Max will be a dancer like mama and dada, I wonder if he’ll be…rich, smart, gay, successful, HAPPY, healthy, etc. Sometimes when we’re at my parents house he’ll point to my old barbie…my mom will say, “I think he wants that truck”….and I’ll say, “No, I think he wants the barbie” and I give it to him. I want Max to be who he IS and for those who help raise him not MOLD him into something he is not. I want to encourage him to GRAB ONTO WHAT MAKES HIM HAPPY. After all, what’s the most important thing you can wish upon your children? HAPPINESS AND HEALTH.
I pretend to be annoyed, well sometimes it is annoying…hhahah, when my dad and Max play CHEERLEADER. Yes there are these pompom type things at their house and their favorite game is, “give me an M!!! give me an A!!!! give me an X”. I’m glad that my dad isn’t thinking about, “Oh, this is too girly”. Do whatever’s fun for crying out loud. If Max wants to take ballet like C.J here in this blog, so be it. Straight boys cheer (aka NICK…well he didn’t use poms like Max..hahaha), straight boys dance ballet, straight boys can play with barbies…and so do gay boys. Whether Max wants to be a basketball player, dancer, or accountant…WE WILL ENCOURAGE AND LOVE HIM NO MATTER WHAT. Easier said than done I know. Especially when that day comes when he asks, “hey ma, I wanna play football”…which I hope he doesn’t want to, CUZ OUCHHHH…or “Mom, I wanna join the math club”…SAY WHAAAAT….are you sure you don’t want to take Breakin for beginners??!?!?! Hehehe.
And when we have a girl someday (hopefully…maybe…)…she can wear all the blue or all the pink or all the green she wants. Just as long as it compliments her skin tone. Duh.
I think it’s great that CJ has a mother like you. I remember I had to take my brothers and sisters to their dance classes. I can remember their teacher saying over and over again “Brush, brush, tap…brush, brush, tap. It’s stuck in my head.
As a mom, I love your approach and attitude. And let’s face it, even when your child is “typical”, you still get heat from other parents so who cares? As a mom of a daughter who loves to dance and a boy who loves cars and sports…..(and as much as I would want my daughter to play sports and my son to take a dance class (and have tried)), I can’t change what they like. It is what it is and I’m glad to see that a mom of a child with non-traditional gender interests is in-tuned with that and loves & supports the same.
This entry happened to be one of the ones on the page when I logged in, and the title caught my eye. By the age of 2, I was convinced that I needed to dance – but I’m a girl, so it was “okay”. All I can say is that I LOVE that you’re letting your son be himself, even though it doesn’t match what our crazy society says is “okay” for his gender, and probably makes you uncomfortable at times (being stared at by the other parents and such).
If they don’t like having him in their daughters’ dance class, they can go suck an egg. Boys are a massively valuable commodity in dance, and they’ll figure that out as they get older (provided he still loves it).
He’s a lucky guy, to have such parents.
Reblogged this on Sudden Simplicity and commented:
I stumbled on this and loved it so much, I wanted to keep track of this wonderful woman and her incredible son.
Who says we have to conform to what others think we should be? I’m glad there is another person being taught to live his life the way he feels it should be lived. Yeah, C.J.!!!
Most parents who have a child who is different, odd, or swims against the stream are mortified. The attempts at therapy are to squash the different out of them, to encourage conformity. Your story has lifted my spirit. To know that there are people like you doing what all parents SHOULD do anyway, is encouraging. All parents should enourage that uniqueness because that is what makes that child an individual. It’s what makes that child special. If my sons wanted to go to dance and have a tutu, by golly, they’d have it. Thank you for your story. I will be checking back the fabulous continuation! 🙂
Wow! I seriously love your son! You’re an awesome mom!
Reblogged this on nealstotts.
Great post! Your son is very lucky to have such a great mum.
Hope to read the rest soon.
I absolutely love this. What a wonderful story. I love that you and your husband accept CJ for who he is. Our world is rife with so much prejudice and gender conformity and expectation… it’s so incredibly refreshing to see that not everyone is like that and that we are so much more than the boxes we (and others) place ourselves in.
I hope CJ loves his class!!
Awwwww maaaaaaaannnnnn! What happened next? How did it go? I’m hanging on the seat of my pants to hear about how he stole the show and melted everyone’s icy hearts!
Been thinking about your raising my rainbow story so much. Of course, I immediately thought of Billy Elliot and all those wonderful old dance movies. One of my favorites as a kid was West Side Story. I went leaping and snapping my fingers all over the house.
Anyway, as your rainbow story stays in my thoughts, I randomly came across this post re: dancer David Hallbrook, http://www.musemagazine.it/it/features
He shares his feelings about not fitting into the norm as a child and becoming a world class dancer.
Of course, who knows, your little rainbow of many colors could grow to be a dancer, a fashion designer, an art director, or whatever color of the rainbow suits his fancy. Enjoy the dance!!!!!
reading this made me feel so happy and heart-full. we need to celebrate and support our children in all their beauty and fabulousness. this world needs more kids like CJ and moms like you.
This was the greatest post I have read in a while. So wonderfully written.
What I get out of it is that you are the kind of mother that every child should have and that every adult who wasn’t so lucky, wished that they had when they were growing up. You are doing what ever parent is supposed to do — love your child unconditionally. Is their really any other way to truly “love?”
The best thing about this is that you’ve effectively ended your genetic line. The future thanks you for voluntarily removing your retarded genetics.
I LOVED reading this. As a teacher, I always encourage my students to be as ‘out there’ as they like and just say ‘how fabulous!’ Your son sounds fabulous. And as someone who did ballet for over 20 years and never once had a boy in our class, we would have loved it! Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed – so looking forward to the next one. 🙂
Love love love! You are the parent every child deserves.
Wow, I cannot believe the school did not have a combo class for males! I remember my mother telling me “I knew that when we brought you and your brother to Toys R Us and you went to the Barbie section and he ran to the GI Joe section, that there was nothing wrong with you two”.
You are a great parent.
You are a brilliant mom and the world can only be a brighter place with your son in it!
I love this, great post!
AAAAHHH! I love this! You’re the best parent ever!
I hate it when parents tell their children they can or can’t do something because of their gender. I have two little girls and I am trying my best to educate them that they don’t need to conform to society’s gender stereotypes or expectations. It’s very hard when I have to “unteach” what others have taught them about gender.
I can’t wait to hear more!
Reblogged this on Lemonade Smiles.
Nice post, i hope to see more, also would you mind visiting my site: http://kevinpira99.snappages.com
I absolutely L O V E this, and the fact that you let him be who he is! A lot of parents should allow their children to be who they are or want to be more often.
I just read your post and had to show it to my sister immediately. I’m a therapist, she’s an educator, and we both fell in love with CJ’s story. I have to remind adults daily – Dare to be yourself! Thank you for posting about a son who dares to be himself and a mother who honors him.
Your son sounds enchanting. 🙂 I hope dance class is everything he hopes it would be and more.
My daughter attends a well known stage school and there are boys there who love to perform every bit as much as the girls, so I understand where CJ is coming from.
Too many boys are excluded from following their love of dance which is why my best friends husband is trying to start a boys only school which also teaches dance here in the UK. Their son is training as a ballet dancer. GO CJ! Be the best you can be and be what you are.
I laughed at the description of the dance outfit, but would have laughed just as much if a girl were wearing it. Kids don’t hold back their love of whacky color and pattern.
You and your son have a special relationship, and I bet he will always turn to you when he needs someone to talk to, knowing that you will understand.
Akkkk!!! I cried my eyes out. Wonderful story. You should be very proud of your little boy 🙂
I like that CJ do what he likes 🙂
Reblogged this on Cycling Trivialities.
OH my gosh, an absolute joy to read. You and your son are inspiring and enlightening!
I cried my eyes out!!! God bless you and your tiny dancer. I read this blog for a second time to my 10 year old son, he said, “he is so lucky, he gets to do what is in his heart” (yes cried again) Good job Mommy, he has the best cheerleader, You!!
I can’t remember if I posted last night when I first read your post or if this is my first post. Let me say that I Love CJ! Really a special soul being. I am a mother of 4 children all under the age of 6 and to embrace their uniqueness is so important for children – heck people in general. Good for you parents (I love yall too) and thanks for bringing CJ into this world!
MD @ http://www.greaterlivingnow.wordpress.com
My life’s ethos: that every person is amazing in their own idividual way.
Loving this blog and cannot wait to read more. Hope CJ enjoyed his class.
This is a great story! I’m glad I happened upon this. Good for you, being loving and supportive. And good for CJ knowing what he wants and going for it. I admire that he WANTS to take dance lessons. I hated dance lessons (and took a few willingly as a young adult), which is unfortunate for me, since I love – and participate in – musical theater. Ah, well, not all is lost.
Anyway, thanks for posting this. It was informative, touching, and sometimes really funny. I’ll be back to read more, for sure. Good luck!
It does my heart good to see that at least one little boy like yours gets to do what he really likes!
I like your post, and the fact that your CJ does ballet, because i too, am i ballet dancer. 🙂 this is really cute! 🙂
Besides picking up my office line today and hearing someone singing as they waited for me to answer…. your story MADE my day. Well, made my evening. TGIF the day is forgotten and put away and it’s time to bring out the purple tutu and skeleton socks! CJ sounds like an uniquely adorable child. Your story melted me and make me smile. I realize it cannot always be easy for a parent to embrace the off the norm passions of their kids. Your story is so cool! Best to CJ and family…. keep on dancing and enjoying the eclectic fashion. XOXOX
Thank you so much for sharing your wonderfully inclusive parenting style. Your son is lucky to have such an understanding mother, and CJ is lucky to have you. If more parents could embrace their children’s passions without gender judgment, imagine the kind of talent that could emerge!
I loved this. Loved the writing. Loved the visual images. And loved your little boy. Jan Wilberg http://www.redswrap.wordpress.com
I can definitely relate to this. Im so happy I am not alone in this world because my very cute boy likes to play barbies and girly stuff. It doesnt matter to me because what matters is that I love him. Its more than enough.
I have 7 kids, and one of my 4 year old boys loves to paint his nails and play dress up! I just go with it, keeps his 3 year old sister happy, and I happen to think they’re precious when playing together. Next time Daddy scolds me for my acceptance of his apron wearing toy kitchen loving behavior, I am so pointing him to this blog for a “lighten up” lesson! 🙂
It is so heartfelt to know that he has a good mother like you. I’ve known parents that have not handled the situation of letting children do activities that are somewhat gender specific like you have. Good on you. It will be a lesson I will take when I have children, I want them to be happy and to be proud to have them do what makes them happy too. Gender nonconforming should never be a issue in this world, but it is an apparent problem with those having narrow minds, I know that I have witnessed this at least once in my life. Love that you are really owning this moment for the both of you and that you are gutsy enough to stand up for your rights and what you both deserve out of life. This has all made me smile, you are a beautiful mother and are raising a gorgeous child. Anxiously awaiting your next adventure now.
Ha! Loved that photo, the world would be a better place if more ballerinas had stripey skull socks under their ballet shoes. 🙂
I feel that way about dance too, with fantasies about having feet like Gregory Hines and the grace of Vera Ellen.
Your boy sounds like an absolute joy. So happy to have found your blog. Looking forward to hearing more.
I think it’s wonderful that you’re allowing this little boy to be who he is. It’s parents like you that make me optimistic about the future of the human race. I hope this sweet little boy enjoys his dance class.
Rock on, Mom.
I think it’s amazing that your letting your son be who he wants to be. What that teaches him, is that he will never be insucure about who he is, If danceing is his path, embrace it. Most people in this world become sheep and never get to follow there true path.
After reading the post, and reading some of the comments, I had to go read the “about” page to get the jist of what is really happening. And I have come to the conclusion that your little CJ is being perfectly normal with some extreme adventure in him! My younger son, now 4, wore tutu’s around the house. They were his older sisters. He would pretend he was a fairy. Eventually, the fairy thing became an eyeball eating robot. Kids are in a land of discovery and pure bliss and joy! Let it reign!!! The longer kids can be kids and decide their place in this world instead of the world telling them their place then AMEN! You mentioned his “non-conformist” label, so obviously he has some extremes. But what a riot to live with! I cannot wait to hear the rest of this story! Fantastic!
I had my 10 year old brother read this just now. He is struggling with bullies and with understanding that it is ok to be just who you are and like what ever it is that makes him happy. So glad you posted your story. It was helpful.
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aww this is amazing
Thank you! I too am raising a totally super fantastic bright light!
u are so inspirational. it would be amazing if all of u checked out my blog : lifeisblah1.wordpress.com
great job…he’s such a cute boy!
That’s quite a story. I can tell you that I started ballet much later in life (admittedly sans tutu and pink shoes) and I can tell you without question it was the hardest thing I ever tried to do… and that includes a resume that includes marathon running and competing with professional baskball players as an undersized point guard. You do the math… ballet is HARD.
I wish your son all the best, and good luck to you.
Reblogged this on MsKrisDhee.
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This is amazing. My mother was the same way raising me–too few children are so fortunate
Dancing’s in my family’s blood. Both male and female. Mostly female, but it’s there nonetheless. My brother reluctantly joined the Dancing Dads troupe of my sister’s dancing school, and now he’s an integral part of it. It’s hard to contextualize my feelings about it since I lack that thing called rhythm and I especially am absent of that thing they call groove, but dancing is in my genetic code; all I know is it’s important to encourage it and understand it, and I think you’re doing a fantastic job of it.
What a wonderful post. I can’t wait to read more. 🙂 I found this through the wordpress main page and I am so glad I read it.. this is going to make my workday so much better. Thank you so much for sharing, I hope you don’t mind if I link to my facebook page and my blog. Thank you so much for being a caring parent and letting your son do whatever is in his heart. I hope he gains a lot of friends in his life who are as supportive as you. 🙂
Oh my goodness, this is so cute! Your child sounds amazing. I’d love to one day have a kid like him 🙂
I loved this. I’m so very glad that you’re such a good parent and that you are encouraging CJ 🙂 Honestly, this world needs more like you.
I am looking forward to reading your blog!!!!
you’re an amazing mum – I hope CJ enjoys his class! Congrats on making Freshly Pressed!
You’re awesome! And he’s a very lucky little boy. I’m waiting anxiously to read more. Go CJ Go!
If only everyone could be as accepting of their child as you are. So many people cause their children a lifetime of pain by refusing to accept their sexuality, their personality, or some other aspect of them. Your kids are your kids regardless of who they love, what they wear, what they think… I can’t imagine not loving my kids. You are super terrific awesome and I’m happy to have found your blog!
love the story! 🙂
thumbs up for your bravery!!!
i absolutely love this. it’s perfect on many levels- 1. i love the story-style of your blog, 2- as someone who experienced the joy of dancing as a child and still now, it’s wonderful to see you not deprive your very-active and lively son of that joy, and 3- to see a parent who supports and loves their child is so encouraging in a world where the trevor project and it get’s better are needed to make a difference.
keep writing! you, and your son will treasure it later in life!
I just want to say that your blog raised curiosity and excitement in me that it made me promote it on my Facebook account:) and even follow it. My first ever blog in WordPress that I followed!
Oh, I loved this post. I hope you don’t mind that I shared it on facebook.. But this was such a blast to read and really loveable!
I loved this post, you are an amazing person, where most parent would try to hide from the fact that their son wants to do what most people regard as ‘girls’ stuff you have embraced it, respect!
If more people were like you the world would be a better, more accepting place. No matter where life takes him he will be fine, with you supporting him so strongly.
I don’t have kids, but I would hope I would be as accepting as you are when I do have them, you are an example to us all.
Good Luck, challenging the norm is not always easy, but very often needed.
I love your story and love the sound of your boy and that he gets to do things that stereotyped boys never do. My own 3 boys tried ballet, ballroom dancing,and played with dolls. Now they’re older they do figure skating rather than ice hockey – and it sits well with them.
The only thing that spoils this blog for me is the label ‘possibly gay’. He’s only four with a long path ahead of him, does he have to grow up with this potential question hanging over his head; he may one day read your blog and feel self-determined by its title.rather than developing naturally into the adult he will be;- isn’t true freedom the absence of all labels – predictive or otherwise?
Keep writing, the story is great, the title not so!
Is it more determinative to say “possibly gay” than to say “of course you’re straight”? Because the world tries to hammer “of course you’re straight” into us all. Planning ahead for all the possibilities we can helps many of us keep our balance when we get there.
Persistent cross gender behavior in childhood IS correlated with a high rate of being gay. She says “possibly” – what is wrong with that?
Wow. I absolutely adore your post. I love you and your son already! I’m a British mum with 3 kids and my eldest, 17 is at Musical Theatre college in London. She’s spent her life in tutus and tap shoes and is now nearing the reality of her dream to be a performer in London’s west end. Many of the friends she brings home to meet me could have been just like your lovely child when they were small and they are a delight! My girl’s ‘boyfriends’ share her shoes (and they are HIGH) and her makeup and they also share her joy and pain – they are always there for each other they love each other unconditionally. She’s helping one of her friends practice for what he says will one day be his ‘world tour’ – He believes he will be the first male lead in Legally Blonde and believes with all his heart he will the first Elphaba in the show Wicked. I believe him! I wish your son and you all the love, fun, happiness in the world. xx
Oh my gosh! Your son is absolutely aborable! I smell a video or CJ dancing soon…? 😀 Hahha, I hope he has fun in that dance class… and gets better than the girls in that class. 🙂
I danced as a preteen, and I was always in classes with all girls. Truthfully, I wish I had never given it up, I still love what little dancing I do when I’m in theatre. I just let the social norms get the best of me. If it is what CJ loves to do, I encourage you to encourage him to stick with it.
Beautiful. As a dancer for 15 years myself, this warms my heart more than anything.
The best blog posting I have EVER read!!! C.J. will have a better life than most can dream of because he is following his heart and being true to the person he is inside!! Hello, was it not just all in the gossip magaizes that Ryan Gosling has been taking ballet just because he thought it was interesting!! The world is coming along :)…I recently got married and one of my bridesmaids was my dear friend Vernon (a man)….and it was amazing!! I wish you all the best and any one giving you stares is just not educated enough or hasn’t seen enough of what this wonderful world has to offer….all my love and best to you and C.J. ❤
You are so sweet to let live and let live takes its course. I am a firm believer that things are meant to be as they are meant. I commend you in your efforts to let your sweet little boy finds his way. After all who is to say what or who is right or wrong. In my opinion there is NO RIGTH OR WRONG just purely different, and with that can we not just all agree to agree to disagree???? I have a lot more to say but suffice to say, it is what it is and therefore embrace and resepect, and that is what matters.
I absolutely LOVED this. Like all the other readers, I can’t wait to see how class went. I trust it went well & he had a blast 🙂
Absolutely fabulous. The love shines all over the place. Here’s to you, CJ.
Ma’am I salute you
I think the terms and the subsequent characteristics of what we define as ‘female’ and ‘male’ have always been so specific and stereotypical that it can easily, and already has for millions, disillusion us to the fact that what we think is ‘girly’ or the like is our socialized opinions on the matter. Being a feminine boy, on the other hand, doesn’t mean he has to become a homosexual default. I think the entire issue rests upon us finally leaving our ‘gender-strict’ labels and realize that femininity and masculinity are individualistic and that each of us has the right to determine what that looks like in our own lives.
Thank you for this wonderful blog, my son is made of the same fabric and it is such a wonderful tapestry.
I love this! Being a kid who also didn’t conform to her gender especially when I was growing up I always was told that I was wrong, that my mom should push me to be more ‘girly,’ To this day I work at a Salon/Spa and I’m the only one who doesn’t wear make-up or spend 2 hours or more on her hair. I think this is wonderful and that your a great mom to embrace whatever he wants to be even if other people just don’t understand, that’s their problem.
I cannot wait to read on.Just beautiful,
I loved this, had to share it to Facebook! I can’t wait to hear how the class went.
So wonderful that you let your son express himself as he sees fit! Keep up the great work!
Tolerance is an educated willingness to learn what we can’t understand and what’s been ignored too long because lack of compassion. IW
Although it seems we still are on the stone age (everything is written in stone!) thoughts, attitudes and approaches had been changing for better today. And all is only possible through people like yourself. I applaud your loving and free thinking. Although it is “rather” normal looking at cases as yours and your son’s as an act of unbiased loving freedom, the reality is that it goes beyond freedom and open mindedness. Something that should be written in stone instead of the old and arcane same. it is a fact that educating children without judgment (which they lack at early age), provides them a strong sense of self confidence and self love/esteem and receiving unconditional support to all his questions and desires, is the only healthy way to bring them into a world full of contractions. Therefore they are ready to exercise their learned judgment in a natural and compassionate way. They become a functional human being first, later a loving and compassionate person. The world needs so many more people like yourself, many of the responders here and your growing son! Sadly most parents to fail to see that antagonizing their children’s wishes, questions, feelings and thoughts, create a havoc that will last through a life time or they will require tons of counseling and painful experiences. And then, who knows what path they may reach!
Good for you! Moving story and like everyone here, I can’t wait to hear about the evolution of C.J., yourself and family. You are true example of what most children (like myself) wish their parents should be. Thank you for enlightening my day!
As a teacher of very young kiddos, I can tell you that I see things like this every year. Boys who love to be with the girls and talk clothing, and girls who have transformer backpack and play in the dirt. If people tell me that being gay is a choice, I laugh out loud. Honey, I can see little kids that may be gay someday and at 6… it ain’t their choice! Go girl!
I love your story. You seem to have the sweetest child ever and I am taking joy in his excitement for his new class. How sweet. Dance class is an exciting thing, wait till his first recital!
I enjoyed the way this is written. However, I was born without any need/skill/desire when it comes to things like:
colors (I like blue, but I can’t put together a room, outfit, or anything that “goes” together)
shoes (my husband has more than me)
dresses (does my wedding dress count?)
makeup (I finally own some, but don’t know what to do with it)
accessories (not sure what they’re for)
fashion (jeans and a t-shirt work for me – all the time)
Next time I need to go somewhere formal, can I hire CJ as a consultant?
In other words: I am not the typical gender conforming gal. It’s a bit more common to have a tomboy though. He was born with the skills I wasn’t. I hope he puts them to good use.
Very nice blog and good post, I hope to be more to come!
LOVE LOVE LOVE how you are choosing to raise your son. Not that you need my approval, but I felt the need to let you know that it is a complete breath of fresh air to see a parent allowing their child to be free to choose what they do and do not like free of stereotypes.
As a young girl, I HATED dance lessons. Was a complete tomboy! Love sports and played softball. Would rather have a new bike seat than a new barbie doll. And baby dolls to this day creep me out. Thankfully, I had a Mom and Dad that said…ok! “Like what you like.” They allowed me to be free to be me—and I think too many kids don’t get that opportunity. I am happily married woman now…though I chose to marry later in life. Lots of people questioned my sexuality within my extended family because I kept my crushes secret and I was VERY selective about the boys/men that I dated. I simply never gave up on the idea that I could be who I wanted to be…and I felt that I didn’t need to adhere to the stereotypes of getting married young and having kids, if I didn’t have the right person to do it with. If Hubby and I ever have children, I plan on giving them the same kind of freedom of choice to be who they want to be and to be supportive of whatever they decide. It is the right thing to do!
Take care…and have fun with the future!!! 🙂
If you don’t already know about this, you absolutely must listen to this song here!
I immediately thought of you and especially of C.J. when I heard it!!!! It is so perfect for you guys!
Here is Lykke Li’s “Dance Dance Dance”
PS: If the above file doesn’t work, here is a video of the same song from Vimeo:
I hope you like it, and I could see C.J. dancing to this one! 😀
Are you familiar with the Ballet Trockadero? It might be worth looking into — a bunch of fantastic male dancers who do toe-shoe work and dance in female garb. It might not be well-suited to appeal to your son since they sometimes play it up for comedy, but they don’t always. Often, their shows will start out with some comic stuff so that the audience can get over tittering behind their hands at guys with false eyelashes en pointe, but they will often insert some “serious” stuff in the second part of their show where they aren’t “winking at the camera,” once they’ve warmed the place up a bit and gotten everyone used to seeing guys in female costume and eye makeup. They dance up a storm in those pieces, and by the time you’re done watching them, you’re just clapping like mad for an incredibly talented dance company instead of comedy-guys-in-drag-haw-haw.
He might enjoy some of those pieces where they don’t play it for laughs — because to be honest, while there are a lot of men who dance in a more athletic masculine style, that just doesn’t seem like your son’s cup of tea. Sure Gene Kelly danced athletically, and there are lots of straight male ballet dancers, but I highly doubt they wanted pink tutus and Barbies when they were a kid. It bugs me that everyone has to sail in and “reassure” you that just because he likes dancing, he’s not some “poofy fag.” He does frankly seem to be quite “poofy” indeed — and that’s perfectly fine.
There’s a lovely interview you can find online with Kevyn Aucoin, the late makeup artist (brilliant in his field and globally recognized), where he talks about falling in love with a pair of lime green penny loafers as a kid and how his mom bought them for him and he adored them to bits. And there’s no undermining “and he turned out perfectly normal!!!!!” at the end of his story, thank gawd. He turned out gay as a damned daisy, doing makeup for a living, and making a SHEDLOAD of money with a brilliant career working with some of the most famous women in the world.
So forget the timid reassurances that your son still might be normal. He might not be — and in a world where normal is just a synonym for “boring,” GOOD FOR HIM. RuPaul and Kevyn Aucoin weren’t normal either, and while it wasn’t easy for them, they learned to cut their own paths through the jungle of life and ended up with spectacular careers because of it, that would never have happened had they been “normal.” Screw normal.
What a great story! Knowing so many other kids in his situation are made to feel miserable makes it all the better to read about how deliriously happy C.J. is.
“There is room for discussion… but there isn’t room for negative judgment” is my new mantra.
Great post! Thank you for sharing!
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great writing….even better parenting!!! We all can learn something from this story! Can’t wait to hear more.
I love your post. You have a very big heart. And your son is so lucky to have you.
I can’t wait to read more on how it goes!
You are the definition of grace.
This was my favorite part: “He looked in the mirror and thought he looked perfect, like the dancer that lived in his soul.” Yes! I hope every living person has the chance to feel this way at some point. C.J. is a lucky kid, to have a parent patient and loving enough to allow him to get there at such an early age.
thats exactly what I was thinking! “dander that lived in his soul!” This really inspires me to let children be who they want to be and at the same time protect them from the cruel judgement of the world for just a little while longer. Maybe if more people read this like this there would be more protectors of kids being kids. 🙂
Interesting post. Just curious, just because your son loves tutus and dancing–does that necessarily mean he’s gay? I love that you are supporting him in what he wants to do, but I believe he could grow up & be a heterosexual dancer. Thoughts??
Possible that he will be straight but strong persistent (over years) cross gender stuff in biological boys is indeed strongly correlated with later homosexuality. Its great that parents are now getting on board and advocating for their children. And if he is straight – that would be great too. She is a great mom either way supporting her child.
Rooting for CJ! . . . What a wonderful parent you are! Thank you for sharing!
All that I can say is, “Wow!” So looking forward to reading more! Best of luck to you and your little one in all that you do! =)
You have put a huge smile on my face and a pep in my step today. I love the therapists advice: there’s room for discussion … but there isn’t room for negative judgment. So true, because there needs to be patience and openness on both sides for CJ to learn to find his way. I can’t wait to read what happens next. Now I find my 38-year old self wondering where I can get a purple tutu. Hmm …
I just want to express my admiration for your support of your son. No one is one thing or another and people who think only girls should like ballet (for instance) and boys should like football (for instance) are damaging all children, whether they are ‘typical,’ or not. Because one day, even the most average kid will like or enjoy something his/her friends do not and, if they don’t understand that people are unique individuals, won’t have the courage to be open about it. My son is very boyish — the kind of kid who makes guns out of anything he can get his hands on, pretends he’s Luke Skywalker, and loves rocket ships. But he also loves to dance around the house and is enrolled in a creative dance class. He loves to make up songs, and ooohs and aaahs over baby animals.
I wrote something about this (from a more general perspective) on my blog “Old Mom, Young Child,” in case anyone is interested: http://omyc.wordpress.com/2011/09/19/pink_balloon/
Thanks again for your piece and for being a strong, positive, supportive mom!
I love this post!!! Can’t wait to read more!!
I stumbled across your story and glad to have read it. You have a wonderful son. Let the girls laugh. But in dance sometimes they will need a male partner to dance with so the girls should be very happy to have him. 🙂
Wonderful story. But, it’s 2012 – it seems like a boy wanting to take dance, and being in a class with girls should not raise any eyebrows at all. But unfortunately, it seems it still does. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed.
Talks about children not gone forever. Where there are children there is the charm, there is a special attraction to the children themselves. Knowingly or not children can bring joy and pleasure.
Talents and skills children can already be seen in childhood childhood. Duty of parents to develop and deliver talent children so that children can improve their ability in accordance with the talents and abilities.
I wish my mom was like you. I told her that I was bi after we watched one of those wonderful episodes of Oprah. I know that’s a bit of a cliche, but I thought, “If I don’t do it now while she’s looking at such wonderful people, I’ll never get it out.” She said I could be curious and what not but when I hinted that I liked girls a lot, she freaked out in a subtle manner. Me with my eye for body language noticed this. I know that she may never accept me for who I am. She thinks this is a phase, but when I look back on my life, I notice how I never thought kissing a girl was wrong. I never thought boys doing “girly” things were wrong. I loved being one of the guys, making mud pies, climbing trees, and playing with worms. I love seeing people in love, whether they are gay, bi, trans, pan, and everything else under the sun. Once again, I wish my mom were like you. You make the world seem brighter. I’m glad to know that your son has you. CJ’s going to be great regardless of his sexual orientation. Who knows? Maybe one day, he’ll be up there on the big stage making his mother proud. I’m glad to have read this post.
Love from a Muffin that went too far.
i read this and was like theres someone else like me? a girl who loves mudpies and worms? whos mom doesn’t accept her?
You are an amazing mother and your boy is lucky to have you!
This was a great read. As a dancer myself for 15 years, from age 3 to college, I know just how C.J. felt! You are a great mother for loving him for who he is and not choosing to battle instead, which would be the course of so many others. Can’t wait to finish the story!
Love that this post came up on my daily wordpress palette! My son is twenty now, but he was a ten-year-old dancer himself. Julie Andrews and Michael Flatley were his early influences. He preferred Irish dance, and the fathers at the wrestling mats just couldn’t relate as my son pirouhetted and hopped about. My son spent one night at wrestling, and decided he’d rather be himself. Yay for CJ, and yay for you, Mom, for championing a child who dreams beyond the traditional!
How interesting! I wonder whether one day we will totally be able to divorce biological sex from gender identity, and I see this sort of thing as the first step.
“When it comes to shoes we know what we like.” – well, quite! Once upon a time it was considered insane that women could wear trousers so one day perhaps no payless sales assistant will raise her eyebrows at a boy buying sparkly shoes.
LOVE this post! Just linked over from Freshly Pressed and I’m really excited to follow along and read your blog now:) I lover your words and perspective and CJ sounds like such a fun little guy!
Excellent read! And good for you for being the strong mommy and not even shaking in your shoes for a moment when people throw you the slightest of judgement! We’re all proud of you!
I really hope more boys dance and don’t worry about what people say. Boys can be horrible to each other.
How wonderful to read this, a fabulous boy and his fabulous parents. LOVE does make the world so much better
this post made me happy, thank you. i’ll be looking forward to cj’s wonderful adventures from now on 🙂
wow!! Fantastic blog ( first time I am reading). I nearly cried when I saw that beautiful photo of him from behind in his tutu! I also love ‘gener nonconforming’ rather than just giving him the presumptive title of ‘gay’. Love and power to you and your family x
It’s amazing he wants to dance, go him 🙂
Your blog brings a tear of happiness to my eye. It is a beautiful thing to witness the awareness of a parent seeing his/her own child’s differences and yet striving to love and support them with unconditionality.
I’m not a mom. However, I was in ballet and tap and I grew up in that environment. There were not a lot of boys in ballet with me or the girls I was with. I hope you and C.J. have a good time in ballet and tap class because he deserves to have a good time.
What a lovely story! Keep writing. I think your story is one that needs to be heard. I hope your son loves his new dance class!
You are exactly the parent I wish all kids had, myself included.
You manage not only to accept your child’s decisions, but also to motivate other parents to do so with their kids. And that’s what gives you the absolute right to be called a mother.
Because being called a mother or a father, is a title to be earned.
Keep doing what your instinct says. Trust it. It says great things.
This is a fantastic blog! I was a ballet dancer when I was younger but I didn’t have such open-minded parents. Will follow you for more of your “adventures”.
I saw this on FP and this story touched my heart. Thank you so much for sharing! I followed you, if it’s okay 🙂
This made me so unbelievably happy when I read it, I cant wait to hear the rest of the story.
You go mom! Look at all your followers! Im hoping our kids will someday be able to be themselves openly.
Adorable. I could have said some of those things as a kid myself. If only my mum and dad had been as supportive and understanding as you are. it’s been more than 30 years and they still can’t get used it a gay son(or two).
I am the mother of a 10 year old “C.J.”. Your blog is touching and you are so refreshing! I wish the world was full of parents like you. My son and I have chartered these waters and still are. It is not easy but you are steering your ship well! At the end of everyday, whether it was good or bad, I ask my son the same question, “do you love who you are?” And his answer is always the same… Yes! Thanks for sharing your life with me! Can’t wait to hear more!
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It’s funny, we’ve had rather the opposite worries with our 4-yr-old daughter, ever since she picked up the “pink is for girls, blue is for boys” stuff from daycare. It’s not that we wish she’s gender non-conforming per se, or lesbian or trans, etc. (We’re a poly family with a hetero mother and 2 bisexual dads.) It’s just that we don’t want her to be TOO conformist about anything, but especially with the gender brainwashing. We constantly remind her “it’s okay if boys like pink, or girls like trucks…everybody’s different and that’s a good thing…” etc., or when she raves about pink, I often respond, “I like pink, but I like all the colors, the whole rainbow.” I think she has absorbed all that and is becoming open-minded.
We felt an odd feeling of relief recently: she asked for some Spider Man pajamas, and they’re one of her favorites now; she runs around the house mashing up Spider Man with Kung Fu Panda moves on the evenings she wears those. Kung Fu Spider Boo, we call her. Dressing up as princesses or fashion designers still dominates her imagination, but we’re comforted that she’s developed a fuller range lately. She says the boys in daycare don’t think girls should be Spider Man, but she doesn’t seem to care – another huge relief!
Thanks for your blog and the opportunity to share!
Thanks for sharing your story! You are a great parent!
You are such a strong and wonderful women for raising your child gender neutral. It reminds me of the story of Baby X and everything thing the parents had to go through with society and social stigmas. You post is beautiful and moving so stay strong to your beliefs and your child sounds like such a beautiful and refreshing soul in such an uptight world.
Every dancer needs a tutu ( I still have my first one from 19 years ago), so from one dancer to another you keep rocking that tutu no matter what!
Bless his little heart and yours! I was at a football game recently (my gay niece 😉 is in the band) and I was amazed to see four guys on the dance team! They owned it and I could see one of the boy’s families cheering him on..they were proud….so go out there and own it!
Wow, I love this story, it really tugged at my heart, and good for you for doing what your child needed you to!! What’s better than seeing your child be so excited about something that they LOVE, no matter what it is? Too bad we are so gender-stereotyped in this country. There are millions of amazing male dancers, they all start somewhere!!! Enjoy every minute of him loving his activity!! Can’t wait to read the rest.
I can’t wait to find out how he liked the class!! Please continue the story when you can!
In the meantime, here is one of my fave all time dance scenes from a movie. For your ‘Fred Astaire in training’…
I can’t wait to find out how he liked the class!! Please continue the story when you can!
In the meantime, here is one of my fave all time dance scenes from a movie. For your ‘star in training’…
You make it right Mom. C J, you; I’m glad both of you are around. Mama, “Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, weep and you weep alone.”
I am utterly enchanted with your blog, your son, and your persona. All works of art in their entirety. I deeply admire your strength, resolve, and love for your wondrous little boy. I hope both of you never faces hardships in life. It would be heinously unfair. The way you and your child operate is simply excellent. He’s a child, a free soul, a little angel. Letting him fly is the thing to do. Even more so with such a great mother looking after his wings.
So many people have commented, you may not even see this! My son is not yet 3, and I don’t think he’s gender nonconforming… but he’s pretty, likes his long hair, and has been trying to join his sister’s dance class since he could walk. He’s having some trouble now because it’s his first separation from me and I think he’s not quite ready. But he still loves dancing of every sort, and when he isn’t dancing he’s singing. I think it’s so important that parents support what their children are interested in and let them be who they want to be. I know it can take a lot out of you. I hope you continue to get support here, and I hope it helps you as much as I’m sure it will help many other moms in need of understanding.
This is, by far, the best thing that I’ve read on here in ages.
Parenting? You’re doing it right! 😀
i love this! i want to read more! and who doesn’t love to shake their tailfeathers every now and again. everybody should dance!
This gives me hope. As a boy I wanted nothing more than to go to ballet classes. There was a ballet school just up the road from where we lived and I used to peep in through the window. It was unthinkable for boys to join the class back then. So yes, it gives me hope that a boy will grow up knowing that he was allowed and encouraged to follow his heart. You’re a special person 🙂
LOVE this post!! You are an amazing mom!! 😀
Curious, how did C.J.’s Dad feel about the tutu? He is a little boy and little boys like to dress up too. I noticed that you think he is possibly gay. How would you know at his age? There is nothing wrong with being gay so long as it is his choice. This would be nice if it was fiction, but postings last a long time. Will he be embarrassed when he is older if he is not gay, or just would have hoped this was private? Dancing is great exercise and while teenage boys may ridicule it, it is not the same as wearing a tutu. He will survive possible future teasing, but when it comes to publishing things about your kids, I would disappoint the audience and self-edit for the child’s benefit. I echo comments that you write well and I am sure you are well intentioned.
Why do you think she’s writing anonymously?
He’ll survive possible future teasing only if he knows that his mom has his back and thinks he’s fantastic just the way he is, no matter what.
I completely agree. I think that through her open-minded child-rearing philosophy, C.J.’s mom is grooming him to not be embarrassed, but empowered by the things she has written about him. Also, even if people were to find out that this blog is about him, I think that all of the positive comments that have come up because of this story are more than enough for C.J. to realize that the number of people who are on his side are far more than the number of people in front of whom he may feel embarrassed. Kudos to you C.J.’s mom, I think you’re doing a wonderful thing by letting him be who he wants to be.
Also, most people would say that he IS gay. I think it takes a very conscientious person to realize that at this age this is only a possibility. I think it is important to make this clear that until C.J. identifies as gay himself that he not be labeled as such. While I do not believe that homosexuality is a choice, coming out definitely is. Kudos.
She’s trying to make the world a better place for all boys like CJ. Parents are tired of being told to hide our children. Are you really concerned about CJ or you just really don’t want to know that some boys like girl things like dancing and ballet?
I know you’ve already got a lot of support on this, but I would like to add mine. I think that this post (and you) are fabulous. I am a girl, and I am a dancer, and I would love to see more little boys being supported in dreams like that. 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing.
This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing.
What a beautiful story! Best of luck to CJ with the dance lessons!!
Can’t wait to find out if he enjoyed the class!!!
Children should not be stereotyped and should be allowed to find their own way in life, my youngest does street dance, Irish dancing, is a complete drama queen who adores dressing up but she also plays and loves football. I encourage her (and my other children) to try whatever appeals regardless of whether it is meant to be for boys or girls, how can they work out who they are meant to be if we insist on labelling them and their activities?
Sounds like you and CJ have a similar philosophy to me. 🙂
As a transgender individual who is just beginning to live my life comfortably in the gender of my choosing, I just want to say thanks for being a parent who is open minded enough to allow your child to confidently traverse the boundaries of gender and to stand by him when the world wants him to remain all boxed up. Most LGBT children are so alone and must wait to experience the joy of living their true gender until adulthood – if they ever get to.
I am not looking to stir any pots, but I’d like to personally attest that some 4-year-olds are most certainly are aware of gender. From my own experience, when you are “different” as a small child, this burden is VERY obvious to you, even if you have no idea how to articulate or don’t have a safe space to do so. I have been conscious of my gender identity since I have memory, and finally am able to express that as a young adult. I have also become aware that the marketing children are exposed to is extremely gendered, and our society is increasingly punishing EVERYONE for not fitting a certain “mold.”
Thanks again, Rainbow mom!
-Rae of http://soimmadudenow.wordpress.com and http://7000peopleproject.org
Good story. Good blog. Funny thing is I know a worker at my place who first knew her little brother was gay when he was ten and was singing and dancing to Madonna and Samantha Fox songs, out loud!
Hej from Sweden!
Wow what a special little boy you have! But, you already know that. What I am not sure he knows is, what a special mommy he has! He will know as he gets older. Lucky little fellow.
Loved this post ! As a former ballet dancer, I wish CJ the best of luck with his dancing and anything else he decides he would like to try in his life!
Thank you for sharing!!
You and CJ may enjoy my blog: http://gullringstorpgoatsblog.wordpress.com
I am a mommy to an adult daughter and I am a goat mommy!
Hehe I laughed at CJ wanting to wear ALL the ballet shoes 🙂
Your writing style is absolutely wonderful. And C.J. sounds like the luckiest kid in the world to have someone as understanding and supportive as you are for a parent. Fantastic post.
As parents, our role is to provide love and support (among other things) to our children, you are a great example to follow. Your children are so lucky to have you as their mom. Congratulations on being freshly pressed!
after long time I loved to read some blog with lot of respect for the writer though i do not know you as a person…you are a wonderful mother…CJ is lucky to get a mother like this…:)
Yeah, I really don’t know how a four year old really understands gender? I mean, that’s cool that you are encouraging him to do what he wants to do, but it still seems strange that a four year old should be labeled like that. Still, that is great that you are letting him pursue many different activities to find his dreams rather than forcing him into football like a lot of boys’ parents do.
As the parent of a four year old girl and a three year old boy, I can firmly attest to the fact that they understand gender norms and have a gender identity–in fact, it has been my experience as a parent, that this is the age where they figure it out (and the start of where parents can do incredible damage). Both of my children are very much typical of their gender without being “forced” (or even encouraged at least by us, their parents) to conform to that stereotype. For the most part, my daughter prefers “girl” things, and my son prefers “boy” things–with the exception of my daughter preferring to have short hair and my son preferring to have painted nails. Kids at this age are perfectly aware of themselves enough to know when they are different from others around them–the real difference between us and them, is that most of them have’t been programmed to condemn those differences yet or they haven’t yet been shamed into hiding themeselves. But even then, my four year old daughter has been asked by her four year old peers “Why do you have boy hair?” as if was an insult…
Lol, I LOVE the way you write! I’d love to roll around a field of grass of Urban Outfitters and live in “soft focus”. Awesome blog! I subscribed! 🙂
My son is a dancer, too — really. He went away to study ballet at age 11 (National Ballet School of Canada), and is now a 22-year-old dancer with Les Ballets de Monte Carlo in Monaco. I know exactly what you’re going through with the pinked-up world of ballet. I wrote a book about the journey several yeasr ago — it’s called Another “Pointe” of View: The Life & times of a Ballet Mom. Anyone interested can pick it up on Amazon etc. I look forward to the continuatin of yoru story.
I have a kindred spirit in my 6 year old son. His favorite color is pink, he sleeps with “baby” a girl baby doll and just bought a sequined gold purse note pad. I was just today thinking about forking out the $ for gymnastics class and was envisioning much of the same conversation. I don’t think he will want to be in the boy class… I won’t even begin to start about a place for him in Boy Scouts. Happy Coincidence reading your blog today!
Your son is really lucky to have a mom like you who supports him so much. You should write a parenting book for the rest of the world.
his outfit sounds awesome – especially the fake stitching on the leggings. I have this image of a zombie ballerina. Hopefully the kids (girls can be mean!) lighten up and all sort things out so that he can enjoy his first dance class experience.
Thank you for sharing your story with us – it is a such a great one! I hope that one day CJ can understand what a wonderful thing you are doing for him by letting him be who he is. I love that you say you are not labeling him for the future but just letting him be who he is today. My son has had times where I have secretly questioned myself, but I just let him go and ask others not to make a fuss over certain things. I think it has helped him grow into a well-rounded young man. 🙂 Kudos to you!!
awwwe way too cute! love this little story
Wow. I’m surprised your aticle didn’t mention Billy Elliot, but a lot of posters here did. best of luck with your son.
What a treat to hear your story. Great writing. I love your zest and am borrowing it.
CJ sounds very cute and I hope he has a great joyous life ahead of him. 🙂
Love, love, love this. Thanks for sharing.
It’s lovely that you’re supportive of him — the most extraordinary adults were always coloring outside the lines as kids, and if he’s going to be running into a lot of hostility in his life for doing so, the most important foundation he can have is a mother who loves him without hesitation and supports him.
My all-boy seven-year-old has to do death defying feats every week which scare me to death. Think I would rather have him in tap class but he is not interested. Kids are who they are and as parents we have to figure out how to support them in ways they need it. Congrats for getting there.
Hi C.J.’s Mom:
Congratulations on being such an AMAZING Mom who is so proud of her sons just the way they are! … Oh that all people could have as wonderful a Mom as you.
I wrote a post entitled “Are you proud of YOU?” that you might find interesting.
Blessings to you and your wonderful family!
I love love love this. As a gay man, I really think this is amazing that you are letting him be who he wants to be. I really hope this inspires many in the hopes of letting someone be who they want, and not to judge. He is very lucky to have a parent like you.
I love this post. Looking forward to the next intstallment! Blessings on you both.
Love this post. God’s blessings upon you both. Can’t wait for the next installment!
I’m so happy to read this. I am glad that your son has a mother who loves him and supports him in his decision making processes. I’ve know parents of teens who never get that concept! Go mom!
That is truly amazing,you always hear about how boys are ment to grow up and do men things and girls girl things,this just shows that boys can do girl things and not feel silly for it were all equal i think :).
I mean i hear sometimes that fathers and mothers say to there little boys that they have to play with trucks and cars and if he wants to play say for instins a barbie doll the father would not approve makes him less of a boy but times are changing and its good to read this 🙂
This sounds crazy to me:( My son, who is 9, has been taking ballet, tap, and modern dance on and off since he was ~4. He’s been at 3 different places in MI and MA. He is often the only boy in the class, but not always. Never once have classes been designated as “girl only”. I have noticed that there are often “boy ballet” classes for older, more serious students.
Sorry about your experience and so glad that you made sure he got into the class. And, you may want to consider heading to a different place where they accept and encourage boys to dance.
First, congrats on being Freshly Pressed… which is how I found you. I look forward to reading more about your fabulous son and the fabulous way you are letting him be himself.
Breathtaking! I look forward to hearing more 🙂
This story made me smile. I’ve spent the last 20 years of my life in a dance studio and so admire C.J’s passion and bravery! I wish the both of you a wonderful time dancing! 🙂
Too bad for all those narrow-minded people. We should all ‘own it’. Wear what makes us happy & do what makes us feel like we’re flying.
I want to meet Ms. Milk-n-Honey. Haha… no seriously, great story and you have a funny wit.
Beautifully written post. I have been a dancer all my life, and we love the boys. ALL of them. I hope CJ has the best time ever with his tutu and pink ballet shoes. Those girls are lucky to have him.
I have to follow your blogg! You are such an amazing mother, and your son is so awsome. Thank you for being such a supporting a mother, and sharing your stories with us.
He is so going to grow up confident and strong.
You are an amazing Mom with a delightful gift as shown in your blog.
Thankx for sharing your life with us…..
I am literally in tears reading this. What an amazing parent to allow your child to be who he is and forge his own path! As a gender non-conforming adult with 3 children of my own, I don’t know what my life may have been like had my parents allowed me to be who I was at that young age. Kudos!! I look forward to reading more on your amazing munchkin!
Great post, great writing, and it seems like some kick-ass parenting!
I love the description of the front-desk woman, sympathetically tilting her head and sticking her lip out…
Amazing, truly amazing. Thank you for being you, being real and creating positive change in the world. You will leave a legacy indeed.
A gender nonconforming 4 year old? Is it even possible to conform to gender stereotypes (on your own, I mean — minus parental influence) when you’re only 4? My hubby took dance lessons at that age. He also scooted around the floor pretending to be a garbage truck. I danced, too, although I was a horrible dancer and dropped out quickly. I played with toy vehicles and soldiers right alongside my Barbie Dreamhouse. I don’t really think most 4-year-olds are particularly aware of gender roles. Left to their own devices, aren’t most non-school-aged kids generally blank slates when it comes to the idea of gender?
By the way, I love your description of his mismatched dance outfit and his excitement over the box of shoes.
One of the finest blog posts I have read in an age and congratulations on raising such a spectacular child 🙂
What a heart-warming story. Well done to the both of you for doing what you wanted. A lesson for everyone!!
Awesome writing style!
Once – just once – I would like to sit down, coffee in hand, to read the latest Rainbow posting and not end up in tears, memories flooding back, along with the urge to reach through my laptop and hold this precious boy and his in-freaking-credible family in my arms for as long as they are on this earth.
Thank you. Again. And Again.
This is such a wonderful story and blog. I am going to share the link with “Neighbors For Equality” in North Carolina http://www.neighborsforequality.org/
Thank you for your effort in educating, loving, and caring. ♥
You and CJ are awesome! I wish you both the best with the dance lessons, and I can’t wait to hear about the rest of your adventures!!!
this is nice post. you are great. waiting for the next post.
CJ got the perfect mom for him. How lucky is that!
He sounds adorable! So glad this was on the front page today xx
very good activity for you son. Iam proud with you. you are the best parent
It’s not easy to swim upstream against the current of gender conformity in our society. Kudos to you, C.J.’s Mom, for your sassy strength and determination to allow your child to express his true self.
CJ is so lucky have a mum like you. I really enjoyed reading your article. If there were more caring mums like you, a lot more children would grow up feeling loved, secure and happy with who they were.
your work was a roller coaster ride 🙂
awaiting to read more 🙂
You are the most awesome parent I know. Just by reading this post, take care of you and your family, and your wonderful son! I hope he’ll enjoy dancing!
What a beautiful story!
Wow, what a wonderful story of an obviously amazing child and his amazing parent! Thank you so, so, so much for letting your kid be who he is and become who wants to be, and for sharing parts of it with us. You just won a subscriber and both you and your son won a huge fan.
The paragraph about the therapist has also been very inspiring to me, and I will use it as a reminder to handle my own nonconformity (among other things, I’m a queer femme with a transgender butch/transman partner). Thanks for sharing that, too. I’m very happy to hear there are therapists who give such great advice!
Amazing post! Your son is truly lucky to have such a stong, brave and open minded mom! There should be more mothers out there like you! Can’t wait to read more! 🙂
It’s inspiring to read such a story. You show great strength in going out and being proud of who your son is. It’s admirable and brings tears to my eyes.
With a mother like you to support him, C.J will be a fine young adult and grow to change the lives of several different people.
Thank-you for sharing such a beautiful story.
Lovely post. Everyone should have a mother like you – there should be a law passed to say so and you should get yourself patented.
I really enjoyed your son’s story cause i’m a dancer and i understand what it means love dancing more than everything.
In my dance class there are only two guys (we’re almost 20 now) and we (girls) just love dancing with them.
Uh, I almost forgot to tell you that both of my teachers are mens and they are so damn good!
However, i wish that your son keep on this way and become a great dancer one day.
(I’m sorry for my bad english -I’m italian)
I’m 67, a gay man. (But I’m genderconforming – we all have our faults). You can’t be having an easy time, although you make it seem easy. C.J. is blessed to have a mom like you. Thank you for sharing this. So many people will benefit from your wisdom. Thank you thank you thank you.
I love your blog. ONE THOUSAND CHEERS to you for being so open and wonderful and supportive of your amazing son. If only all children could be as supported, affirmed, and wonderfully encouraged as your son is. I can’t say it enough; I absolutely love this blog. Makes me so happy to see that there are still such kind and tolerant people as yourself left in the world! By the way, although you probably already know about this, I just thought that you might be interested in the film titled Ma Vie En Rose (My Life in Pink). It is about a little French boy who is very similar to your son, and about the trials and tribulations that he and his family go through in his quest to be accepted by society and by the world around him for who he really is.
Here are the links to more information about this movie:
And here is the movie on YouTube:
My daughter goes to ballet/tap and modern classes and in all 3 of them she has over the years had boys in her class. She has really commented on it apart from the other day when she said to me… Mummy, is there any type of dancing that is JUST for girls. I had a think for a moment and then replied with a firm… No, dancing is for everyone, no matter who or what you are…. Her reply… “I thought so”, pleased me a great deal. Good for you for encouraging to do the things he wants to do no matter whether they are gender norm or not.
I love that you exist.
I wish all parents are like you! I hope CJ likes his class!!!
I love your story and what a lovely son you have! He’s fortunate to have such a great mother 😉
Greetings from Holland,
You’re a beautiful writer as colourful as your little rainbow.
I’m glad to have taken the time to read your blog and I do await to read more.
Cool story. I like it when kids think outside of the box.
Oklahoma City Locksmith
Fantastic read. I’m reminded of a 5-year-old boy who joined my beginners ballet class which consisted only of girls at the time. None of the other students found it strange that a little boy wanted to dance (and yes, wear tutus), but the boy’s older brother and cousins bullied him for it until he eventually quit. But his love for dance is unshakable and I hear he’ll be returning to our ballet classes this summer.
I’m definitely waiting to read more… It’s a beautiful story. I wish I have parents like you who would encourage me to go do what I most desire. CJ is a very lucky boy.
Oh, love the part about the centipede 🙂
You are amazing, and CJ is amazing. Both of you renew my energy in continuing my volunteer work as a children’s rights and LGBT rights supporter and my side passion as a dancer. You are a gift to the world. Don’t lose your brilliance ever please.
He is lucky to have you! Yeay for being the change we want in the world.
Pingback: Wish #207 | wishfulthinkerdotnet
That you actually know what your son loves at that age is refreshing. CJ will if you go on in that manner be a dancer even wild animals will love to watch dance
Sorry, one more link. I missed this one earlier, and it’s about ballet specifically:
Mark – http://borngaybornthisway.blogspot.com/2011/02/mark.html
This is really a great story, and i hope everything works out for your son. It is sad how people react to others. A little open mindedness goes a long way.
Love this blog and this post!
I’m quite sure I’m in love with CJ.
1) I absolutely love this blog.
2) I have been a dancer my entire life and I’ve always had boys in the same class as me. I’m not sure what kind of studio wouldn’t? Whether they’re gay, straight, bisexual, trisexual… when it comes down it it’s just a place where girls and boys share the same passion.
3) Your son is my hero.
i cant agree more
This is wonderful! You are doing more than just parenting; but raising an individual to love himself to his core, and helping to end gender descrimination in the world starting with your child. I will definitely be comming back to read more about the two of you, and your adventures!
“If only he were a centipede” LO-frickin L!!!!!!
You’re the best mom ever! CJ is one lucky nonconforming gender kid. Yay!
That is wonderful. Your blog is beautiful. I am happy for any child who is not afraid to be his or herself. My one-year-old son is full of personality. He likes to spin in circles. That is as close to dancing as he gets, but he laughs and giggles. Happiness should be the first part of a child’s personality, and hopefully, no one ever takes it away from them.
I think it sounds like fun! Boy ballet dancers are awesome! We need them to lift the girls! LOL At 4 years old a child really often does whatever there parents allow and encourage. They seek your approval and guidance. I hope and pray that as he grows you are able to show him and teach him about the man that he was obviously born to be! God bless you and good luck!
It absolutely made my day to read this. If only all of us could be so lucky as to have a mother like you =)
My brothers used to take jazz classes as pre-teens. My sister and I used to take ballet, tap, and jazz. My parents were very supportive and encouraging (it was actually cheaper for us all to participate in classes). You are an amazing parent, letting your son be who he wants to be even at a young age. It will help him grow into a person who believes he can achieve anything and will fight to do so.
I HAD to read this post, as a dancer myself. Some of the dancers I am most inspired by are guys…I applaud you for embracing CJ’s individuality and letting him shine. May those around him always be as supporting and loving as you 🙂 Dance on, CJ!
I agree…Gene Kelly is my absolute favourite dancer and choreographer. CJ may enjoy watching some of Gene’s movies to see a man’s take on dancing as a contrast to the female style of dancing. He may still prefer to dance in the style typical of female (I mean the costumes are WAY better for females than males!)
I can’t believe we have to wait to find out how CJ liked his dance class…this is cruel!
When my oldest daughter was in school she wanted to play on the football team but was not allowed to because she was a girl and there was only a football team for boys (as is the norm in most schools). Im glad that your dance school allowed your son to join the girls’ dance class since they had no class for boys. Its horrible when children are discouraged or even forbidden from participating in activities they are passionate about just because they are perceived as being the wrong gender for that activity.
Its always good to hear about parents who accept there children and allow them to grow and be happy and healthy no matter form of gender or sexual identity they develope. All parents should be like that.
having his wonderful mum, CJ is a lucky child.
I love you. You’re amazing.
First, congrats on being Freshly Pressed.
and yay to loving and supporting your son this way. I too have a non-conforming son, though he does enjoy having a penis (he says with a fast grin)…he also loves Princesses, and dancing. He is nearly 8 and has been doing tap and ballet (this is his third year). He just added jazz a few weeks ago when a class opened up.
His teacher is fabulous. She is kind and generous…and he is idolized by all the wee girls in his class. He is the only boy in this group.
He is creative and effeminate and loving and is loved by people of either gender. Your story made me smile and nod…and i am praying that your CJ (my son goes by initials, too, KC)…gets all the support here that my son has experienced.
you are such an AMAZING mom! I am enjoying what you wrote so far, and wow..just wow 🙂
This is adorable and inspirational! Go C.J.! I really love how you embrace who your son is unlike so many who try to stifle the least little bit of ‘girlish’ behavior. Thanks for your beautiful blog and congrats on freshly pressed!
CJ sounds like a great kid, and you are undoubtedly a great mom — and a damn fine humourist, as well. You just got yourself a new follower!
First and foremost, let me compliment you on being a great parent and taking care of your child. Society often frowns upon those who don’t fit in, and too often it seems that parents either try to hide their children’s differences or punish them in an attempt to conform. I absolutely delighted in reading your post, and really applaud the support you are showing your child.
Secondly, can I just flashback to my own childhood and tell you how absolutely annoyed I get when people assume that only boys can do something, or that only girls will be interested in something. In the modern world, with traditional gender roles falling by the wayside in so many aspects of life, it is a sad state of affairs that you even had to go through that with enrolling your son in that class.
Last, but not least, love the description of the teacher! Made me LOL. Keep up the great writing, and continue being a fantastic parent. Best wishes to you and yours.
Massive kudos to you for encouraging your son to be who he is, whatever that may be. He sounds wonderful. Very best of luck with the dance classes!
this pagee is very good very nice…..!!!
When i was seven I wanted to enter a french conservatory of music and dance as a ballet dancer (or at least to learn ballet). My mum wouldn’t let me take the ballet lessons and ended up singing in a children Choir. It was fantastic to sing in Cathedral and Churches, but i’ve always resented my mother for not letting me take these ballet lessons. I always thought that I missed a career there. CJ is lucky indeed.
CJ is a lucky kid! Can’t wait to read more.
This is awesome and it made my day. Go, CJ! I was a dancer for years and it never crossed my mind that having a male dancer in our group was the least bit weird. Those other kids just need a bit of diversity in their lives, and that is exactly what CJ is going to bring them. He sounds like an amazing child and I’m sure that because of his wonderful personality, he will be accepted into the group without giggles in no time. (I was also going to bring up Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gregory Hines [my idols], but I see that another commenter already did.) I hope CJ has a grand time in his new dance class!
You have NO IDEA how much this story mimics my step-son’s right now. He is a pink, sparkly dress wearing boy who is ALWAYS mistaken for a girl (longish blonde hair) and currently loves theater, musicals and dance. He has completed and entire ballet dance class (loved it) and just tonight went to 4 different dance classes to see which ones he wanted to take. The classes around us are very welcoming to boys, specifically because how in demand they are further down the line. They even discounted his sessions! Regardless, this blog is now bookmarked and I look forward to sharing mirrored stories. Also, I think my step-so has those skull socks/leg warmers too!
Oh. My. God. That is the BEST purple tutu! And I love the pirate socks too. I agree, CJ is one lucky kid.
There will be no pot of gold at the end because its already here…..and you’ve so generously shared it among us! I’m going to sleep now, considerably richer than when I woke up this morning. Thank you!
Reading this warmed my heart. Seriously, props, mama!
Interesting and compassionate post. If only more gender nonconforming children had a parent like you, the world would experience less suffering.
I loved it!!!!!
Savion Glover was a fantastic tap dancer and Patrick Swayze’s background in ballet made him a shoe-in for his role in Dirty Dancing. So, go CJ go!
Your son is pretty much the bomb. He will be such a good friend to whomever he chooses to be friends with. You can tell a non-judgmental person a mile away. It pays to be unique!
CJ….you’re my hero…I want to wear girl’s shoes but it’s really hard to find one’s that fit and even if they do they don’t look right cause I have size 11 men’s feet (life is cruel) so I wear narrow Italian loafers if I can find them in the trash…which I did…I live in Boston…it all makes sense…trust me…then “stop making sense” after you start trusting me…ok…?
Anyway, I’m into bra and panties and stuff and have lots of nice stuff that I like to wear at home…being a girl is just the yummiest possible thing…next to loving one…it’s pretty close…I’m a dancer too but people laugh at me for different reasons…but now I have a hero…I’d rather be a girl…definitely…I think you’re very courageous AND CORRECT…cause trust me….girls are where it’s at…they know EVERYTHING!!! I’m not capable of understanding what that means but I know it’s true for a fact….it’s weird….
This is one of the most touching stories ever, and you are not only an excellent mother but an excellent writer as well! I only wish more parents raised their children like you can you just imagine a world with no hate. Thank you
Your son reminds me of my cousin who ended up going to The Royal Ballet school here in London at the age 12 and then becoming one of the principal dancers with The Royal Ballet. When he started out he was often the only boy in his class until he gained a place at The Royal Ballet school and met a number of other boys who liked ballet. All very ‘Billy Elliot’! Check out the film if u haven’t seen it – I think you’ll like it. Oh btw he is now married and has two lovely kids. He’s just never been into football or rugby ;o)
Your son sounds like this dance teacher’s dream, and you sound like one of the best moms on the planet. I look forward to reading your further adventures!!!!
I have an image of a guy that I knew in my high school for the arts 30 years ago who was hilarious, kind outrageous and confident in his unconfirmed sexuality and gender identity.I loved spending time with this boy and I envied him his confidence to fully be who he was. I often wondered what kind of amazing parents he must have had that helped him to be so confident. Now I know…
Thanks for sharing this.
amazing! this will probably be turned into a movie sooner or later….. great job!!
Love it! 🙂
Your blog is amazing. Your son is amazing as well, and I love what your doing! I hope that when I get older and marry, that I can be just as amazing as you are.
As far as I am concerned you my dear are the model parent. Being a parent to me means loving your child as they are, whatever they are. Kudos to you for the courage to be a real parent to CJ, that’s one lucky kid 🙂
I hate tags of this sort, when done in a downward way, but this blog is different. The thought came to mind, “That we are all rainbows reflecting the Love of God for us all.” Lord, thank you for this day.
Love your story. Your son is lucky to have such an understanding and patient mother.
This is lovely! So cute! I can’t wait to read the rest of your blog.
Love this post! Can’t wait for more 🙂
great story. great kid. great mom.
Amazing and very inspirational! I like how accepting you are of your son and that you have done everything you can not to oppress his individuality. Putting it down to ‘gender nonconforming’ seems rather apt, and I hope that he loves dance and excels at it, no matter what the stereotypes demand!!
Such a sweet story! Your CJ must be a wonderful child! Kisses for him and congratulations for you! Your blog is amazing!!
Your story made me cry! It is so beautiful that you support your child this way. I wish everyone could have parents that are so loving and who understand that gender identity is a spectrum. Your child will grow up happy and confident and well adjusted. You are both brave for allowing your child to be themself.
I think I may have told you this before, but you are, genuinely, an amazing writer! You should seriously consider writing a novel or doing freelance work. I don’t remember; do you already work in writing?
That’s how superstars are made. Love your blog! Just subscribed! Can’t wait to find out how the dance class went…
What a beautiful post and lucky boy – to have a mother who accepts him for who he is and encourages his interests without judgment. As a former elementary school principal I had many parents who tried to change their kids’ inner wiring and agonized over gender issues. It’s so refreshing to find a mom who doesn’t!
My 13-year-old nephew is a ballet dancer. He’s been at The Rock School of Ballet for the last two years or so, and he just keeps moving up and up and up. He likes being a Pretty Boy and he likes glitter and being fabulous. He’s an awesome kid. Ballet has focused his (boundless) energy and made him have big goals to drive toward.
Best wishes for you and C. J.!
A pleasure to read, I do ballet and I was over joyed when a guy walked into the class a couple of weeks ago in a leotard, twinkle toes brings balance to the class as I am sure CJ does!
thank you for your story. I have a gay son who confirmed this when he was 15. I had always thought he was gay and he had a bit of a rainbow personality and loved wearing his sisters tutu, although when we took him to dance class he decided it really wasn’t for him.
He is now an amazingly gorgeous, happy and very geeky 18 year old who is one of my best friends and I absolutely love being his mum. He is very sure of who he is which makes me a little jealous lol 🙂
You sound like you are having a blast being CJ’s mum.
Good luck and I look forward to hearing more of your story.
Beautiful story and I must say that I admire you! I’m currently reading a book by Jodi Picoult; Sing You Home, that deals with people who judge and who doesn’t understand. Your entry made me think of the book… C.J. seem like a wonderful kid 🙂 and he deserves to be treated “normally” (whatever that is), he deserves to be treated just like anyone else. He’s a kid, so what if he’s a guy in a girl’s class? When I went to kindergarten, I always used to play with the boys, they were so much more fun to be with.
I wish you and C.J. all the best <3. Keep up the good writing.
I think I am in love with CJ. I can’t wait to read the rest. All my love.
Wonderful story! Best of success and happiness to CJ and you. Love the picture of CJ in the tutu.
What a joy to read of such a supportive mom for a child who just wants to be who he wants to be!
Beautiful story – and parenting – as always! I can’t wait to read the rest.
I just wanted to share some stories of boys (and one girl) who danced as youngsters, and how much it meant to them. They’re all different, but what they share is that they each knew they loved to dance (and HAD to dance). I hope you enjoy them!
xo Paul V.
Isaac – http://borngaybornthisway.blogspot.com/2011/03/isaac.html
Bailey – http://borngaybornthisway.blogspot.com/2011/01/bailey.html
Paul – http://borngaybornthisway.blogspot.com/2011/01/paul_17.html
Robbie – http://borngaybornthisway.blogspot.com/2011/01/robbie.html
Shannon – http://borngaybornthisway.blogspot.com/2011/01/shannon.html
Andrew – http://borngaybornthisway.blogspot.com/2011/01/andrew_26.html
Robert – http://borngaybornthisway.blogspot.com/2011/02/robert.html
Grant – http://borngaybornthisway.blogspot.com/2011/01/grant.html
Justin – http://borngaybornthisway.blogspot.com/2011/05/justin.html
Paulina – http://borngaybornthisway.blogspot.com/2011/01/paulina.html
Wow, sounds like C.J. is going to have a good time learning ballet! Maybe you could start him on figure skating, you know we need more male figure skaters 😉 I’m happy that he has such a supporting mum like you!
You are a hero. I am a 34 year old successful, educated, secure and happy gay man and I think you are a hero. Although I am not gender nonconforming, I identify with young CJ. He needs a mother like you because you do it so well. Keep doing what you are doing. CJ and so many others need it. WERK!
Most great ballet dancers were in fact male, what about the Nutcracker? I can’t believe people are so arrogant. May you and your family be blessed
I’m new to WordPress, but I’m glad I saw one of your posts on the Freshly Pressed portion of the site.
CJ is lucky to have a wonderful mom that will let him express his individuality. 🙂
You are an amazing parent.
This is a wonderful story that I look forward to reading more of. I have two girls in dance and have tried to talk my son into taking tap – how wonderful it would be for coordination and grace – but to no avail. I hope the girls stop giggling and the other moms get over themselves and start acting as if CJ is just another student in the class, as it should be.
I admire your love and dedication to your son.How awesome I hope he continues to grow and be happy
Beautiful way to stand up for your son. i was the opposite – stuck in a ballet classes until I insisted to my mother that I wanted to do martial arts instead. She, too, summoned her courage and held that door open for me.
A bit of a disconnection, though, in the purely physical description of the teacher. Nothing but superficial attention to her looks on your part. Something a bit more well-rounded might be useful to cultivate in yourself and pass on to your lovely son regarding women and their intelligence and aptitudes beyond just being objects of beauty.
Your son sounds fabulous and I applaud you for supporting his dream! This reminds of the movie “Billy Elliot.” He will rock those ballet slippers.
That’s great he likes dancing, tutus, whatever…@ age 4. Lots of boys experiment with games, toys, activities and clothing when they are young. And they should be allowed without adult concern unless it physically hurts someone.
So you figured out his sexual preferences? Seriously he’s a very young kid. No point, assigning a label right now in life.
It’s like saying a girl is a tomboy, likes sports with boys, etc…when later she might end up a fashionista.
CJ is lucky to have you! Let him grow how he chooses 🙂
This is amazing! As an educator, I love parents like you! 🙂
Congrats on getting Freshly Pressed!
This story is AWESOME! You are a wonderful parent, and i can’t wait to read more!
Absolutely loved this story – Looking forward to reading the rest of it! 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing this. 🙂 I can’t wait to read more!
I wish my parents had allowed me dance class when I was young. Then maybe I wouldn’t be all left feet on the dance floor! You are a true inspiration. Please don’t stop writing. I look forward to CJ’s stories about CJ with anticipation. Rock on!
Besides, being surrounded by girls you get to dance with? That (should be) a straight guy’s dream come true! It woud’ve been mine.
Thanks for being a non-conforming Mom!!
Congrats to you and CJ! I can’t wait to read the next part.
you are an amazing mom – so many people can learn from you
The best any mother can do is love, love, support, and love some more. Glad you are a source of love and confidence for your boy. All kids need that!
I love purple tutus 🙂
Love it! Love you already, eventhough I don’t know you from Adam and I love that you have the guts to love your son unapologetically. Kudos to you…a woman of character and a mom so rare!
P.S I hate that the story is incomplete. Will be waiting….
I can’t wait to hear the rest! What a place to stop, now I just want to know what comes next 🙂 Awesome post, by the way.
Thank you so much for sharing and it sounds to me like your son is just awesome. Way to go mom for letting him be whoever he wants to be.
I love this post! Wish you and CJ the best of luck. I will definetely follow your blog. 🙂
I LOVE when you can feel a writer.
Love your post! Freedom of expression is the spice of life!
It is truly evident that you love your son unconditionally.
We are all children at heart.
Peace and love,
What a wonderful son! You are so lucky to have eachother !!!
Excellent post. CJ is so lucky to have you as a mom. Can’t wait to hear how the rest of the class goes.
Do you know the children’s book “Oliver Button is a sissy?” by Tomie de Paola? It’s about a little boy who wants to learn to dance. Well worth reading. An oldie but goodie. Here’s a link that describes it with a few pages inside. Also connected with ways to overcome bullying that comes from wanting to different things. Might be worth sharing with CJ.
Your blog and your acceptance for your sons true personality is inspiring. I grew up as a dancer and I can tell you from first hand experience that if you enroll him in a studio, the girls will worship him. It will give him the chance to express himself and have a very close group of friends… especially if he is able to go through high school with them. If he ends up loving it, it could take him really far (Juilliard?!) and forever give him the opportunity to express himself. You are a wonderful mom!
I wish all parents were like this. I really do. Kudos to you, lady. CJ’s a lucky kid to have you watching his back.
wow, I really enjoyed reading this post. I think being a little off beat, a little different and not fitting into that cookie cutter mold is so terrific. Ever since I was little I was different very spunky and zany and funny, and the ultra orthodox all girls yeshiva elementary school i attended didn’t really approve….so I really admire that you are letting your son fully embrace his unique personality I think its wonderful:)
Regardless of the path CJ chooses or is drawn to in the long run, dance can help him out. For some reason the image of Kurt from Glee came to mind when you said tap, but Walter Payton (famous Chicago Bears player who studied ballet), Fred Astaire, etc. all benefited from dancing. I love this!
I agree, dance training is SO good for you and has a positive impact on many aspects of your life. Dancers (and musicians) often have an edge in their math studies. Dancing builds up your core strength which helps with balance and can help prevent injuries as you get older. I have an old dancing friend that credits her super-speedy and successful back surgery recovery to her years of dance training. Dance is also something you can continue to do your whole life. I still dance by being in musicals. I did a vigorous tap dancing show with a dancer who was 73 years old and she kept up with all of us young whipper snappers.
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Wonderful – looking forward to the rest of the story. Yay for you and for CJ and for C. and J. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed.
Great post, can’t wait for the rest of the story.
Aw! When I saw this post on the freshly pressed page I was so happy! I love this blog and it’s so heartwarming to read about an accepting parent who actually allows their kids to pursuit their dreams, gender conforming or nonconforming. Can’t wait for the next installment!
yes it’s not always easy being the only guy in the dance class 🙂
You and CJ are awesome. Just saying.
Wonderful, wonderful and even more wonderful! I take my hat off to you….loved this and will follow with interest!! He sounds a little corker!!
Brilliant post! Can’t wait to read more. I’m a very “out” lesbian who will now be following your blog! Hooray for you and CJ!
Thanks for this great post! Looking forward to reading more.
I applaud your concern for your son, but does a four-year-old really need therapy? CJ has a LOT of time left to grow up and make decisions regarding his sexuality. He seems perfectly normal to me – as do you – and I worry your therapist is applying pressure where none is needed.
CJ is a kid finding his way in the world, simple as that. Gay or straight?
Who cares right now!
Plenty of time for those questions waaaay down the road!
In the meantime, keep having fun you two!
This is a never-ending debate; however, your culture accepts such liberal and possibly life foreclosing issues and situations.
It goes to show that no matter what that you love your son. I know that there should be more male dancers, but knowing that you love your son matter what, touches me.
Loved this. I cant wait to read more.
ummm…as a male dancer, can i say, dancing isn’t effeminate? not even ballet is inherently effeminate. that’s kinda sexist. and a stereotype. it only promotes the stereotype that male dancers are gay, and i didn’t enjoy getting beat up and pushed around and made fun of all elem/middle/high school for it.
and also, as a male dancer, guys dance differently than girls, stylistically speaking. if CJ really wants to pursue dance, see if you can find a male teacher/tutor, or a class with more guys. seeing other guys dance will help him figure things out and develop his techinque. i don’t mean to sound insensitive or whatever, but gender matters in dance. male dancers are supposed to dance manly, even if in their personal life they are more effeminate. other wise it won’t look right. Guys are invaluable for their role’s in pas-de-deuxs, and it requires a certain level of bravado. hope this helps…
You mention CJ as being 4 years old = a little young for a ballet class and much to young for tap class.
It will be very good to have him in ballet class and have him working hard. Because there is no boys class available and no male teacher, I do hope his female teacher shall challenge him enough , giving him real male stuff. And who knows, he shall become a healthy male dancer with wife and kids, like there are so many. (Please be aware that not all male dancers are effeminate or gay, and that perhaps youngsters would have queries about it in their evolution, but grew out to be happy sportive family-men.)
From a retired dancer-choreographer-choreologist, who would do it all over again if he could (and even more intense), with a good wife and healthy kids
I am so grateful you were freshly pressed. Finally I found a blog that I can relate to in a parent kind of way. Your son is lucky.
Flashing back to 1991 in So. OC – my son (3 yrs. old) in ballet with a terrific older woman who said NOTHING about his presence in the class, yet chose Aladdin for the spring production. He was in his glory in harem pants, a satin purple vest and whipping that sword around like nobody’s business. I wish we could all come to CJ’s recital – mine went on to be in lots of plays and I love watching kids perform.
So wonderfully written… He’s lucky to have a wonderful mother and you are lucky to have such a wonderful son.. Can’t wait to read the rest of the story.. Congrats on freshly pressed ,btw ! 🙂
This story had me basking in the warm fuzzys, and I can’t wait to hear how it ends. Your son sounds delightful and I’m so glad that he has you for a mother. There is nothing in the world so wonderful as a parent who fights for their child, and celebrates who they are without judgment or a desire to change. Thank you so much for your post.
P.S. Have you seen Ma Vie En Rose? (1997) One of my favorites.
Your post made my day! What a gift you’re giving your son – I can’t wait to hear the rest.
I felt myself growing more and more excited for CJ as the story progressed … can’t wait for the next part!
I hope it was a wonderful experience. There is nothing more disappointing as a parent than to watch our children feel so much excitement — and then become let down based on the reality of a situation. But with CJ’s optimism and wonderful attitude, I’m hopeful for a happy ending.
Looking forward to part 2 and 3 and … Had a big smile on my face whilst reading. Many thanks
More boys should do ballet! There’s only one in my entire school, which means pas de deux classes are out of the question. I look forward to the day when we get some more.
I’m reminded of the scene in Billy Elliot when he’s teaching his friend to dance and his friend (Michael, is it? I don’t know, I can’t remember now) insists on wearing a tutu 🙂
My daughter went through the dance program with several boys. She switched to dance team as a junior in high school and is on CU’s Gold Rush dance team. Several of the boys are still dancing in ballet. Two of them, professionally.
You are such an amazing parent!!
he truly has a gift. it is so uncommon for boys to be blessed with the agility, flexibility and swiftness of a dancer. so graceful and truly a blessing.
Bravo to both of you! What a heartwarming post.
I follow your blog fairly closely, as I am a closeted lesbian (and gender variant) teacher. In college I spent a lot of time babysitting for one specific family since I was the only person they knew who supported their three gender variant children just as they would. I have since moved and they have been relocated through the air force. Reading about CJ brings them back to my heart, especially the ballet story. I loved taking the boy to his tap/ballet. He loved it more than the girls, and he would never take his tap shoes off.
I know that many of my colleagues and the parents of my students get frustrated because I refuse to enforce gender role in my elementary PE classes, but for the first time ever, girls were allowed and chose to play football, and we had a boy try out for cheerleader.
You are giving your son many more choices than he will ever need, and I wish I had a parent who had loved me like that.
Cannot wait to hear how it went? So excited for CJ!!
You’ve probably seen the movie, Billy Elliot. If not, do at first chance. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_Elliot You’ll find echos of CJ.
I… don’t even have words for how much this entry has warmed my heart. A big YAY for CJ being himself in his adorable lavender tutu. 😀
I probably should not assume, but have you (and maybe he) seen Billy Elliot?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CH8HV5gXQB4&feature=related (Still makes me cry)
Please tell me if there’s a problem with my being overly “analytical” and/or “sensitive.”
I do not like the term “flaunting it”. I think I’d prefer the term…indiscriminate. Flaunting is one of those “charged” words for me as a gay man. The sh*t that homophobes say when they speak of our “tolerance” provided we don’t “flaunt” makes the flesh inside my body crawl!
Also, have you considered what to say when/as someone says, “And what does that mean?”
Finally, favorite line “ALL OF THEM?!” LOL
Your blog makes me very aware that I do things by gender with my 2 girls and 1 boy. I am trying to let them choose, rather than steering them towards social norms. Today my 2yr old boy went out in his sisters pink trousers with lipstick on his mouth, all proudly chosen himself. Then he came home and played rugby on the lawn. Thank you for letting me feel like I can give my kids more freedom 🙂
Please don’t torture us by making us wait too long for the rest of this chapter! 🙂
One of many things that impresses me so much about you and your family, is that you are addressing CJ’s nonconformity in an area that is known for being socially/politically conservative. I recall about 15 years ago, when my 8-yr old nephew wanted to start dance lessions–tap, jazz, modern. He lived in a town near San Francisco. All of the classes were boys and girls together. That was “normal”. I remember thinking how glad I was that my nephew was being raised in that type of community.
” They were watching the new mom who just brought her son to an all-girls dance class, which has never seen a boy before. And, he was wearing a tutu and pink ballet shoes.”
And they looked down their noses at you.
Pardon me, but…
HOW DARE THEY!!!!!
You are so MANY multiples the parent they could ever hope to be!
You are there for your child.
They are there for…looking appropriate? They aren’t thinking about their children. They are thinking about how THEY look. About how THEY appear for their chosen group! YOU are there being a parent. The difference is obvious to me, and to you as well, I think.
Just don’t let these shallow bastards get to you. You have a brilliant and talented child, who has even more brilliant and talented parents. Never apologize for love. EVER!!
Has he seen Singing in the Rain yet?
Oh, this one had me tearing up! I love CJ’s passion for dancing! I grew up feeling the very same way about dance class, and new dance shoes, and costumes, and performing. I can remember my first dance class like it was yesterday, and I can remember feeling shy and out of place, even though I was just another one of the girls. I hope the girls and their mothers are kind to you both, and I hope CJ loves dance class as much as I did.
LOVE THIS! Can’t wait to hear how it went!
You’re probably the best mom C.J. could have asked for.
What a wonderful, new experience! I hope he likes it as much as he wants to. I am sure he will be friends with the class in no time. You are a wonderful and strong mama!
Sounds like that ballet class needs to watch some scenes from “White Nights” as a group. Not that Mikhail Baryshnikov or Gregory Hines wear anything particularly feminine, but they’d sure show those little girls that males can not only wear ballet and tap shoes, but dance the heck out of them.
I hope CJ has a great time in dance class!
OMG! I hate that you didn’t give the rest of the story!! I, however, love the advice of the therapist, and your take on it. CJ is one lucky gender nonconforming person.