12 Things Every Gender Nonconforming Child Wants You To Know

  • When most people are born, their sex (male or female based on their genitalia) and their gender (male or female based on their brain) are usually in total alignment.  Mine aren’t.  Get over it.  I was born this way.
  • If you are confused and can’t quite tell if I’m a boy or a girl, just know that I am a person, please treat me that way.
  • Sometimes I notice that my gender nonconformity makes you uncomfortable.  I’m not trying to make you uncomfortable; I’m trying to make myself comfortable.
  • My gender nonconformity is a way of expressing myself.  A way of being true to myself, true to the way my heart beats and my blood flows.  I allow you to express your gender your way without being bothered; I hope that you will allow me to do the same.
  • It’s silly when you think, say or feel that colors, clothes and/or toys are “only for girls” or “only for boys.” Colors, toys and clothes are for everybody — even though one particular item may be marketed only to one sex or gender.  Antiquated notions like dolls are only for girls have no reason to exist and I see them as pure nonsense.
  • Just because I’m gender nonconforming doesn’t mean that I’ll grow up to be LGBTQ.  It’s a strong predictor, but I’d rather you see me as a child and not an underage punch line to some homophobic  joke. That makes you gross.
  • It hurts my feelings when people point and laugh at because of my gender nonconformity.  I’m not weird, I’m just different.  I don’t need people pointing out my differences — especially people who are old enough to know better.
  • I don’t ask that you teach everyone around me about sex and gender and sexuality, but if you could teach them about empathy I would greatly appreciate it.  Treat others how you want to be treated, it’s that simple.
  • I don’t fit into a category or a box. I may not be easy to explain or understand, but if you approach me with an open heart and an open mind, I can guarantee that I will change your way of thinking.  It makes me sad when I learn that your mind and heart are closed.
  • Kids like me are the most likely to suffer from depression, addiction and bullying, practice unsafe sex and commit suicide.  Please refrain from making me hate myself because I am different.  My gender nonconformity should not be a thing of shame.
  • Bullies aren’t just at school, sometimes they are at home too. Home should be the place where I feel the most safe and the most loved.  If that is not the case.  Something is wrong and I need help.
  • If you see me doing something that defies “traditional gender norms,” don’t place blame on my parents or family.  Give them praise!  It means that they are awesome enough to understand that I need their love and support more than anything. Them forcing me to express a gender that I don’t exactly associate with or trying to “fix” me would do dangerous things to me. I don’t need them to tell me to “act like a lady” or “man up.”  I need them to tell me that I was perfectly created.  If everybody in the world were the same or “expected” this would be a very boring world.  People like me give the world color.

* * *

If you have something to add to the list, feel free to leave a comment below.  🙂

About raisingmyrainbow

RaisingMyRainbow.com is a blog about the adventures in raising a fabulous, gender creative son.
This entry was posted in All Posts, Main Site Header and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

120 Responses to 12 Things Every Gender Nonconforming Child Wants You To Know

  1. safikarim says:

    Very true. I call myself gender non-conforming because it’s the neatest label for me (a guy who’s conventionally “feminine”). Though really I think the idea of gender and what constitutes “feminine” and “masculine” is arbitrary anyway. Some clothes considered “feminine” now (tights, corsets, high heels, makeup) used to be considered “masculine” or gender-neutral, so what does it really mean to wear “girls’ clothes”?

    I just think of myself as a man because I have a male body and I’m happy with that, not necessarily because I have a male brain, because what does it even mean to have a male brain? There’s no singular way that a man thinks or specific interests that a man has. It could do good for people to put aside the idea that a person is a man or woman based on behavior or clothing or interests. And instead to recognize that any person can like or think or dress however this person wants, irrespective of being male or female

  2. KimAnne says:

    A friend posted one of your articles. What a delight! Thank you!

  3. Kelly says:

    What advice can you give me as I have a 13 year old daughter who wants to identify as a boy as she doesn’t identify with teenage girls much. This is hard for me to process as I am so proud of the beautiful daughter I gave birth to. Her dad and I divorced when she was only 9 months old and he has an older son from a previous relationship. He went on to have 2 have 2 more sons with his current girlfriend and has 2 other stepsons. All his kids live with him except my daughter. She is always saying if I were a boy maybe my dad would love me more and want to spend time with me. This just makes me cry everytime she says it. So I don’t know if she is just confused and wants her dads attention,affection and love so much that she would rather be a boy. Now let me backtrack for just a moment, I am her mother bo matter what and I will always love & accept her for whatever or whoever she wants to be. She is my child. The hardest part for me is she has changed her name in every aspect of life except legally from Jordyn to Riyn and that is where I think I am having the most difficulty. I am not homophobic or anything as my sister is a part of the LGBTQ community and has since married her wife. Just wanted some advice for a confused mother of such a beautiful, bright child who is the star of my life. How can I help both of us to navigate through this difficult time.

  4. Pingback: A Message to My Mother – Queer Haven

  5. Anita hankey says:

    I’ve just been googling as my daughter has dressed as a boy since the age of four when she started to have her own mind and opinions, she has very strong male mannerisms but likes her long hair which has to be perfect, Lilly to me is just Lilly, I love that she has her own mind and dresses in a way that makes her feel comfortable, she has always worn a boy’s uniform for school and everybody is excepting of this, as it’s all they’ve ever known. It’s only now as she’s due to start high school and start puberty that I’ve started to worry about other people’s perception, will this cause her anxiety, stress. I’m confused about what she actually feels inside, she says she’s ok being in a girls body, but on the outside would prefer not to look like a girl. She doesn’t show any signs of anxiety around it yet.
    Whatever her future holds, she’s my beautiful child, and has my full support

  6. Chuck Malzan says:

    Please understand and have empathy for parents too. They raised a girl (or boy) and now they have a man (or woman) It a loss. It’s hard. Very hard emotionally. Still love you so very very much. But miss you too. Please understand us too

    • Mr Malzan is right I’m such an emotinal wreck at this moment as my only daughter told me last month that her boyfriend of 6yrs has come out to want to change to a woman?
      I really could not wrap my head around it as he is adopted and does not know his biology? My beautiful daughter is all twisted & then tells me she is a (male) trapped in a bullfrog body & has been bullied & is so depressed that she wanted to take her life! I was floored & have been crying uncontrollably for weeks I had a baby girl ? As I did more research I see how this can be? It is not my fault,all babies are female before they mutate in the womb.She sent me a picture at Disney,as I looked at her I did not see her anymore just faintly.I knew she wasn’t herself I called a physc dr for her to talk to as she did not want to talk to me! I look back on her birth,I dressed her like a doll,little did I know the gyno problems already started at age 17mns ? She was tiny and had poly hemangioma extra skin cell growth & had her tonsils adnoids & shunts in her ears.She started to gain an excessive amount of weight as she got older she became heavier & heavier she started getting black rings around her neck,arm pitts and thought it was dirt to try to scrub it off ! I saw that she reclused as she developed & hated her body but had a great personality,as the years went by I took her to countless Dr’s for PCOS & diabeties.School was hard in middle & first year of high school,she was bullied bad 😦 went to college,graduated & at 23 she wants top surgery and hormone replacement. Until I watched a video on this I was so dumb founded but today I talked to my child & am glad she is in therapy & AM WILLING TO SUPPORT this all the way as I want my child to be happy as a person and not judged ? As for the rest of my family who knows but I had this child not them !!!

  7. Mom says:

    My sister in law just told me that my gender non-conforming son cannot be part of her wedding if he wears a kilt. Just wanted to get that out there…

  8. mdeeming.com says:

    Hello, this article was extremely interesting, especially because
    I was searching for thoughts on this issue last Monday.

  9. Taylor Morgan says:

    One strange trend I noticed, though… gender nonconformity is biased toward girls. That is, if a little girl likes sports and plays with Transformers robots it causes hardly any concern, but a little boy who likes the color pink and plays with Barbie dolls is often mocked and ridiculed. Really, society offers more leeway to boyish girls than to girly boys…

    • Trezz Vyper says:

      That’s so true Taylor. There’s lots of discrimination towards boys. For example, Girls can join Cubs and Scouts, but Boys are forbidden from joining the Girl Guides. The term “Boys”, has been eliminated from “Scouts”. But the term “Girls”, remains with “Guides”.

      I’ve seen a trend amoung teen boys and older, starting to paint their nails black. That’s labelled alternative. But change the colour to pink or red, and most people start freaking out, and losing their minds.

      Females can dress in what was considered male attire, once, and no one bats and eyelid. Gender reverse that, and again most people start freaking out.

      Honestly, least IMHO, it shouldn’t matter how anyone wants to express who they are. What should be held in high-esteme, what should be considered valuable is what each person brings of themselves to the community. If they’re a decent person, it shouldn’t matter how they present themselves.

    • safikarim says:

      I’ve noticed that, as well. As a GNC boy, I always saw it as unfair when I was younger that the girls around me could play with pretty much any toys (including trucks), have any hairstyle (including short “boyish” ones), wear almost any clothes (pants, oversized clothes, etc.), and it wasn’t seen as weird. She was either a girly girl or a tomboy, and either way no one cared. But when I wanted to play with dolls, have long hair, and wear fitted clothes or a skirt, suddenly there was something wrong

      Even as an adult it’s like this. According to many companies’ dress codes, women can wear basically everything men are allowed to (suits, pants, neckties, short hair, etc.). While many things like skirts, makeup, jewelry, and long hair are usually allowed for women but not for men

  10. Jack says:

    Hi i love your post, i am doing an art project on (non) \ gender conformity within children and was wondering, as you seem to have a lot more knowledge on the topic than i do, if you knew of any artists that base any of their work around the topic or even a piece of artwork that you think has obvious links (which can include photography) ?? if you do then can you let me know asap x thanking u in advance x

  11. Amy says:

    Thank you, this was incredibly helpful. ❤️

  12. Amy says:

    Love. Very well spoken

  13. would it be ok to use the above as a handout for a provider training (giving you credit of course)

  14. FCus says:

    Best thing I’ve read on the topic yet.

    Does anyone know how old etc. C.J. is? He wrote this himself didn’t he?

  15. Deanna/Peter says:

    I really wish this kind of understanding was around when I grew up (80s child) maybe it was, but I didn’t get any support for my gender noncormformity. But now let’s move forward, there’s enough info and people around to help make life as easy for kids that don’t confirm as those that do, and while we should be always on the look out for prejudice, we should also celebrate that we’re moving forward. Loving point number 6 btw.

    • Aryana says:

      True for me too. I love this sooo much, but in the eighties in so-cal you got to be gorl OR boy, and because my family was inclusive gay or straight, but nobody was talking identity and expression in public yet.

      I am so proud of you CJ you are a heartwarming antidote to a world afflicted by challenge and old hatred of otherness.

      I always identify electric or magnetic as traits not gendered terms to energy like masculine/feminine. I find by calling the traditional energy given by women as magnetic it honors the past and promotes an unbiased ungendered energetic future!

      So I say I am 49% magnetic, and 51% electric, meaning like I express as a tomboy and yet am a femme girl too. It took me so long to get here Cj, and I can APPRECIATE where you are coming from.

  16. Pingback: Tips from a gender nonconforming child | Therapy in Seattle

  17. Michelle Franklin says:

    I can say that this is the nicest story of the day!

    We have to get away from the idea that there is only two genders male and female, as this is not
    the case not only in humans but also in nature as well. Some people are born with a genetic
    disorder(about 30 types in all) xx male syndrome just to name one where they are not male or female in the true sense of being XX female and XY male..Many intersex or DSD newly named
    individuals have a hard time fitting in with the people around them and can also have family

    I think that DSD can also be expressed in the brain without a genetic disorder and this is where gay people may fit in along with trans gender people.

    Human gender is so complex and we have to be kind to all.

    If you find this topic interesting then please look up in google Intersex or DSD
    and see how many types of genetic possible genders there are in humans.

    Many people would like to express one gender or the other but not all

    Kind day to you all!!

  18. Ms. Donna says:

    Reblogged this on Wandering Aloud and commented:
    Fantastic and spot on!

  19. evelien says:

    i still dont get it why other poeple have to Judge about eithother.. let erverybody be..

  20. m says:

    I just linked to this post and to your blog in general in my post here: http://sometimesboy.tumblr.com/post/84462343386/my-sometimes-boy

  21. bata says:

    I do not even know how I ended up here, but
    I thought this post was good. I do not know who
    you are but definitely you’re going to a famous blogger if you aren’t already
    😉 Cheers!

  22. Pingback: Gender (Conformity and Nonconformity) | Sociology

  23. Destin says:

    I agree with all the points that were mentioned . I beleeve that gender identity should be taught formally in our society, and in our schools at an earlier age because children are aware of gender identity but they are not getting a good quality education about it until later in life. I beleeve that if gender identity was taught as a health information base with age aprpreation taken into consideration that educators would see a more clear way to help children identify with gender identity.

  24. celisasings says:

    Reblogged this on Big Mama Celisa's Music Musings and MORE! and commented:
    I really like this article…learn more about gender variations, from the perspective of a child, and be a little more enlightened!

  25. Scarlett says:

    It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d without a doubt donate to this excellent blog!
    I suppose for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google
    account. I look forward to brand new updates and will talk about this blog
    with my Facebook group. Talk soon!

  26. Pingback: Bibliography | transawarenessandmore

  27. Belén says:

    Everyone can give the world colour. No matter their gender.

  28. Pingback: She Is Who She Is | oh lovely existence

  29. Ana says:

    Thanks for creating this blog.
    As a little girl, my family (a very conservative, catholic one) made me think there was something wrong with me because of my boyish manners. Long story short, I tried hard to hide them but just ended up hating myself more and being really confused, thinking at some point that I was transgender. At 15 I finally got my hair cut short, and started dressing pretty much like a boy (and kept doing it until now, age 20), although I fully identify as a woman. By this time I also realized I was bisexual. Only my mother knows the latter (and accepts it), but my entire family is now ok with the way I am.
    I don’t blame them, though. They did it out of ignorance. Point is, thank you so much for creating a blog that can help parents. I wish my mom could have read this back when I was little. The work you’re doing is great, keep it up.

  30. Penny says:

    You are the most loving wonderful example of motherhood. Truly, one my greatest inspirations.

  31. Mark T says:

    At the risk of being overrun i am confused by this a bit. I think i understand non-conformity to gender stereotypes. And i think i understand homosexuality. As far as i can tell homosexuality stems from either gender identification as the oppsite sex or being attracted to someone with this opposite sex gender identity. However, it is apparently offensive to consider a 12 year old born female as gay because the being has arested female puberty with a medical implant and plans on starting testosterone treatments at 16 years old. Doesn’t this sterilize he child? Will the uterus still be able to function? I realize that a child’s gender idenity isn’t linked to sexuality. But when you start messing with hormones, haven’t you made gender idenity linked to sexuality? Thanks for any response. Be well…

    • scribblenubbin says:

      Whilst I won’t pretend to have your answers to sterilization (I have never been through gender reassignment) I am aware of a man who stopped taking testosterone in order that he and his wife could have a child using his womb. So in answer to your question, no I don’t think it leaves them sterile.

      In regards to the way you said “It is apparently offensive to consider a 12 year old born female as gay because the being has arrested female puberty…” It isn’t apparently offensive. It is. The child has never been in the right body and has been a boy trapped inside the wrong body. If that child is attracted to girls, that child is a heterosexual male, not a lesbian. ONLY if the child is attracted to boys can that child be presumed to be gay.

      Within the Transgender community (and there are many variants of our community – transsexuals being just one part of that), all forms of sexuality are accounted for. And just as within the cisgender (those born with their sex and gender aligned) community, there is a rainbow of different sexual orientations. My godmother has always been a straight woman, I have always known her as a straight woman, even before she made the choice to transition to the correct body for her. Just as I, as a Genderqueer person identify as a lesbian because of the body I was born in and the people I am attracted to.

      “Messing” with hormones doesn’t link sexuality and gender. It enables people to live the life they feel is correct for them and to be identified as the correct gender.

      I hope C.J.’s Mom doesn’t mind that I replied to your comment in this manner, but for me it’s a subject that I’m passionate about.

      • Mark T says:

        Puberty, you know when the reproductive organs are developed. Can you address the issue of reproductive organ development?

        I heard of a man that was born to a virgin, so we all can conceive without loising our virginity. This is a parallel to your basis for being offended. Is it medically true that having hormone replacement thearpy during puberty has no effect on reproductive organ development? If hormone replacement thearpy during puberty doesn’t impact reproductive organ development then why do it? Further, is it medically possible to develop male reproductive organs that function when the genitic makeup is female or vice versa?

        That was my question. Posting a straw man arguement doesn’t serve anything except hatred. Be well…

      • Mark T says:

        Did you mean to link back to the article we are commenting on? If so, where is a doc in the article?

        Be well…

      • scribblenubbin says:

        No I didn’t, I apologise, I had the link and copy paste made a mess. http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/family/articles/2011/12/11/led_by_the_child_who_simply_knew/ is the link I was referring to. Unfortunately I was reading it earlier and I cannot remember which page of the article it was on.

      • Mark T says:

        Nice article. Very detailed explaination of the issue in a holistic manner. The article states that drugs that block have neen used for years to postpone early development and biological development continues when the being stops taking the drugs. However, it also states that when reverse hormone treatment is done (about 16 yrs old), it is ireversable and cannot develop reproductive organs that function. An the surgery decision is done at 18.

        My question stands for this case too. Was it easier for the parent to accept a transgendered daughter than to have a gay son. Both like boys…

    • Amealia says:

      I think this is a different issue all together. It is an issue, but not exactly what this article is trying to address. Gender nonconforming is not transgender. I have an 8 year old daughter that likes to dress like a boy, loves sports, and would rather go fishing than play dress up. She, at this time, does not identify as a boy, she is not transgender. If she was that would be fine, but right now she is only 8 and still trying to figure out how she fits in this world. This article is simply stating that these kids just want to be loved and excepted for who they are. Do not place labels that do not apply (gay, transgender, or weird) or that they are not ready for. The day my lovely daughter tells me she is a boy is the day I have a lovely son, until then I have a daughter. I don’t want people labeling her as gay or transgender because she might not be. I also don’t want them to label her because she might be, and not yet be ready to except it. I do not want people to label her because it usually has a negative undertone, and nothing about her is negative! But I really don’t want people to label her because she is a person and I want her to be free to explore this world without feeling like she is stuck in one box. She should not have to feel like she is a girl or a boy or think about who she if physically attracted to at 8 years old, she should just be able to be and 8 year old kid!!!

  32. Bee says:

    What a lucky son you have, both because of your acceptance of him and amazing parenting, but also because when he is old enough, he will know that whichever sexuality he is as an adult, he will never hav to worry about your acceptance of him, because you show all your love and pride for him in this blog 🙂

  33. Thanks for the education 🙂 I knew some of this already, but some of the clarification was very useful.

  34. golynn says:

    Shame on people who make people’s life hard. Shame on them.
    You are a great mother. I had tears in my eyes. CJ is and always will be a wonderful and beautiful
    child of yours.
    I know. I just know.
    I have my fingers crossed for everyone and every child who is having a difficult time like the above. God bless you. God bless you.
    CJ is an angel from above. You are the lucky mom who gets to keep the angel all your life.

  35. Oh, my! What an incredible mother C.J. has who just brought me into tears! A special child for special parents. You also brought hope to my heart. The world should be like this, all about love and respect. If every child had the chance of being respected and comprehended like that, we would now be living in a fair brotherhood and our children would be growing into better adults. Please keep sharing your precious thoughts!

  36. River says:

    I was wondering if I could use this as part of training I offer for my adult volunteers (you can check out the organization here http://www.opheliasplace.net) who will be working with young women. We offer services to all girls and girl-identified youth and I really love how well you articulated gender nonconformity here. I would, of course, credit you and your blog. If it’s okay with you, could you send me a “yes” to my email below? Thanks for all you’re doing in raising a loved and accepted pair of boys, and for educating so many!

    River Aaland, M.A.
    Program Coordinator
    Ophelia’s Place
    1577 Pearl St. Suite 100
    Eugene, OR 97401

  37. Observee says:

    This brought tears to my eyes. To know people can be so cruel sometimes pains me. I am a lesbian mother and I fear everyday that our girls will be bullied because of who I love. I hope in the future that families will not have to worry about others. I only wish that we could develop customs where if you can\’t say something nice then keep your damn mouth shut. TONS of people say it but rarely do people actually follow it.

    You and your family are Godsends and that child is sooooo lucky to be born into a wonderful, loving and accepting family. I can only hope to be this strong if I ever have a non-conformist born into our household.

  38. Megan says:

    This brought tears to my eyes. To know people can be so cruel sometimes pains me. I am a lesbian mother and I fear everyday that our girls will be bullied because of who I love. I hope in the future that families will not have to worry about others. I only wish that we could develop customs where if you can’t say something nice then keep your damn mouth shut. TONS of people say it but rarely do people actually follow it.

    You and your family are Godsends and that child is sooooo lucky to be born into a wonderful, loving and accepting family. I can only hope to be this strong if I ever have a non-conformist born into our household.

  39. jo ann troncoso says:

    i have raised my rainbow and her sister to always be themselves. I have dealt with the pointing and addressing her as “sir” and honestly i think my reaction to those comments made my daughter more uncomfortable. But she knows in her heart i am only defending her no matter what.
    My mother brought me up that if you weren’t sure not to use “sir” or “m’am” just simply say excuse me. I watched the tears fall from her eyes and the questions in those eyes “why” when you are 10, there just is not an easy way to explain why people do what they do, i can only hope that I raised her well enough to be strong and confident and to be herself always. And to tell her every day that i love her…with all my heart,

    • mark says:

      All you can do sweetheart, is angst it seems you’ve already done, bless your heart. Let her know that there are plenty of accepting and nice people, but sometimes it can seem like they’re few and far between.

      The sheer amount, and ferocity it seems for gender rigidity can be overwhelming at times. Just this past weekend, a friend of mine voiced his “disgust” with two apparently in process transsexuals he’d recently encountered. I pointedly said that how difficult that decision must have been for the individual to have made that choice given our rabid view of anything outside the norm. He said he didn’t care, that whatever trouble “it” had was of “its’ own making. My other friend there agreed, and st that point I knew there was no discussing any of this with small minded people, and I actually lost quite a bit of respect for both these individuals.

      I’m sorry for even bringing this up, because it makes me feel queasy and tainted for even being in that conversation. But it is a reality out there, hopefully the small minds will die off eventually. So all you can do in your own family is to love each one for who they are, and allow them to grow the best they are meant to be.

      People are quite capable of noble things as well as the most horrendous acts. My main question is when it doesn’t affect them at all why they seem to be even more interested in affecting it? Is it possible that because it doesn’t they have no skin in that game, so freely can be as nasty as they want with no feelings for another human being? If so, then that scares me.

  40. I work with kids, teaching them to ride horses, and sometimes I get a gender-nonconforming kiddo. The worst part of this for me is that I want to support them, make them comfortable, treat them like what they are: kids, and there always seems to be the moment where I HAVE to know their sex without embarrassing them. (For example, “Ryan, Tracy’s having trouble with Buddy. Can you go help him -her- out?”) The parents aren’t forthcoming with this information, and a kiddo in jeans, t-shirt and long hair tells me nothing. How can I help these kids feel comfy and confident and SAFE?

    • Bryony Vaughn says:

      Try a simple reword. “Ryan, Tracy’s having trouble with Buddy. Can you lend a hand?”

    • elliot says:

      the simplest way is to just use their names: “ryan, tracy’s having trouble w buddy. can you go help tracy out?” or you could just use the singular, non-gendered “they” like you would for anyone whose gender you were unsure of. and just in case you’re thinking “singular ‘they’? that’s wrong! people don’t say that.” think of the last time you were driving and some a-hole cut you off, what did you say? “what are THEY doing?!” there was only one person in that car. you didn’t know their gender, and (9 times out of ten when i’ve used this example anyway) you used the singular they w/o even realizing it.

      • THEY! Perfect! Thank you!!! I’ve been driving myself nuts trying to figure out a non-gender him/her designation that didn’t sound stupid. Yay! Another tool in my toolbox!

  41. So, I’ve been following this blog for ages, and I just wanted to tell you how much you’ve shaped my perceptions on child rearing. I am lucky enough to be au pair to the coolest kids in the world — two girls (4 and 1) and a boy (2). I have already made a personal pledge to treat all three equally, and let them be who they please without my bias shaping them one way or the other. I believe gender nonconformity should be the norm for all children, whether they are gender creative like CJ, or whether they identify as society normal boys and girls.

    My oldest girl already adores dresses — she’d rather get an interesting new dress than a toy — but shares an equal passion for all things dinosaur, despite the two loves being on opposite ends of the “gender normal” spectrum. It’s something I love about her, and myself and her parents will fight for her right to continue loving those things without criticism. She starts kindergarten this Fall, and I’m already waiting for the day when she is told that dinosaurs are boy toys, not girl toys. On that day, I’m going to implement the same strategies you and CJ’s teachers have used — something you’ve touched on in this list: I’m going to tell her that toys are toys. They are for everyone, no matter what they are, and that anyone who tells her differently obviously has no idea what they’re talking about.

    What I guess I’m trying to say is thank you. Thank you for being such a wonderful mother to CJ, thank you for raising awareness about these issues, and thank you for giving strategies to make the world a better and friendlier place for all children — whoever they might be. (:

  42. mark says:

    The more I think about this the more I’m inclined to think that instead of a biological or psychological issue, for many people, it may be really a sociological issue stemming from society rather than the individual. That might explain why different cultures don’t have issues with skirts, or colors at all. There may be a spectrum, learned or not that attracts one to what they consider to be pretty or not, but that has nothing to do with how the individual feels inside. They can be all boy or girl yet not feel as if they’re trapped in the wrong body because they don’t follow every bit of what that is supposed to mean to the outside world.

    • Julie says:

      I agree—some societies are much more tolerant of gender-fluidity. In Samoa, for example, both men and women wear wrap-around skirts. And they have a relatively-high percentage of men who dress as women (who we would consider either transgender or cross-dressers; they don’t make a specific distinction). They even have a word for it–“fafafini” (I probably didn’t spell that correctly), which means “sort of woman.” The fafafini are really accepted as a third gender.

      • Julie says:

        I found the correct spelling: fa’afafine

      • Julie says:

        That’s not to say that all expressions of gender are societally-constructed, though. Just that some societies are more accepting of gender-creativity.

      • mark says:

        Oh, I agree there, that some societies are more tolerant than others. I just wonder whether those that are have distilled the essence of gender into that which is more naturally masculine and feminine versus ours which I believe to ne more heavily influenced by artificial standards. Therefore they would maybe have a wider range of acceptance versus the additional rules we’ve been saddled with.

  43. Lisa N says:

    I have a friend from Africa, who comments frequently how North American the “pink is for girls, blue is for boys” notion is. It just doesn’t matter in Africa what colour you wear. And to note: until about 1910, blue was considered a girls’ colour, and pink for boys, in North America.

    • mark says:

      And it wasn’t until almost 1940 before that rule change really took hold. Until the early 1900’s little children, girls and boys were almost identically dressed, long curls, lace dresses etc. Hardly tell one gender from the other. Maybe they were onto something-let the kids be kids. I’d suspect the wars and economy had a lot to do with the binary concept getting stronger. Men went off to war, women tended the homefront, then when the fellows got back the standards grew deeper when the sign of domestic bliss was mom at home, dressed like vanity fair, while dad was always away at work, and there became no crossing into the territory of either gender.

      • C.C. says:

        I’ve heard that some of the reason little boys were dressed as girls in this era was,because there was a superstitious belief that demons were more likely to possess boys then they were girl. It’s part of the same superstitiouins that cause us to say bless you when someone sneezes. They thought the soul was trying to escape the body and saing bless you would keep it inside u! Random facts for the day 🙂

  44. WELL SAID! … Perhaps print this list and hand it out to anyone that gives the kid or yourself a funny look? Or make 12 t-shirts, each with one of those quotes! These are such strong messages, and those that don’t “understand” need to be “taught”.

  45. This. Is Epic. Hope you don’t mind, but I posted it to https://www.facebook.com/transnewsWW

  46. Many of these can be said for adult transgender folk – with some minor variations… Well written, thank you.

  47. swensonk says:

    This is heartfelt and brilliant. As always, I wish your family well.

  48. Samantha Ellis says:

    I love this list – thank you so much. I am going to give it to all my family and friends to read. And then I’m going to put it on my Facebook wall, as I am not ashamed of my non-gender conforming son. I love him to pieces and celebrate his differences.

    • Samantha Ellis says:

      Sorry, I meant to say gender non-conforming! Even I get confused sometimes !!!

      • mark says:

        Actually Samantha, non gender conforming may be a more correct way to say it. It actually has a subtle change to it that implies not feminine or masculine, kinda a more positive viewpoint of behavior. I like that. Gender non conforming to me implies something wrong, which of course is not true, but to me this seems to describe the individual better.

      • Samantha Ellis says:

        Mark, you’re so right. I didn’t think of it that way before. I think I will start using that instead from now on. Thanks x

  49. Paula Turner says:

    just letting you know that I have nominated you for an Inspiring Blog Award because you really are inspiring…..in so many ways.

  50. Krista says:

    Fabulous and timely. My 4-year-old son is self-described as “a boy that likes pretty things. I just like to wear dresses.” My 2-year-old daughter insists she is a boy. We start almost every day (depending on the state of finished laundry) with me asking both my kids, “Pants, dress, or tutu?” Oh, and the three of us all have buzzed heads because we wanted to. Sometimes going out can be stressful because of others’ reactions, but I would never expect me children to be something they aren’t just to make Western society happy. I want them to be happy.

  51. Mark says:

    Point number 5 is the one I’ve been most vociferously putting out there in discussions with friends. Most people still don’t get how they’ve been influenced. There would be no such thing as “gender non-conformity” IF marketing wasn’t so attached to advertising a particular item as being for girls or boys, men or women. There are obvious items that do fall in that category because of function versus form, but really darn few of them when you think about it for even a nano second. Women like jewelry, I like jewelry, but male jewelry is form different. Why, couldn’t women wear “male” links? Sure they could, but somebody decided that women’s bracelets are more delicate and lighter than the men’s. Vice versa for the guys, they could wear a fine chain for going out, but would put it at risk for breakage if they wore it fixing a car, but that’s for them to decide if they want to risk the loss of it.

    But the marketers have decided, even while boxing themselves in to selling probably only half of what they could, that women will flock to this, men will by definition reject it, but go nuts for a similar product if it’s packaged in THIS way. This is not so. In many respects people are just people and like what they like. Means nothing more than that. Except for the training people have to respond to it in a certain way. So then the item has power, but only when they give it the power. Weird voodoo if you ask me.

    I would love to wear a shorter skirt like covering in hot weather, but to be honest that would be too much hassle for me, I’m not that brave to deal with it, and that aspect really bothers me. But we’re not there yet to the critical mass of understanding, but our creative children will change that as their adult supporters support them. It is happening.It will just take time.

    great points in a continuing great blog.

  52. antarabesque says:

    Right on point as always. Thank you for your amazing words and being a role model for so many. You are blessed and a blessing.

  53. Sacha Black says:

    Love this. Like, really love this. Feel like there should be something about “I don’t judge you and your gender, and I don’t expect you to judge me and mine” But anyway, this blog made me smile, thank you. 🙂

  54. Sharing this on my organization’s Facebook page! Well said! http://www.facebook.com/mytransgression

  55. tara says:

    Bullet points 4 and 5 are things that come out of my mouth regularly. I have a son who is mildly gender non-conforming and I say those 2 things to his father, my ex-husband, very often.
    All I want is for him to love his son the way he is. And that seems so hard for him to do.

  56. moma007 says:

    Love your blog. Just starting down this road and love hearing from others and how they handle it. I have a 4 year old son.

  57. Dr. S. says:

    Just commented about your blog in my blog. Hope that’s okay. I love Raising My Rainbow. Here’s my link: http://wkwutk.wordpress.com/2012/07/02/baseball-and-ballet/

  58. Beautiful! I’ve reblogged this.

  59. Reblogged this on transbeautiful and commented:
    Well said!

  60. Julie says:

    Not every gender-nonconforming child feels a mismatch between sex and gender. Some children feel that their sex and gender align just fine, but they still don’t want to conform to what is traditionally expected of them. My daughter, for example, is female in both sex and gender, but hates makeup, dresses, earrings, and other things that are traditionally expected of teenage girls, and she wants a non-traditional (for women) job. So, she definitely doesn’t “conform to the norm,” and that makes her gender-nonconforming, I think, even though she still identifies as female in both body and brain.

    • AMM says:

      Some children feel that their sex and gender align just fine, but they still don’t want to conform to what is traditionally expected of them.

      Some adults, too. Like me.

      I don’t see myself as a “woman trapped in a man’s body,” any more than I see myself as a flying squirrel in a man’s body, but it would have been easier to transform myself into a flying squirrel than to be what a boy was required to be back around 1960-1970. I learned to pass (minimally), but never to fit in. Now, after 50 years, I’m starting to explore stuff that was taboo back then (mostly clothing, like skirts, and “feminine” colors and stuff), but I’m still “attached to” my beard. It bothers me that so many people, including high mucky-muck professionals, _assume_ that a child not conforming to the stereotypes associated with their assigned gender means that they want to be the opposite gender — and then start brainwashing them that way.

      I’d also like to emphasize the “not necessarily gay.”

      • Julie says:

        Good point. I’d like to ask C.J.’s mom: as far as you know, does C.J. see himself as female? Or does he just want to redefine (for himself) what it means to be male?

      • C.J. sees himself as a “boy who likes girl stuff.” He also now uses the term gender nonconforming. 🙂

    • Tenacious Snail says:

      I was often taken to be a boy, both as a pre-teen and in my 20’s. People don’t know what to do with someone who loves baseball, embroidery, rides a motorcycle and whose favorite color is blue. I’ve made it from menarche to perimenopause and still don’t own makeup or stockings. Though I have gone with my boyfriend to get pedicures.

  61. Ally says:

    I can relate to this because I was a gender creative child. Since I was a girl who was a tomboy, it was much more accepted and no one really gave me a hard time about it. I was not truly transgendered because it was not about my body parts to me, it was more just about wanting to play football, climb trees and it just seemed like boys got to have more fun. I happened to transform into a a girly girl by 7th or 8th grade and identify as a heterosexual woman but I clearly remember being distraught that I could not be a boy so I have a lot of compassion for those that are truly transgendered. It is a confusing, frustrating place to be. My mom never worried about it but back in those days, little was known about transgender so she just figured it was a stage. My dad loved it because I was so into sports like he is. I can’t imagine if they had been critical or unaccepting how damaging that would have been. Stories like this of parents that have the insight and courage to support their children are the very definition of unconditional love.

    • mark says:

      That is part of this whole discussion ally, how do we get the boys to be accwpted, like your dad was happy with you, for alot of reasons, but you and he could bond with sports, yet a boy liking pretty things is ostracized by usually both parents, at least they are under huge stressors as a result?

      Again, I go hack to marketing, sorry for the repetition. Sunday’s comic strip, zits, had Jeremy and hid dad sitting with the mom having a pedicure to do something to bond with that she wanted, it was clear in the picture they were also having them painted. But the two male comments were still like, great idea dad, and he replies, yeah, well you said anything she wants, son. Do they did fuel stuff but made a point to be manly in comments. But if they showed more men, being just them, crossing into girl activities, like girls are shown crossing into men activities, the acceptance would happen very very quickly.

      • Ally says:

        I have no idea why it makes so many people so uncomfortable when it comes to boys being gender creative. I know I was not the only tomboy in my neighborhood. There was a big group of us and most of the girls did grow up to be straight, but a few are gay and it just didn’t matter all that much. We had 3 non conforming boys that I remember and I can say that although the children knew intuitively that something was different about them, the meanness comes from parents making comments that teach the children different is somehow wrong. Personally, I think this comes from a deep seated fear a lot of parents have that they may see this in their child so they start teaching their child very early to distance themselves from it and sometimes it’s subtle, treating it as a joke and other times it’s much more hateful. But it is stone cold fear that drives people to teach their kids that. I see such a shift these days now that more is known and it’s undeniable with anyone with a shred of common sense that gender/sexuality differences are biology based not learned. Back in the day when I was growing up, most people really believed you could change someone, that it was just a behavior. I know I asked my dad what made people gay and he said, “Looking in the mirror too much causes people to fall in love with their own image”. As silly as that sounds, that kind of thinking was not unusual back then. But these days, there are so many more parents that have a much better understanding that their child could not control this anymore than they could control their eye color and they have been created exactly as they were intended to be. It warms my heart every time I read a blog like this about parents who demonstrate unconditional love on a daily basis and put there love for their child before their own worries, their own ego, or insecurities. Other people can be mean but it’s the parents who give a child a sense of their own worth. These kids will know that when it comes to unconditional love, their parents stepped up and walked the walk. That’s going to empower them to take on anything that comes their way. I personally hope we get to share in CJ’s journey for a long time to come. I’m looking forward to seeing who this little guy becomes 🙂

      • mark says:

        I suppose it’s partly that women are second class citizens and partly the whole homophobia thing going on, but I teally don’t know why either. Why isn’t there the deep rooted belief in everybody being able to do as they please if it hurts no one else. I’d want that, so why wouldn’t everyone else want that for themselves? But then again, the pre wired neanderthal view is don’t call attention to yourself or you may put the whole used at risk, so maybe that’s the driving force. Thinking people can see that a it’s a biological thing but in my observation in general, more people are reactive versus thinking and rational.

      • Ally says:

        Hmmm, it won’t let me reply to your response below for some reason, but I did just want to make a comment that although there is some extreme hatred right now, that I believe the majority of people accept that people are born they way they are and attitudes are changing. My gender typical son was laughing the other day about a kid at school who was trying to make fun of him in front of the whole class and said “he believes in gay marriage” and my son (proud of him!) said, “Of course I do, why wouldn’t I?” and he said the kid just looked at him and said, “ya, so do I” and one after one just about all the kids said the same thing. And I live on the buckle of the bible belt in Texas, LOL. They also have a couple of openly gay kids and as far as I know they are pretty well accepted. They seem to have a lot of friends. I think the haters will get the attention because it’s dramatic to stir up controversy, but from the kids I know, this next generation does not seem overly concerned with it. I’m not downplaying concerns over bullying, it is serious, but if you took that away, they’d just find something else to work with because kids (a lot of them) just go through that vicious stage. I’m not naive and I know there are still a lot of discrimination and hatred, but when you think of how things were 40 years ago or so, the shift toward acceptance is actually pretty remarkable.

      • mark says:

        That’s true, Ally, it has changed alot for the better. As recently as the 70’s the DSM used by psychiatrists on down said homosexuality was a psycholgical disorder, unbelievable as that may sound, but up until then society came to believe that all of this was just plain craziness of the person, so I assume that’s where alot of the negativity came from. The medical establishment did not help the situation at all, it caused alot of pain. And even after they changed it, taking it off the books, they didn’t really publicize it that much as being they were wrong, and most people believed it was taken off because of being politically correct. Sad.

    • mark says:

      I suppose it’s partly the belief that women are second class citizens and partly the whole homophobia thing going on, but I really don’t know why either. Why isn’t there the deep rooted belief in everybody being able to do as they please if it hurts no one else. I’d want that, so why wouldn’t everyone else want that for themselves? But then again, the pre wired neanderthal view is don’t call attention to yourself or you may put the whole herd at risk, so maybe that’s the driving force. Thinking people can see that a it’s a biological thing but in my observation in general, more people are reactive versus thinking and rational.

      I edited this post the only way I could, by reposting because my cell keyboard has like a mind of it’s own. I want to use the word “herd”, and it says, nope, you want the word “used”. Sorry. It would be cool if you could go back somehow and edit your own posts.

  62. scutaloo says:

    “just know that I am a person, please treat me that way.”
    It’s just so right in so many different cases!

  63. Val says:

    This is beautiful. I, too, have a gender non-conforming child. My other child is gay. They are unique individuals. I love them so much. It breaks my heart when other parents reject their children. Thank you for posting this.

  64. bluelyon says:

    Love this post. Thank you.

  65. Your son is so fortunate to have you 🙂

  66. kaj says:

    uh, people can have genders besides male and female. I expected better than this from you.

  67. Lyn~ says:

    As is your usual: Wonderful way with words and expressing feelings in such a clear and concise way!!! I shared and reposted!!! It puzzles me that those who claim to be the biggest Christians have the hardest time with accepting this amazing little souls as God’s children… As if Source makes mistakes!!!

  68. Stefani says:

    Thank you so much for this. So well put, and so important. Sharing this widely.

  69. http://lifestartsnow.wordpress.com says:

    bravo! this is so beautiful!

  70. britneyana says:

    i am quick to correct the children i babysit, or my siblings, about girl toys or boy toys. i always remind them that boys play with tea sets, and girls play with cowboy toys. earlier, my eight yr. old brother commented, “it’s okay for boys to play with dollys, because they’re gonna be daddys one day, and it’s kind of the same thing”. from the mouth of babes.

  71. thank you for adding a real voice to the rainbow

  72. Andrea says:

    I cried and felt so touched by this post, thank you for writing it!!!

  73. Ellen says:

    Love this!!

  74. Paula Turner says:

    I continue to be baffled why people feel the need to put people in boxes, labels aren’t needed for people. And also how is it anyone’s business or right to comment or make anyone feel bad for who they are?

  75. Tracie says:

    Absolutely LOVE…I am going to make everyone who enters our home read this!!

  76. Lyla says:

    Thanks for this, definitely going to share. Actually, only 1/3 of gender variant elementary age kids end up identifying as homosexual adults. About 1/3 end up identifying as transgender, and 1/3 as straight cis-gender, so the idea that gender variance in children really predicts anything is wrong, as you point out. All the more reason these kids need adults to allow them to explore, be themselves, and need to approach them with an open mind. Thanks!

  77. schnell says:

    wow. i am going to print this and keep it for moments i need to educate others. thank you!

  78. Almost made me cry. Thank you for saying it for all those kids who can’t!!

  79. -pam says:

    THEY are YOUR CHILD and love is suppose to be unconditional please remember that THEY NEED TO KNOW THAT FROM YOU..Teach them to be confident in them selves and to love them selves first of all and that being DIFFERENT is OK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  80. Same goes for gender nonconforming adults!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s