It was the most sincere display of appreciation that my five-year-old son has ever shown. He looked me straight in the eyes and said a very mature and worldly “thank you.” The words were full of honesty, relief, happiness and a little bit of anguish.
“You’re welcome, baby,” I said looking at him with a smile and masking the pain I was feeling. “You look so pretty.”
My gender creative son was thanking me for buying him a dress to wear to Christmas Eve dinner.
He had eyed the ensemble at Target weeks ago and asked to wear it for Christmas Eve so he could take “fancy pictures by the fireplace and the tree.
I told him no. Not because the outfit was made for girls and he is a boy, but because had I bought it then he would have wanted to wear it immediately and often and when we finally sat down to Christmas Eve dinner it would have been thrashed.
He talked about his “Christmas outfit” nonstop and asked everyday if it was time to go buy it.
Today was the day. We got home and both ran up the stairs to my bedroom with its mirrored closets. I sat on the floor removing price tags while he tore off his “school clothes,” which he wears as a disguise when out in society so that people will think he is all boy. He wears “school clothes” so that he won’t get teased, have to sit by himself at the lunch tables and so he will get invites to birthday parties. More than anything he wants to be thought of as “normal.” But, he’s not.
He closed his eyes as I put on the black bubble skirt covered in sequins, the red long sleeved t-shirt that says “JOY” on it in glitter and the black sequined vest. I spun him to the mirror. He opened his eyes, took himself in and then thanked me.
My first reaction was to smile. He reminded me of when I was a little girl and wanted a show stopping dress for the holidays. My dresses were made of scratchy fabric that made noise when I moved. I wore white socks with lace trim and stiff, shiny Mary Janes. I learned at an early age that beauty is pain.
My son looked sassy and beautiful. He looked natural, happy and truly comfortable for the first time that day. Then I felt pain. If the rest of the world could be more empathetic, accepting, welcoming and kind, my son could be this happy and comfortable all of the time — because then my son could be a boy who dresses like a girl and not have to think twice about it. The world isn’t like that.
Other people can’t see the beauty in my son in a dress. I haven’t always seen the beauty either. Two and a half years ago this scene from my life wouldn’t have happened. I wouldn’t have bought girl clothes for my son. Never. Ever. Back then, I felt uneasy when he played with Barbies. When he tried to dress feminine, I’d hand him his brother’s masculine hand-me-downs and tell him to put them on. I didn’t give him choices because I knew that his choices would be pink with sparkles and rhinestones. His choices would smell like the raspberry vanilla body spray he snuck from my bathroom and hid under his bed.
Then I realized that my actions were telling him “you can’t be you because I want you to be what society wants you to be.”
My husband and I changed the way we were parenting. There was something unique about our son that we could choose to support or destroy. We had to follow his lead. He led us to the pink aisles at Target; and, that’s not a dangerous, harmful, unhealthy place for a boy to be.
My son’s Christmas dress is hanging in his closet. He checks on it before and after school and a few other times each day. On Christmas Eve, a dozen members of our family will gather around the table in honor of religious beliefs and to celebrate the passing of one year and the start of another. It will be the first holiday that my son will join us at the table dressed as a girl. We won’t care. We will tell him that he is beautiful, inside and out. And, we’ll mean it.
*This is my last blog post of the year. Holiday wishes and greetings to all of you! Let’s catch up in a few weeks. xoxo, C.J.’s Mom
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Thank you! You give hope to people like me whose parents/parent can’t see the beauty in there child being themselves no matter what aisle of target that means. I hope one day my mother will love me for who i am,and let me back in her life. I am hopeful and happy to see that it is possible to learn acceptance. Thank you for sharing and hopefully touching the hearts of those parents teetering on how to feel. Sharing how beautiful love can be. I believe I would have known way earlier in life who I was had I been allowed,
Fantastic……..the lad may grow out of it or he may go further, with make up and heels….
so what….you are giving the lad the option…..and he s happy……why do we have to do what society wants…….Health and Happiness to you and your Family….Good luck
James Christopher Uk…………
This is such a beautiful thing to read, the world needs more people and parents like you.
Brilliant and inspiring post. Both great parents x
This puts the fun in Christmas, even to a grinch like me!
Great article, I hope you had a great Christmas.
Reblogged this on Change Starts With Acknowledgement and commented:
Another perfect example of the ways that #changestartswithacknowledgement! This is love.
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Reblogged on riddlefromthemiddle.com. I hope you and your family had a very Merry Christmas!
Thanks for this post and keep posting more like this.
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It’s great that you are being so supportive of your son and his choices in fashion. As RuPaul once said “We’re all born naked – all the rest is drag”. It’s our society that seems to have imprinted what is “for girls” and what is “for boys”. Many countries have styles of dress that we may view as being for the “other side of the fence”, but what does it really matter? As long as they are happy with how they look and feel good inside, then it should be no one else’s business how they dress! Good for you!
I’m so glad you are letting CJ be him. All we can do in this life is find our happiness and it starts with being true to yourself. More parents should embrace their childrens spirit. Happy New Year to your family.
Love, love, love!
I have only just found your blog (thank you, WordPress Discover).
You are inspiring, and have made me realise how poorly we (husband, I and the other two offspring), ignored her when raising our male child (born ’78) who is now trans-gendering to female.
We did it all wrong–ignoring possibilities now obvious, failing to continue with therapy offered by a hospital’s Child Health unit on the excuse of the cost of a thrice weekly trip to the big city…
Now we have accepted her as she has always been. We are relaxed, and so is she, becoming more so with each visit to her welcoming home.
Thank you for sharing your experiences, of which I will read and from which I will learn more.
I think you’re a great parent. It’s advisable for parents to consider their kids feelings in everything. But still I just feel you should groom him for the society. Let him know he’s in for a long run in attaining societal acceptance. Again i really admire your parental skill.
Your son is lucky to have you as his mother 🙂
I think you should see what your son think about unisex androgoneous clothing, that’s what I will experiment for my kids as gender is a societal construct and our kids are who we want them to be. Wouldn’t you be alright with those in public, if your families circle is, then we have a big problem here; move.
So touching. Looks like you and your husband are doing such an amazing job raising him. He also sounds sassy as hell! Go CJ!!!
you’re a great mother!!!!
Reblogged this on therealssite and commented:
There are still some parents that give me hope. They are understanding and loving. Too many kids are rejected for this.
Amazing-thank you for sharing.
Reblogged this on allisailas and commented:
Honestly this is beautiful.
Can I please just ask you to tell your son his Christmas outfit was drop dead gorgeous. It looks amazing! I’d be so proud!
I think you have made a courageous but wonderful and rewarding decision. An incident from a recent feminist work sprung immediately to mind…
“Before she had children herself, Fenella assumed that this freedom would only have increased for this generation. ‘I honestly didn’t think that anyone would have a problem any more with a girlish boy or a boyish girl. I thought my children would be living in an even freer time than I did in my childhood.’ But she has found the opposite, and for her son, a six-year-old who prefers dolls to cars and ballet to football, the problems are now very real. This is a generation in which many boys are encouraged into a stereotyped masculinity at an early age; for those who resist, life can be uncomfortable. […] What worries Fenella is that her son, whom she sees as a normal, even talented and creative child, is being made to feel abnormal and secretive about his interests and pleasures. ‘I think he would be a talented dancer or designer,’ she said to me, ‘but I fear it’s going to be squashed out of him, that he’ll feel he has to spend his time playing sport and he’ll end up an accountant like everyone else. And he’ll be a secret cross-dresser rather than just enjoying wearing great clothes in public. This culture seems to be making boys feel that certain behaviour is abnormal for boys, when it isn’t.’”
Walter, Natasha. Living Dolls – The Return of Sexism (London: Virago Press, 2010), pp136-7.
In letting your gender-creative son feel free to express himself, I am very optimistic of the potential that may be unlocked. Fear and conformity may win a bit of safety, but I doubt they ever led to great joy and great accomplishments. Good on all three of you. 🙂
you are beautiful open minded person with huge heart 🙂 thank you for sharing! more people should read it!
What an amazing and inspiring story. Acceptance starts at home. You are raising an amazing child. These moments he will look back on and be so grateful for his parents for letting him be who he wants to be.
I really enjoyed reading your heart-warming story. I can feel the love expressed for your son, with silent trepidation. My hope for your son and others is that society look beyond clothing and other stereotypes, but accept everyone regardless of their life style choice and realize it is who they are authentically.
Very brave of you, and I commend you on doing right by your child. My son also wanted girls clothes for awhile, which we bought,…. it can be hard. He ultimately stopped wanting to wear them, so we won’t have to face the same hard choices you will. Wherever he leads you, we send your our well wishes all the same.
I got so happy when I read this! 😄
This is amazing. I wish everyone was as accepting.
This made my heart happy. The world has a long way to go, but you two are doing exactly what any loving parents should be. You’re accepting him, and raising awareness. Good for you. Accepting new things can lead with resistance. All the matters is that you’ve arrived at acceptance. Good for you! Love to you and yours.
Amazing .. ❣
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You are unbelievable. Love.
Reblogged this on taara and commented:
A star shining bright
Amazing article!! Hats off to you for realizing and for supporting for son, always do.. Irrespective of societal norms n values because societal values will never give a person a happy life!
It looks pretty
I comend you and your familys bravery to promote for him to be exactly who he is. We need more people like you 🙂
This is a truly courageous and amazing post. I just posted today about changing views on sexuality and gender and this is exactly what I hope continues to happen. Peoples ideas, preconceived notions or definitions will change or bend to just let people love. Let people be who they are: happy and loving individuals
Awwwww how cute is that loves it merry Christmas: )
Beautiful post and wonderful that you allow your son to be, and dress, however he wishes. The only thing I sort of disagree with is when you say:
“More than anything he wants to be thought of as “normal.” But, he’s not.”
I disagree, he is normal, it is other people who think he isn’t normal because of the societal rules we still live under. But just because he doesn’t fit what others describe as normal does not mean he isn’t normal. I think you and your son are wonderful and normal and those who think he is “not normal” will someday be antiquated thinkers. Happy holidays!
What an amazing piece. The world would be a better place with understanding people and parents like you. This warmed my heart to read. Tell your son to just be who he is, because there is only one him, and there will never be another. Being yourself isn’t a crime.
Loved your post. Real eye opener. Hope you and your family are enjoying Christmas 🙂
This is one of the most powerful things I have ever read in my life.
I love the humanity but it feels like it doesn´t exist enymore, but your post made me feel a little better. So I hope one day your little boy can wear wat ever he wants to, and he has realy luck with a mother who supports him.
Lovely, I loved Your post. He is so cute :), wish You guys a merry christmas .
Thank you so much for writing this post. Gender identity realization is a very sensitive subject and people tend to talk more than they know regarding this. Your son is very lucky to have such a wonderful and understanding mother.
Wonderful!! As a mother of a transgender child,, this made me smile!!
Lovely! Merry Christmas to this wonderful family! …
Reading this I remember when I was a kid my brother will punch me anywhere in my body because I’m soft. He wanted me to fight him back using punch. I have no idea that I am gay because I’m just a kid. I always cried because I can’t act the way he wanted, the way “normal” for other people.
Good on you for being supportive about it.
So pretty !
Not going to lie. I actually cried reading this. More kids like that need parents like this. But sadly a lot are more worried about, what someone else is going to think. Rather than how their child feels. Glad you and your husband changed to him taken the lead.
God Bless and happy holidays!
You said it perfectly and I cried too!
This little boy is an angel, lucky to be born to understanding parents. Though, I guess this wouldn’t have been a point of discussion if it had been a little girl wanting to dress like a boy. Just goes to show how cruel the world is to boys.
Reblogged this on CHI's blog.
Your son sounds gorgeous. Let him be and dress as he pleases! Love him!! Xx
I wish there could be more parent lile you parenting like you
That kid and you are amazing . I wish more people would be so accepting .
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This is amazing. Stay strong CJ, you do you!
This makes me feel real joy in my heart. Im so happy to hear when parents are accepting of their children no matter what. I strive every day to make sure my three year old son Duncan knows that I love him and I’m okay with it if he wants to play dress up with my clothes and walk around and be a princess and you’ve inspired me and touched me to know I’m not the only one whose okay with a boy who is sometimes feminine.
Your son is lucky to have you. What an excellent blog post this is!
This is absolutely beautiful. Your son is lucky to have such open-minded parents like you and your husband. Many children feel the same way as your son, but do not have the same encouraging and accepting attitude like yourself. His Christmas gift is not the dress, but the opportunity to express himself the way he chooses.
i salute you! 👏👏👏
wish that people in the future will accept people like your son.
Somedays i wish the society was more open to our personalities, but you’re raising a winner for sure who will someday change perceptions of millions, kudos.
It’s boundlessness love !
I was the third son to a disappointed mother who wanted so badly to have a daughter. My father allowed her to live that fantasy by raising me as a girl until I started school. Pretty curly blond hair flowing down my back, bows and ribbons, pretty sun dresses, frilly panties, patent shoes, pink lipstick and a little make-up and I was a total girl, never questioned by anyone. I loved it!! When I reached six and was ready to start school my father made her change me into a “male”. My hair by then was waist length and my mom cried when they cut it all off. Even though she got rid of all my “girly” clothes, I simply reverted to “borrowing” moms things, they didn’t fit but I felt like a girl in them. My Aunt who was my mothers youngest sibling was upset when I was “converted” to male, so whenever I stayed at her house she always had lots of pretty things for me to wear and filled me with compliment as to how beautiful I was. She would do a total make-over on me, full make-up, mascara, curling my lashes, trim my brows, I truly looked like a pretty young teen girl. Unfortunately as I grew older and adhered to the “male” attitude along with my rowdy brothers, I played sports and was all boy on the surface, even marrying and having 2 girls of my own. Through the years I never stopped “dressing” and wishing I had been able to transition, but having gone through puberty as a boy I became less and less passable. I still have my own wardrobe and I think my wife knows about it but we have never breeched that subject, though she does know about my first 5 years of life. I often wonder what my life would have been if I had continued as a girl, I think I would have been happier. Good luck with your son, if he wants to continue his life as a girl, please let him….
Just curious, do you let CJ wear girls under pants
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Thank you for your post … You brought tears of joy to my eyes to know I can relate somewhat to your post … I’m a single mother with a 3yr old lil boy that loves to wear dresses and wear sparkly things … I am hoping this is a phase but I will love him no matter what … He dad loves to blame it all on me saying I incourge my son to wear dresses and throws all my close friends in the picture and say I bet that your friend so and so wouldn’t let there son do that … I feel mentally exchusted … Trying to be a good mother and support my son on whatever makes him happy . Am I wrong .. I was told by his dad not to even let him think about stuff like this.
From my perspective (and, I’m sure, from many others) you’re doing the right thing. You are letting your child be themselves – an individual – not a carbon copy of societies expectations, or your husbands.
I could have done with you in MY corner when I was a kid.
You’re a GREAT Mum!
Your son is absolutely amazing and perfect in every way!! So sad that society can’t see his happiness and how perfect he is inside and out.
I agree with you completely. My brother loves wearing girl clothes, he’s not gay, so I think he will get the clothes of mine that he wants. I hope it’s the right thing for me to do.
What are “girl clothes?” Do you mean to say, “clothes associated with girls?” Do you have any idea what men wore for thousands of years? And was not considered female? Clothing definitions give full choice to women. The definitions restrict men into a tiny area. This is wrong. Unless it’s a bra or a bra form, it’s sex neutral, not “girls clothes.” Before 1942, women also did not have choices, and women in pants were said to be wearing “men’s clothes.”
Yes support your brother cause he will always want to wear girls clothes. If you dont he will sneak arounf and wear your clothes anyway.
If only more parents could be like this (and my own). Wonderful read.
Uh, that is SUCH a boy dress. I know I’m weird, but I don’t think he looks any less masculine in it. I think he looks beautiful. Boys can totally be beautiful in pants, dresses, anything. I hope everything went well at Christmas and your family accepted him for the awesome kid he is.
I’m trans and I am 50. My earliest memories were of wanting to be a girl. Your daughter knows her gender. Everyone knows their gender no matter what age you are. Bless you and your husband for seeing this in her. So many of us, live in anxiety and depression, because we know who we are, but can not be her. It may seem hard to have her transition at an early age, but it is better for her to do it sooner then later. I am so inspired by these young people who can be who they are. I am proud parents who love their children enough to challenge our society for what is right.
My Christmas story
When I was 5 or 6, I wanted so badly to have a little fur coat and hat and muff for Christmas. I was so upset when my two cousins came in wearing the exact outfit I so adored. 45 years later it truly still hurts.
The past hurts if you can not be yourself.
I was recently telling my partner, who is female bodied but mostly identifies as male, about an article I read recently about a mother who was defending male born child’s decision to live as a girl. My partner told me that when they were around 18, they tried to kill themselves because they just wanted, so badly, to be a boy, and there was no one there to tell her “it’s okay to feel this way…there is nothing wrong with you.” So, I find it really, really beautiful that you are embracing your child’s gender orientation, whatever it may be. Too many parents don’t, and the results are disasterous. It’s really reassuring to hear a story like this in a world where the attempted suicide rates of transgendered people are skyrocketing. You don’t need a stranger’s approval on how you raise your kid, but I just want to say THANK YOU FOR DOING THE RIGHT THING!
Marvelous. This red t-shirt is amazing. I like the post and agree with Jenxbyron too. I wish to have such schools around. 😛 He looks great. (A huge smile on my face after having a look at ‘JOY’) Thanks a lot for the share. 🙂
I just read this… and oh my god – the FEELS.
It’s sad that he can’t feel “normal” all day do to the trappings of society…
My kids: the most precious thing in my life. One boy, one girl, they have been themselves since before they were born. My training as a scientist has no words for this miracle.
I love this story. LOVE. this. I am not kidding. Every couple of weeks, I read it again. It always lifts my spirits. Love love love.
I wish we lived in a world without cruelty and fear. Not yet. My kids are not transgendered, so far as I know, but by God I will stand with people like you. Like us. I never want any children, any one, to be harmed or in danger. But I will not hide from this struggle.
(duplicate post; sorry… I thought it my post didn’t go through the first time.)
The most precious thing in my life. My two kids. A daughter, a son. Both have emphatically been themselves since before they were born. My training as a scientist has no words for the beauty and joy that they behave brought to this world.
I LOVE THIS STORY. I LOVE THIS. Love this. Every couple of weeks, I read it again. It makes my day. Love. love. love.
Thank you thank you thank you.
This blog has made me make up my mind. My 5 year old boy gets up everyday and gets straight into his sisters dresses and skirts. He plays with dolls and gets on better playing girl games with his sister than boy games with his older brother. He has been begging me for a while now to buy him his own dress for christmas and I haven’t kniwn whether to or not. Not because I don’t want him to but because, like you say, I am worried about him being bullied and not excepted. But like you say I need to tell him to be him regardless of what society thinks!! xxx
just do it. best mom ever
It takes a big heart to listen to what they need instead of what we need. Goodonya, mama.
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Wow, so nicely written! i have a almost 5 year old and am going through the same thing! He has never asked to wear girls clothes and is messy and sloppy and loves dangerous things and to run, jump, and climb and wrestle… and could care less about clothes and hair–but loves all things society labels for “girls”–sparkles, rainbows, pink, princesses, etc, and wants nothing to do with society labeled “boys” things like cars, trains, trucks, etc……
and poor kid gets so much criticism for it :(…
My husband and I try to be as supportive as possible, he is the whole world for us! But it is heart wrenching to watch other family members, kids, parents and even teachers react so critically towards him. I saw this behavior towards kids who didn’t follow the “norm” growing up, and thought how awful it was back then. And it saddens me to see, despite how much I thought the world had changed, that people still are just as mean and judgmental towards a preschool age boy!
thank you for sharing!
Yeah, sometimes you have to wonder. If kids or any people were left to tjeir own choosing, how many would naturally choose the bright, sparkly and pretty things regularly. More importantly you have to wonder why people can be just so darn mean on a regular basis. What is their real motivation to care what anybody else does? Why is it that important to them, unless it makes them feel better about their own quirks.
I suppose if my parents were supportive of my needs to be a girls, I would not have been beaten so much, locked away an OD on drugs by doctors. I wouldn’t be such a loner now.
pretty much, my mother considered putting me on testosterone because i told her i was female, so 1 year later im her perfect boy, getting high every day to forget myself and eventually busted by the police. thanks mom. it feels so hard to be what i want to, now that so much time has passed, and the longer i wait the worse it will get.
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Your words bring tears of joy and regret. 40 years ago, my son showed similar desires. I was totally supportive, but let society dictate just how supportive I could be. I bought “her” beautiful clothes which she wore on weekends out of town. She was sooooo sad to have to go home and live in the boy world. But I thought at the time that this is what we had to do, that he would grow out of it. On those weekends away, no matter how cold it was, she always wanted to be in a skirt and boots. She was adorable at age 13 and totally acceptable as a girl.
What makes me sad is that I made her go back to our society’s “normal” during the week. Today, she has transitioned to 100% woman and living as a successful caareer woman, but identifies as lesbian, with a girl friend. It is sad to think of all the torment she went through internally, having to live in the boys world, when ll she ever wanted in life was to be a girl.
t to beat yourself up too badly, Christine, about letting society dictate so much. you had her best interests at heart. unfortunately society hasn’t changed all that much on how much it wants to dictate to others. I think as individuals we’ve become more tolerant as a whole, but culturally we still have issues with that which is outside the norm, especially when it involves gender. why that is such a big darn deal to others as to how you wish to present really is somewhat of a mystery to me.
Clothing style has less than nothing to do with any of this. Straight women wear pants most of the time. Roman soldiers wore skirts into battle, as did the Greeks and Scots in World War II. Fijian policemen wear skirts t-o-d-a-y. It’s only this society raising females with choices, and males without. This is entirely the fault of religion and psychiatry.
i think if girls wear boys clothing why cant it be accepted the other way around
t the very least, girls easily do wear boy cut of clothes, even if they are made for girls, with more vibrant colors and flair, so why can’t boys wear a more feminine cut of clothes? mainly because they don’t make them. sheesh, all clothing for males looks like it comes out of the same dye lot in color and cut. have no clue why they have more than one store for male clothing-absolutely no real variety.
Straight talk (no pun intended)?
Because masculinity is high-status and femininity is low-status. It makes sense for a low-status person (a girl) to want to be high-status, but the opposite is looked upon as unnatural.
If i ever become a parent, I want to be like you.
Good for you! I wish my parents were as supportive as you are, rather than forcing me to cross dress as my birth gender, a boy
If people were as uninformed about geography as they are about clothing and gender, people on the East and West coasts would not know another major ocean exists. People cannot even see what they’re doing raising children! Parents INCULCATE in females a wish to wear fancy clothes; they FOSTER in boys hypnotic suggestions that they should only wear plain clothes. THEN these same parents also offer plain clothes to girls! Whether a person of either sex chooses to wear pants or skirts is NOT as a consequence of sex, because choice is HUMAN, not sex specific! But in raising children, society has made choice sex specific only to females! An overview of history and other modern cultures is needed, and will never come from people who manufacture labels such as “transvestism.” In 1943 Evelyn Bross was arrested by Chicago police for wearing pants in public, a judge ordered her to see a PSYCHIATRIST for 6 months! On March 20, 1878, page 4, the New York Times denounced trousered women as an “attempt to merge the two sexes in one person.” On May 27, 1876, page 6, it called for women in pants to be treated “with the usual remedies in use at the best conducted hospitals for the insane” because they were suffering from “permanent mental hallucination.” On October 31, 1881, page 6, it said women in pants would be “an intolerable shock to the public nerves.” By 1912 there was only ONE woman wearing pants in New York state—Mary Walker. None of the anti-civil rights meddlers who hatch terms like “crossdressing” know anything about clothing history! The pants/skirts sex division came by way of men riding horseback, for which a riding garment was devised—pants. But it took many centuries for riding to place a majority of men in pants—circa 1550, pants were named after an Italian clown (Pantalone) who nobles considered ridiculous. Rome exiled men in pants in AD393 as political subversives. The Greek army today has a unit of men in pleated skirts; British Beefeater guards wear shoes frillier than any I’ve ever seen on women; Egyptian Tanoura dancers, men, wear full circle skirts with elaborate embroidery; male dancers in Bhutan wear petticoats; male Kathakali actors in India wear petticoats; Fijian cops wear skirts. A garment can only be a sex difference if by its configuration it interfaces only with anatomy specific to one sex. Only bras/bra forms in bodices and athletic supporters are sex differences. If men want to “look like men” or “dress like men,” they should shave less. Interference against civil rights by “mental health professionals” needs to STOP! They poison the well every time they prattle about crossdressing. If a man is however trying to present as a woman, he may without prejudice be called a female impersonator. If a man is wearing a skirt and presenting as a man, calling him a crossdresser is only an attempt to obstruct choice.
My son is autistic, and people stare at us all of the time. I’ve faced jeers, commentary, and hurtful words for him. He’s an amazing boy, and it’s not him who is to fault for the person he is.
What you and your husband are doing is beautiful. Maybe by the time your son is an adult people will have grown to be more tolerant of differences. For now, all I can say is that your son is lovely. He is lucky to be yours.
Blessings and well wishes.
its true…parents do love unconditionally…loved it!!!
I have been following the comments – I am a grandma now. When my son was young I worried a bit as he sat patiently letting his older sister dress him in her frilliest clothes to play. He loved it. She fixed his curls into barrettes and added play makeup if she had any to share. They played that they were sisters. And he just adored her.
Later, he was fascinated with swimwear and other sleek fabrics. He lay on the floor under my work table and covered himself with fabric scraps a couple times a week as I worked at home. Making long chains of fabric and tying them to the table legs and to himself. It was a bit odd and I wondered if I meant anything. But I could never put my finger on anything wrong. Just that it pressed my buttons of what I expected from a boy. I uncovered a few of my own hangups.
He is 28 now with a wife and two daughters. I share this because I think it’s also important for parents to remember that we know very little about who are children will be as they become adults but we like to try and outguess them. My experience has been that every time I try to do this I find I am underestimating their dreams and strength. We’re the ones thinking in in small boxes.
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Your story really touched my heart! I have a son who is now in his 30’s and has recently “come out” as being transgender. He will be going down the path of full transition including gender reassignment surgery. We reassure him that we love the person he is unconditionally regardless of the packaging. My heart aches for his tortured spirit and the unexpressed feelings he must have felt during his life trying to discover why he never felt normal or at peace. How wonderful for your family to be able to grow alongside your son during this discovery of what true love is all about. Yes, I feel the emotional pain of losing the son that I gave birth to…it is as if he were physically dying. It is a work in progress and I already see a look in his eyes that conveys peace and contentment that I have never seen before. In the end is that not what we all want, above all, for our children – for them to be TRULY happy with themselves and their place in the world. Thank you for sharing your story.
You haven’t really lost your son Gail, so much as gained a daughter, and nothing has really changed except the packaging. The PERSON you have always known remains untouched, but now truer to themselves, and almost certainly already happier for it
Thank you so much for reminding me of the fact that the real essence of who my son is will remain. He has demonstrated so much courage and strength of character in chosing this path. By walking alongside him and supporting him in this journey, I know I will be able to transition our mother/son relationship into a mother/daughter relationship. I look forward to the process with fear and trepidation, but knowing that it is necessary for my son to be the person inside and out that God intended him to be.
On a lighter note Gail, think of all the girlie shopping trips you’ll be able to have on the back of this. I suspect that you’ll BOTH enjoy those!!
“you can’t be you because I want you to be what society wants you to be.” That line really struck a chord with me. I’m trying to allow my two children, who are bi-racial (maybe even tri-racial, really) to expressive themselves in healthy ways. Recently, my son wanted to wear my daughter’s black turtleneck (that she couldn’t stand; she’s anti-turtleneck), so I let him. He told me the first time he wore it, that no one noticed that it was styled for a girl. The second time, however, a few people in his second grade class made fun of him for wearing a girl’s shirt. He told me it didn’t bother him, because he really liked the turtleneck. I told him some thing along the lines of how some people may not like him wearing girls’ clothes, but that was their problem, not his.
It is hard to let children, let alone adults, explore their inner desires, in a world full of judgement that seems hell-bent on traditional gender roles. Honestly, I’d love it if my son turned out to be a drag queen later on! I’d try to go to all of his shows 🙂
I love this post! It reminds me of the good intentions and much needed change of what’s “okay” in society. A boy wearing a dress won’t hurt anyone! Thank you for being such an awesome parent-I salute you. 😀
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It is really a wonderful feeling that people are really beginning to understand us and love us…thank you to everyone………………………..Jamie Lee This is an Inspiration to me!
Your post made me cry. I am not gay and either are my kids, however many of my best friends and family are. It broke my heart as I grew up to see these people who we supported at home ( I grew up and was raised that it was not only ok it was normal! In the midwest no less!) go out into the real world and be hurt emotionally and even physically. I make it a point in my photography business to let people know how much I love working with lgbt family and couples. I have received hate mail and love letters because of it. I make it clear that if me working with these wonderful people offends you, then don’t use me as your photographer. I think it is amazing that your husband and yourself decided to let him be who he is. It breaks my heart he has to hide it. In the end the friends I have are amazing people. If anything that pain makes them cherish their friends and family later in life. I sincerely hope he grows up to be completely fabulous and he will, because he has you all as parents and his family. It takes moments like this to change the worlds view one person at a time. We will get there some day.
Just a few points in question, it is not that long ago, that children under school age were called ‘girl’ whether they be biologically a boy or a girl.
Also, certainly in the UK, little boys were dressed in dresses, again till school age almost, we still put them in dresses for christenings!
Another point, the old rhyme “Pink to make the boys wink is not far from the truth” – it is recent again that girls wear pink and boys blue – it was the other way round at one time! Boys where in fact dressed in the pink and red shades and girls in blue and purples.
and lastly, as people know, Gender is not defined biologically, in Native american culture there are three genders. Male, Female and Two spirited, those who have a bit of both of them inside and all this is accepted as normal.
Now isn’t that a world we want to live in?
I think what you did was wonderful, I would like to know how it was taken by family and if he still wears his dress.
Just found your blog & read all of it. Wow! What an inspiration.
thank you for this! thank you so much! i have a daughter and i myself am bi-sexual and i discussed with her father how he would feel should she turn out like me. he frowned upon it. said he wouldn’t want her to be gay. he and i are not together anymore but i know that if my daughter ever wound up being like me, i would support her like you are doing with your son. i’m grateful to have your parenting example. coming from a religious family, i’ve always kept my sexuality under wraps but as i come into my own as a mother, i just know my daughter will not get any opposition from me over who she feels attracted to or what gender she identifies with. i thank you for posting this and i am following you now and i look forward to reading all about your blessed little boy CJ.
YOU ARE AMAZING………………………..JAMIE LEE CRYSTAL CONNECTION
Reblogged this on nealstotts.
The more I read the sadder I get. Not because of who CJ is, but because CJ has taken notice of society and feels that he has to hide who he is.
Wow! What huge chunk of UNSELFISH LOVE you must be to your children!!
Just spent half the evening reading through the replies in awe. I am definitely MAKING my brother and his wife read this post as soon as I translate it into Spanish… and I will try and make my friends read it as well 😉
Congratulations, not for the dress stuff alone, no no! Congrats on being so undefinably loving 🙂
A few minutes ago I just remembered of C.J. and his lovely family and then I realized that there’s been moooonths since my last visit to the blog, then I found out this beautiful and heart-breaking post. At the end I just think: “Wow, things are growing difficult but C.J.’s mom is fighting it with so much courage and grace”.
I never commented before, but I think It’s about time to come here and say: THANK YOU.
I have no kids yet but you are a inspiration to me.
Your child is amazing and so are you. May 2013 bring you much love and joy.
God bless you! Your children are so blessed to have parents that love them for their true selves. Wishing the best for your family!
Ok. I just read your entire blog (backwards, natch), and I will continue to return here for as long as you continue to write. I am so grateful to people like you for changing the world, one person at a time. I too continue to learn and grow, and I am grateful to people like you and your family for teaching me. Your family is beautiful. You are doing such a good job as a mom. And while I’m an atheist, if more so-called “Christians” thought and acted as you do, I wouldn’t be so convinced that organized religion is a force of evil in the world. So you’ve opened my eyes on that front, too. Thank you thank you. Please keep this going for as many years as you can.
What an inspiring post! I hope one day, when I have my own children, that I can be as great as you. I’ve always told myself I would be open-minded and accepting of my child’s choices, but I’m sure it’s harder than it seems. You’re an inspiration to us all!
This is beautiful, so amazing. I wish the whole world could think like CJs mom. 🙂
Well done you! I know your son will grow up to be a happy person.
What wonderful parents you are. I read your post through tears. Some were for your obviously
unconditional love for your son. Others were tears of sorrow that no one like the two of you were around when I needed this attitude most. I was an outcast in high school for being gay. It’s hard when no one will speak to you. And your parents tell you at 15 that if it’s true, you’ll have to find another place to live. My heart crumbled. For self preservation, I said that it was not at all true. I didn’t have the courage to tell them the truth until I was 42 years old. Just a little understanding and support, not even thinking of your wonderful attitudes, would have gone a long way for a young, frightened girl whose only crime was being gay. God bless you both.
I read your reply through tears. It breaks my heart that any child would be treated like that by the people that are supposed to be their rock. I told my son from the moment he was old enough to understand (at a high level) what being gay meant, which I think was about 7 years old. I told him if he ever had thoughts or feelings that he might be gay, he would never have to fear telling me and that whoever he brought home, if he loved them, I would love them and welcome them into my home with open arms. One of these days I hope to maybe foster parent some kids in this situation as I know I can provide a loving safe and accepting environment for them.
It always breaks my heart and makes me so very angry when I hear about parents betraying their child by kicking them out of the house at a young age, or withdrawing their tuition, etc, just basically treating them viciously and horribly because the child comes out.. How could a parent do that? And how can any person not be terribly scarred by that betrayal? I’m so sorry about what happened to you, Kathy. I hope a day will come where that will never happen again, to anybody.
Oooh, I second Greeblygreebly suggestion of the scarves, we had scarves at school and they were awesome! So simple yet so versatile.
Anyway you’re awesome for supporting your kid. The world definitely is changing, spread it around as much as you can and by the time he’s an adult maybe this all will be a non-issue, and his kids will grow up unconstrained by useless social constructs.
I think it’s great that you got him the pretty Christmas outfit that he wanted and clearly enjoys wearing. But having worked with a lot of kids over the years (teaching preschool and as a teacher’s aide in kindergarten) I have to take issue with the idea that your son isn’t normal. Normal is so much more of a spectrum than a set thing. Little boys wanting to dress in pretty frilly sparkly skirts and such is extremely common. In schools where I’ve worked that had dress up areas the little boys were always dressing up in skirts and boas and jewelry etc that would traditionally be considered for girls. Some boys were more into it than others. Some would only want to dress up during creative play time, some would run right to the dress up first thing so that they could grab “their” boa or favorite sparkly and put it on as soon as they got to school and wear it all day. In another school I worked at the children instead of having dress up clothes had gorgeous silk scarves of various colors. And the boys and girls would use them to make capes and skirts and crowns and veils and long flowing hair. 🙂 I would highly recommend the silk scarves as toys if you don’t already have some. They are really great open ended toys and are much appreciated by children who love pretty pastel colors and shiny, silky, lovely things.
I’d have to agree a little. I have a 5yo transgender child (MtF) and she is completely normal! We allow her to be who SHE is at home and school! She is a girl because she says she is. She wears girl clothes at school and is accepted as such at school too. She’s been invited to more birthday parties than my other kids have. This is her first year in school and her “best friend”‘s mom knows from the rumor mill that she is a TG child and is fine with it.
The more normal and accepting I am and our family is of our child it seems the more those around us are. We’ve been teaching the school to be less gender specific with separation of genders and more inclusive and maybe par off students based on what they like or love.
We’re not ashamed of our unique child with a birth defect in between her legs, and because of that she isn’t ashamed. She loves who she is and she is very happy with her life, herself, and those around her.
Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind!
Your child is truly beautiful, and will be forever thankful to have parents like you regardless of where life takes them. Be a proud mom, you deserve to be!
You are an awesome mom.
OK, so can anyone tell me why a boy wearing anything feminine is crossdressing and all it’s negative connotations, yet a girl wearing boy stuff is a tomboy probably at worst, and really cute at best?
I have often wondered the same thing. And why is it that a boy playing with a doll is bad but a girl playing with a Tonka truck is OK? I bought my son a doll when he asked for one because little boys grow up to be daddies, just like little girls grow up to be mommies. And now he has six children of his own. On purpose.
Because we still live in a really sexist society, so a girl who “acts like a boy” is seen as “trading up”, while a boy who “acts like a girl” is viewed as “trading down”. This is also clear in phrases like “be a man” and “don’t be such a woman” – being a woman, or a girl, or like a woman or a girl, is seen as a bad thing.
One reason I’ve heard that much of society is more accepting of tomboys/lesbians is around power and privilege. A girl being a tomboy = wants to be a boy, have more power and fun. A boy acting like a girl = giving up power and some think that is weak.
I hope to be the kind of parents you are some day. Truly inspirational.
actually your son was not dressed like a girl. he was wearing a dress, a piece of fabric he likes. thank you for not following society’s restrictions!!! (and maybe that point of view makes it easier to accept for people in your surroundings who are not as open minded as you are…)
Your Daughter/son is very fortunate to have a wonderful mother and family to grow up with. We all know what we are by that age and no amount of physical and psychological torture is going to change us, I know my parents tried. Its just a beautiful fact of nature and a gift. She’s very very lucky. You’re doing the right thing for your child.
Love this. I too have a gender creative son who would have loved to wear a dress for Christmas dinner. I”m still working on my husband though. He is getting used to our son dressing up in his sister’s princess dresses, which is a start! I just find it very unfair that little girls who are “tom boys” are so much more acceptable than little boys who like “girly” things.
Thanks for sharing your unconditional love. We all need this and you are an inspiration to all parents and grandparents. Hug your son for me!!
My family goes to Scottish Highland Games. 80% of ALL the men and boys wear skirts…they wrestle in skirts, toss telephone poles in skirts, compete in track and field events wearing skirts, play bagpipes and drums wearing, parade around the field wearing skirts, and sing to enthusiastic crowds wearing skirts. The amazing thing is that all the males who do not have skirts are jealous; that little boys all want to wear skirts too, and nobody thinks it weird. It might be a wonderful event for both of your sons as well as your husband to wear skirts together, where it is not only “normal” for men to wear skirts, but de rigeur. If you are in a situation where you can afford pipe or drum lessons, your son could have the opportunity to march down Main street wearing a kilt, and people would cheer. As you wait for our culture to embrace cross-dressing, you could in the meantime provide a widely embraced alternative.
While I sincerely applaud your support for your son, I can’t help but think that the judgements being made in some of these replies are premature, in terms of labelling. Nailing down a term to describe him, be it gay, straight, trans, or what have you, is unrealistic. That is a conversation that will evolve over time with the people he cares about. He is young, and has the rest of his life to deal with being tagged. I do, however, enjoy the term ‘gender creative’. I feel it is age-appropriate, and open to development.
This is beautiful, and I love the term gender-creative, too! I don’t even like to label myself, let alone my children. We all find our own way to who we are, and other people’s assumptions, words, etc often just get in the way and make it harder. Just knowing that your parents’ love is there, no matter what, is so freeing!
Dear Raise, I hope to read through each one of the posts here, eventually. For now, I just wanted to say what wonderful parents you must be. I am a late bloomer, and, as my email suggests, I started cross dressing at the late age of 23. I am 56 now. It cost me a 26 year marriage, several jobs, countless bouts with alcohol and drugs, and a LOT of time assembling my wardrobe. Self acceptance is CRUCIAL. Acceptance by others, though harder to find, is a luxury well worth pursuing. My mother, at age 86 knows, doesn’t understand, but accepts this. My 2nd wife, accepts it, but is SO conscious about how others will view HER if she is seen with me, that it is a household secret because she thinks her 21 year old son would never be able to handle it. I have to leave my house now if I want to dress up (because the femme side of me was concerned enough about his well-being to ask him back to live with us while he is going to school). Bottom line, your son should stick with it, and not settle for anything less than what he wants. I am so happy for you all 🙂
Bless you, a thousand times bless you! Transsexuals and transgender people are swimming against the strong current of society’s perceived need for conformity. That is changing, albeit slowly. It is lessening as we act as educators for those around us. You, your husband and CJ are doing just this. Thank you!
I had a family friend whose boy went through a phase of dressing as a girl for quite a few months … luckily he was only in pre-school – so no uniform … and then after a few months he just decided to go back to ‘boys clothes’ his choice – NO fuss made 🙂 … I can’t help thinking that alot of adults who cross dress probably started having this urge as kids and it only increased to the point of a fantasy because they were denied the experience. … Also I think the term ‘gender-creative’ is a great one … the kid’s surely too young to have yet worked out what his sexual preference is! … why assume he’s gay? … not all cross-dressers are gay … not all gays are cross dressers… he is what he is – and when he reaches puberty hopefully he will find his own hetro- / homo- / bi- / trans- / a- or other sexuality 🙂 … and to his Mum – I admire your strength and courage – I once babysat a friend’s toddler for about a week – and as he kept trying to ‘borrow’ my daughter’s dolls I went out and bought him one of his own … a BOY doll – a ragdoll kind of thing dressed kind of similar to Bob the Builder … and I was told in NO uncertain terms by his parents that he could NOT bring it home because it was a DOLL and boys who play with DOLLS turn gay!?!?!? … seriously I could not fathom what I was hearing 😦
My eyes are wet reading this story. Thank you for telling. And thank you for expanding freedom, your son’s, yours and everyone’s !
You know I like this outfit too – especially the JOY top !! As a kid, I’d have been very happy too to wear it for Christmas. I (still) like so much to play / experiment / explore myself with clothes. I guess we all do. And like for everything, some need more than others…………
Would love to know more about this story !
I think it is lovely you bought your son the dress he wanted. I also think he is not so unusual. Both my sons were “princess boys” they loved pink and glitter and barrets. They never got teased, and there were many other more “masculine” boys who asked if they could borrow a skirt or barret at school.
I think little children like pretty, glittering things. I think that children want to feel pretty. I think we impose on them what they “should” want as boys and girls. For every “Tom boy” there is a “princess boy.” I do not think we can predict the future sexual identity of our children based on these early preferences. But we can know that by respecting them, they are more likely to share thier future selves with is later.
This brought tears to my eyes, what a wonderful Mother, if only I would have had a mother like you, but I was in a different time,, different place,,, we have come along way,,, I admire you for the change of heart,,and I am sure you child does also,
oh my! you have me in tears. What a wonderful parent you are to be so accepting, and it takes real guts to go against what society says is acceptable.
I have a 4 year old daughter who will not wear a pretty dress, hates pretty hair styles and loves trucks, dinosaurs and ‘fixing things’ in Dads shed. When she grows up she wants to be a big dad, not a big mum. she wants a beard like dad, not boobies like mum.
We are going to struggle when she starts school and has to wear the mandatory summer dress. Thanks for sharing your story xx
You should watch Ma Vie en Rose (My life in pink). It’s a really good Belgian movie about a (in your own words) gender-creative-boy. It has some very beautiful moments, but also some very sad ones, since his parents and society in general were not as open minded and awesome as you and your husband are. Kudos on the way you are raising your child and thanks for sharing. 🙂
You should watch Ma Vie en Rose (My life in pink). A very good Belgian movie of a (using your own words) gender creative boy. It has some very beautiful moments, but also some very sad ones as his parents (and society in general) were not as open minded and awesome as you and your husband are with your child.
Cannot read all the reactions, and your are totally praiseworthy as parents. I would only hope that you join him — against the world — and say that he is “normal” — not in its uglier definition as conforming to a social norm, but in that he is being himself, and letting who we are exist MUST be normal (that is totally acceptible) if we are ever to have human sanity. Thanks for your account — and I assume you have seen the film MA VIE EN ROSE.
Why aren’t more parents like you?
What a relief to know that parents like you exist. as parents, it is our job to support and love our kids no matter what. instead of worrying about what society will think, it is most important to let our kids know that their happiness and our unconditional acceptance of them is what makes us happy too.
I couldn’t agree more, Shilo. Thakk goodness for caring. supportive parents. These parents are wonderful people
I think it’s great for you to be supportive. I just wish you’d use the term “gay” and not “gender- creative,” unless you’re certain that your son merely enjoys cross-dressing and is not actually gay, because, to me, it sounds like the term gay is something so shameful as not to dare be applied to children.
Just one more thing, please try and buy products/outfits made in America instead of imported made-in-China products from Target or Wal-Mart that support cheap, unfair labor. For your boy’s dressing fun, you might consider buying outfits on Ebay, outfits that were maybe worn once and are ready to be recycled, but look like new and will cost you a fraction of the price. That’s a great way to protect our resources and teach your son how precious they are, and that “slave labor” isn’t any more fair then being discriminated against for being gay. Thanks.
Pat, you too should not be talking either! As there isn’t just gays and cross dressers out there you know! This young lad could be Transsexual, I didn’t see that as a suggestion in your post, nope in fact we were left out completley! I think until he figures himself out, the term “gendr creative” is a good one.
Totally agree. Gender creative at this age is appropriate to encompass many possiblities.
This gay man totally agrees. “Gender Creative” is the most appropriate term to use at this stage of the child’s development.
Or he could just like dressing in girls’ clothes. The same way I liked dressing in boys’ clothes when I was his age. But that was accepted. I was a tomboy. He might outgrow it, or he might not. Either way, it’s only a big deal if you make it one.
Although there’s nothing wrong with “gay” why does CJ have to identify as gay now? CJ is not having sex yet. He may not know what that is yet. That’s something CJ needs to identify himself. CJ could grow up to be bisexual, pansexual or even asexual. Look up the Kinsey Scale of Sexuality.
Pat, “gay” means you are attracted to people of the same sex as you, and has nothing to do with what you wear or what your personal gender identity is. It is a term that children may apply to THEMSELVES, but that likely won’t happen until they hit puberty and start exploring their attractions. “Transgendered” is probably the term you were looking for, but that is also a term that you should only use if the other person identifies with it, not if you think it’s the right term to use. Cross-dressing can sometimes be an indicator that a child will eventually identify as transgendered, but not always. Sometimes it’s just a phase. Sometimes it’s a sign that they will see their gender as fluid, or androgynous, or any number of other things. But there’s no need to assign labels to a child that young, and really there’s no need to ever assign labels to anyone. All that’s needed is support of what the child wants and feels.
That’s exactly the point here to be made. No gay or just cross dressing judgments need to be made. He might just be a straight boy and eventual adult that likes dresses and purses and glitter shoes. But this culture cannot simply grasp that concept without going to the place that there HAS to be a this or that relatively negative assumption about WHY he likes that.
I color my toenails because I like it, and I’m a straight as they come, so I totally get that, and what you just assumed to, I’m either that or that, but I’m not. Try having to tell that to people all the time because they have your viewpoint, Pat.
Gay has to do with who you are attracted to, not how you dress. Just because a boy dresses as a girl does not make him gay.
Hi Pat! No offense intended, but I think you might be falling prey to the feminine gay stereotype here when you ask this blogger to use the term ‘gay’; It seems more likely to me that her child is transgender or gender queer.
All your points are well taken. I’m not very familiar with terminology, and I wasn’t aware that some kids go through a phase of enjoying gender-opposite clothing, especially male-to-female.
Your kid is fantastic and so are you! Something to add: Why is it so horrific to be compared to a girl?? I work at a pre-school and one week it was pirate’s week, everyone came dressed as a pirate. But when it was time for princess week some of the parents got furious. Dressing up as a character usually displayed as a boy: Good. Dressing up as a female character: Wrong. I cannot believe it’s 2013 and we still think like we live in Victorian times. (Sorry if there is any bad spelling, I’m from Iceland).
That’s really the most important question, and observation in these 300 some comments, sigga. That’s the crux of the issue, both here in the US as it seems in iceland, perhaps all the world over for the most part. Witness what happened in India. We can argue all day long about a personal expression is gay or merely crossdressing, and to be honest both are held in the same relative view of weird by society and popular culture.
So if ladyboys are really accepted in Thailand, which they may or may not really be, but merely tolerated in their aberration all expression, then we would need to understand their viewpoint of the place and esteem women hold and determine if that could be developed elsewhere. Perhaps what underlies that may be the view that changes the world about not only this aspect, but violence against women, discrimination, career opportunity for all people.
Obviously the howls of protest for their boys portraying princesses, but acceptance of their daughters being pirates or any other male figure is the real point and question. Great post sigga, and BTW our postings based on tabs and smart phones isn’t all that wonderful either. :). Do wish this blog had an edit feature for your own posts.
BTW. Mom, you can really see you hit the mother lode of feelings in this post. Good work.
So if lady boys are so accepted in Thailand, if they are really,
Your English is excellent! … better than alot of native speakers! 😉
you are an amazing mother. and you have a beautiful, wonderful absolutely fantastically brave lil one! may more familys follow in your lead.
I have to address something…because it makes my blood boil…The below quote….
“I disagree. I would not take you seriously cross dressed. I could not and I feel that I am pretty open. Maybe its me (and most of society).”
One is NOT “Open minded” if one judges another by their clothing. It is another form of prejudice. It is foolish, cruel and short sighted.
The problem with the world does not lie in the parents who let their children explore harmless expressions of self ( i.e. clothing,) it is in the people who state such asinine posts as above.
MichelleM(whatever) actually is wrong in her assessment that the parent isn’t teaching proper social standards by allowing her son to dress in girls clothes at home but boy clothes for school. In fact, there is quite a large problem because of that attitude. It is VERY normal ( and even more so…HEALTHY) to recognize that our work life and home lives are quite separate. It is also important to teach that there are the MichelleM’s out there that are so short sighted they can’t see the person for the clothes. The kind of people who would see someone in black and white and assume he is a waiter, etc. The kind of people who don’t see people, but see position/clothing/the material…. it’s rather disgusting. However, our Rainbow mother is helping her son explore who he is or isn’t or might be in a very gentle and profound way.
*I* am a goth girl at heart. *I* work in a school. I can not be goth girl at work. I wear khakis and bright colors to work. On my own time I love my all black and Docs…. I am still the same person who has been called ( in every assessment for the past 6 years) “the most patient, kind, fun, and reliable educator we’ve had in this position”. *I* am an example of the “dress for who I am on my time”. And when faced with the Michellem’s of the world I simply smile and forgive them for their ignorance….
Mom doesn’t have her son wear “boy clothes” to school because ” she knows it’s wrong for him to wear girl’s clothes”….she does so because the is, appropriately, teaching him that it is normal to have “work” clothes and “home” clothes. Uniforms are a normal part of life. She is also teaching him, in small steps, how to be who he is while slowly teaching the world how to behave….. a shame that it takes a child to lead them….but so it seems as long as we have the MichelleM’s out there…it is the children who suffer at the hands of their prejudice.
Such a shame. I’m a goth, and have been teaching for eight years, in the Catholic system I might add, and have never worn anything but black.
I live in a tiny little town, mostly Mennonite in Faith.
My son is the same. This year for Christmas he wanted the Barbie Dream House. The pure joy in his face I will never forget.
I am amazed by your acceptance of your son. He must feel so lucky to have the two of you as parents.
I’m now a 58 yr old woman, growing was hell, my parents beat me an in the end had me locked away with the mentally insane. I’ve had my gender reassignment surgery an I couldn’t be any happier. So congrats on you an your son an now daughter, let her be what she wants to be, its her life at stake.
Being trans myself I understand and support what you say IF this kid turns out to be a girl in fact. The possibility might exist that it was a boy who just likes dresses and pink and whatnot, and guess what? It would be just as OK.
Railroading to become a girl might be just as wrong as railroading to become a boy. I say: let the kid decide. And thank you parents! Very brave.
I found your blog on my lunch break at work today and wasn’t able to respond until I got home, but I felt the need to tell you that I think that you, your sons and your husband are amazing. It’s not much, but I posted a blog post as soon as I got home, in part prompted by my reading of your blog at lunch. If you’d care to read it, you can find it here: http://scribblenubbin.wordpress.com/2013/01/04/the-beauty-of-the-lgbtq-community/
LOVE this! Thank you so much for being such an inspiration!
I’m a 40 year old gay man who didn’t come out until I was 26 out of fear of rejection and ridicule from the ones I cared about most. My life isn’t exactly a fairy tale but I have a feeling if I was raised in a family like your son is my life would have turned out a whole lot better. You are special parents and are raising a special little boy. You’re amazing.
Oooo, I want to see those pictures of him in front of the tree and fireplace he wanted to take so badly. I’m sure the smile and love in his eyes with be simply priceless. That’s an incredible thing you both did for your son!! I was a little girl who always felt more comfortable wearing boys clothes than dresses and frill. I wanted baseball caps instead of pretty sun hats. My parents supported me as well, for the most part :). Good for you and your family! Keep it up <3.
Absolutely beautiful. Thank you for being courageous enough to let your son be who he is. A lot of parents could take a cue from you.
What wonderful people you are. And what a fine person CJ will be with the love and support you give him. Thank you, from all of us.
Thank you for this post. It is wonderful to realize that there are parents out there that will support their children in being themselves…no matter how painful it may be as a parent. Your son will no doubt grow up to be a wonderful person.
Thank you for sharing! We adopted a boy who loves to wear dresses. He first moved in with us as a foster child when he was 4 and now is 6. I will never forget the day we bought him a princess dress for his Halloween costume. We were able to capture the moment when he turned around and saw himself in the mirror. Both of us responded and said you looking absolutely beautiful. The photo sits on the bedroom night stand and we see it every night when we go to bed. The smile is priceless. Accepting our children as they are will let them grow up to be confident and self assured. We just have to remember to have the discussion that some people just might not understand and that is okay but it is not okay to be judgmental or disrespectful.
Love this story. I’ve got a special place in my heart for you accepting dads out there.
Absolutely beautiful. Thank you!!!! In our little corner of Vermont there seems to be an above average amount of gender variation and what-have-you acceptance; in our family we struggle with autism- and ethnic-difference-acceptance – the ever-new parenting party! Merry New Year!!!
Beautiful. I too have a gender creative son whom I love with every fiber of my being. I am glad I was directed to this blog. I’m going to become a follower!
Beautiful post….it brought me to tears. Your son is lucky to have you as his patent. Treasure him always!
Wish everyone was as good about people who don’t follow the gender stereotype as this child’s parents, I only hope that if this child does identify as female (rather than identifying as a male who prefers to wear stereotypically female clothes, which is what the article is saying) that they will accept and continue to support their lovely child.
Also as a side note, to people who think it’s hard to refer to someone without using a name or pronouns: read my comment again, I didn’t mention name or pronouns of anyone involved.
Thank you. Thank you so much. I just wish my own family had understood and supported me all those years ago.
If only more parents would show such acceptance and total love, there could perhaps be fewer suicides. People often do not realize that even small children can become depressed and by the time they hit adolescence they just can’t take much more. The ridicule and teasing they get in school or in other public places might be more tolerable if they have @ least one safe place @ home to be themselves and know there is nothing wrong with them. Unfortunately, too many have no place like that. No safe haven or reassurance that it is OK to be who they are. Thank you for being so supportive and understanding.
I am a male-to-female transsexual father of a genderfluid adult child. She was born my daughter, but is my son sometimes. Parents such as you and your husband are a powerful joy in this world. Thank you for parenting in the way that you do.
Let your freak flag fly, kid!!! There aint no other way to live!
I am constantly telling my three children there are no boys and girls toys or clothes. They are just toys, they are just clothes. My four-year-old son likes pink and occasionally plays with his sister’s barbies…when in the mood. Most of the time, he plays with trains and cars. He also “stole” his sister’s Lalaloopsy Ferris Wheel because he likes it and she never plays with it. So for Christmas, I got him some of the Lalaloopsy mini figures (a boy and a girl). Meanwhile, my two daughters couldn’t be more different. The younger of the two is the one who loves pink and the so-called “girly” stuff. The other is a tomboy. She likes her hair longer and likes makeup and dressing up..but its more like play for her. She is still trying to figure herself out. I had to live with my sister and my parents for a while. They sent messages to her that she was a girl and should dress and act like one. What they failed to see is she was being the girl she is supposed to be. I am the gay father who is constantly told by my family that she will be a lesbian and my son will wind up gay. If they do, they do. I’m much happier since I came out and became the person I’m supposed to be. My children will only know love from me, being who they are supposed to be. Gender and sexuality have nothing to do with external objects: toys and clothes and specific colors. They have to do with who you are attracted to and who you identify yourself as. These concepts are very fluid. Its a shame more people (specifically parents) outside of the LGBT community do not understand this. Stifling our children and telling them to fit into norms will only confuse them.
Orion, honestly, if you think only people “outside” the LGBT community are confused and confusing, and little understanding, you might just want to have a look. That is, if being “in” the LGBT community means just being L/G/B/T or anything of the sort, you might be shocked to see what some of them think and act like.
Anyway, it is up to ALL of us to help knock the barriers down, especially and primarily when it comes to such harmless and uncompromising issues as what clothes people wear (feels idiotic just to have to write this down). And by that I also mean even clothes which are not seen as “becoming” to an individual. As basic as that. Talk about garments “not fit for this or that assumed gender”!! We live in an overly-aggressive and judgmental world, in case any of us has not noticed, Too bad, too sad.
On a different note, wow man! What your life must have been until you got your guts together to have your family face your reality. Bravo on not letting your relatives tell your daughters or son what to wear or do, and especially not letting them tell you silly stories of “how a child turns gay”. Quite a shock to read that, especially after having raised a gay boy -some people just don’t seem to learn. I hope I have not offended you in any way, no offence meant.
Just grow stronger and brighter as a parent, and raise those kids of yours free thinkers, lovers, and free people above all 😉
Thank you! You are who I wish my parents could find it in their hearts to be.
A beautiful and touching post. Some day I hope people can just accept others the way they are.
I have 2 and a half year old twins. My son love dolls and his favorite blanket in pink. I know this might be just a phase as my parents say. They also say he is too young to understand. But I am always saying whatever he chooses in life i will support him also if my daughter decided she is also. Love is love. I was watching a show last night and there was a line that touched me, “God doesn’t mistakes and what matters is bwtween the ears.” I love reading your stories.
You are an AMAZING mother ❤ LOVE this so much!! PUT A GREAT BIG SMILE ON MY FACE!!!
Local designers turned a 5-year-old boy’s dress drawings into runway-worthy gowns as part of an urban art project.
I thought you and your son would enjoy hearing about this project.
Happy New Year!
Simple sayd: Parenting…you’re doing it right!
Respect from Norway 🙂
Out of curiosity… How did the rest of the family react (and how did your son and yourselves handle it)…?
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If we all parented like this our great grandchildern would only hear of homophobia in fables. Sending you and your family wishes for a wonderful new year.
I think this is an amazing story. I have been thinking lately about how I want to raise my children when I have them and this is it exactly. I want my children to be free to be themselves and I thank you from the bottom of my soul for letting your child do that.
Your son will be an amazing adult because of the loving and accepting way you are raising him.
Moving… it’s great that you accept your son for who he is. I had to smile while I was reading…
Best wishes for you and your familiy.
Ils, Antwerp, Belgium
You are great parents! With loving and accepting parents like you, your son will have the strength to face the hardships in his live. I was alway a very boyish girl,even when puberty hit and I got a very, very feminine body, I’d always hang with the boys and rather play videogames, read comics or play out in the fields than do “girls stuff”. Got me a few years in hell during my school time, but with the support of my family and friends who loved me for who I am, I got through this hard times. And so your son will, too. Even if we can not get all of mankind to accept everyone the way they are, if those of us who do show their support openly, it can give enough strenght to those who need it.
It amazes the number of replies you get from narrow minded people on here who feel they know best how you should parent. I’m a straight female who grew up loving boy toys as much as girl toys and to this day I loathe dresses. I avoid them and prefer odd styles. I can see being open minded with my child. My daughter is tomboyish by her own choice as well. I just let her be who she is. Took Me years to feel I could just be me. If girls can go outside the boundaries, why can’t boots?
Boys. This blog space doesn’t like smart phones
God bless you and your family! You are an inspiration. May the world grow more kind gentle and brave in 2013 for all our children.
I just shed a bit of a tear after reading this article. Thank goodness for you, your worldview, and a changing universe. More power to you. xxx
I am tempted to say “God Bless you!!!” but I think he already has!!!!
What a wonderful child! And, what a wonderful set of parents you are! Thank you for being accepting and loving. Far too many gender variant children are not so fortunate.
I wish my husband (who is now my ex-wife) had parents who had this kind of forward thinking when he (now she) was a little boy (girl). He was raised as a boy, and there was no moving outside of that narrow definition that said that anatomy=gender. So he grew up, joined the Air Force, married a wife, had a child, and then realized he was a transgendered woman. It is much more difficult to look female after having gone through male puberty, and because of this, she has a hard time everywhere. She gets stared at everywhere she goes. I wish her parents would have done exactly what you are doing when she was a child, (i.e., acknowledging who your child is and learning to live with that acknowledgment. Kudos to you and your family for your bravery and courage in the face of adversity!!
It’s wonderful that he has loving parents who treasure who is.. your family makes the world a better place.
Is your little sweety already so firmly decided about his gender identity and fashion taste at the age of 5? Wow! I had no idea it came so early to some people…
In any case, you seem to be loving, supporting parents and you will sure bring up a wonderful child without any scars on his soul. I sincerely wish and hope you will never ever have to face the hatred some harbor for families like yours.
I have a beautiful six year old girl that loves dinos, bugs, monsters and slugs. She likes to wear pants most of the time. Some people bat an eye, but it’s pretty easy for her, being a girl. It is one of the reason I had hoped for a girl. She recently talked about wanting to marry a girl, and I had to explain how that was still hard, but soon that should change, if that was really what she wanted to do, but all that mattered was that she was loved. We live in Alabama….nuf said? But I grew up here in the early 80s and I didn’t like football and I wanted to look like David Bowie. I lived in some very small towns (Greensboro, Odenville, Addison, never heard of them, have you?) I would eventually find The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and that was a place I felt normal for the first time. Me, gay, transgendered, nerds and other forms of outcasts. We all supported each other, and I support them and any like them to this day. Even though I wasn’t exactly transgendered or gay, even I felt that Halloween was the only day of the year I was allowed to be me. What a waste of 364 days a year! You are great parents, and I wish you kiddo all the courage to be whatever feels right.
!!!!!!!!!!!!!We support you!!!!!!!!!!!
I can’t thank you enough for just loving him as he is. It can be terrifying for children to just be who they are sometimes. There was a story about a man in germany that wore a skirt with his son and supported him. Thank you for being so kind and loving him.
I have tears in my eyes because I have known people throughout my life that had horror stories to tell about their parents or their childhood where they had to hide themselves in order to not be hurt. Both physically and mentally.
Thank you for being so kind and loving. Thank you for being an example of compassion and acceptance. Thank you!
That is the story and it is beautiful to see!
Yeah, the normal thing hurt my heart. First time I’ve read your blog so I have no idea if this has come up before. Your son could be “gender fluid”. If more people were aware of this, the “normal” range would be all encompassing. You did a wonderful thing & I bet that’ll be a fave memory for your son.
Your child is so lucky. my rainbow is 29 and I wish we had known when she was young. Instead he was 17 when he said she was really a girl. Today she lives as much as possible as female and I love her and am so proud of her for being true to herself. will be following with joy
This is really beautiful, I have so much respect for you, your husband and your gorgeous son. I hope with all my heart that the world will grow into a more accepting society, and every child can be free to be who they really are. All my support and love to you and your son 🙂
From one Mom to another: I support you. You’re doing a good job! And if I saw your son in a dress I’d tell him he looked fabulous. When we play dress up I always encourage the boys to try on the frills.. why not!? The world isn’t black and white, it’s the graceful arc of a rainbow.. and if we broke down these stereotypical norms there would be way more men and boys out there expressing their own level of femininity in every way and the whole world would be more fabulous and free.
Reblogged this on Loui24 and commented:
Lovely. This does challenge the way I think, but I see it as a shame that as a society we have a ‘default to male’ – what’s wrong with neutral?
I cannot begin to say how much I respect you! I, myself, had the same desires growing up, and unfortunately was denied them every time! You are an AMAZING parent and I am glad that your son has a mother like you! This story made me cry! Thank you on behalf of all us who are gender creative! You’re amazing! ❤
If we didn’t have christian fathers beating the gay out of their children, over the last 50+ years, I bet homophobia would not even be an issue in America. I mean, effeminate boys would not be so bullied and have such a hard time being accepted for who they are because they wouldn’t have to be so brave and fearless of pain and death to come out to the world. More of them would be open to their classmates and their diversity would truly be tolerated if it wasn’t for the tiresome efforts by the right to assign gender roles and condemn effeminate males. Really, those people should be charged with facilitating hate crimes.
I’m a 26 yr old woman, and an only child. My mom was heavily insistent on ‘femininity’ with me. My parents divorced when I was 2, my Dad gained primary custody. Some say he only raised me as he knew how to, and men aren’t supposed to raise little girls. When given a choice of barbies, baby dolls, dinosaurs or cars to play with at the age of 4, I’d go for dinosaurs and cars. When given a choice between football and ballet, I chose football. The reason for my choices were simple: I was happier. I liked doing tap and jazz dancing, but ballet hurt my back and legs. When I was 11, I’d usually wear track pants, sneakers, t-shirts, complete with the reverse baseball cap. I was happy dressing like that, though it was viewed as being ‘trashy’. I got asked why I dress so unstylish. My response: Because I’m comfortable in those clothes. Besides, do skirts and dresses have pockets for my inhaler? Nope. I’d prefer to carry a backpack rather than a purse. I’d rather have a wallet I can put in my pocket than in a purse. I’d rather go to a sports event than an arts event, although I do like some Opera. I’m a very affectionate person who loves cuddling with animals and I think babies are the cutest people on the planet. I am androgynous, always have been. Even as a young child, my friends were a fairly even mix of men and women. I love my Dad for letting me be me. As for my mom? I walked out when she got too suffocating trying to make me into something I knew I wasn’t, between manicures, pedicures, hair styling, and trying to make me dress in a more feminine manner on a regular basis, I just said ‘enough’ and walked out. I am who I am, and hopefully one day I’ll be lucky enough to find someone who will love me for who I am.
“More than anything he wants to be thought of as “normal.” But, he’s not.”
He’s a 5 year old boy, I don’t see anything abnormal here. Kids dressed up in each others clothes (of any gender) all the time when left on their own to play together when I was young. If he’s being though of as ‘abnormal’ for it, it just show what a generation of uptight, oversensitive, clueless parents there is at the moment. As long as kids are not putting themselves at risk of harm or harming others or damaging anything with what they’re doing just leave them to it!
What a lucky child to have such open minded and compassionate parents.
Reblogged this on leftyluggage and commented:
Some pretty emotional and amazing stuff here, great reading.
You are not just doing the right thing, you’re doing a beautiful and wonderful thing. Allowing your child the freedom to explore and develop himself freely is an amazing feat and you and your husband should be immensely proud of yourselves, and also of your son’s excellent taste; that’s a pretty fabulous outfit he picked!
I hope you all had the great Christmas you deserve.
I LOVE this post! I love that you and your husband embrace your son for who he is. I too wish society wouldn’t bat an eyelash at a little boy being himself, but they do. I know this bc I have a son with Autism, and when he flaps, and spins and stims, he is looked upon as being wrong. He is left out of playing with other kids, and he is shunned. All because he is different, and it’s NOT right!. I send you hugs, and I send you strength. Keep being awesome so that your son can be his awesome self!! 🙂
I just want to tell you how AMAZING I think you and your husband are for embracing your son. I can imagine it was hard at first but, you truly are amazing and he will thank you so much as he gets older, for being so supportive of him. If only more parents were like you. You’re so so special.
beautiful! thank you for this loving post. happy new year to your family.
I can’t find the right words….if I knew you, personally all I would do is hug you in joy.
It’s not fair.
it’s not right that I can take my daughter to buy dinosaurs and no one blinks, yet it’s a struggle for your beautiful boy to go buy a Barbie.
It’s wrong that I can take my girl into the “boys” section for jeans…but your darling son would get looks for his glittery skirt….
Know that there are those of us out here…who look at our “normal” children and remind them that those who don’t follow “normal” are normal for them and fabulous and beautiful and important to us.
There are more of us out there like you Claire. That is really great you’re teaching your children this, that normal is and should be defined as only that which is normal for you. Surely we have parameters that define true boundaries, killing others, stealing and the like. But what we wear, how we talk or think or play with certainly do not fall into that category. For some odd reason society has forgotten or completely disregarded that notion. For whatever reason for that I have no clue.
I applaud you for being so accepting of your son. If only the rest of the world could follow your lead and be more accepting of those who are different. You are an inspiration!
I love it! Especially because this unicorn loves all things sparkly and amazing.
I (female) was raised on cars, toy dinosaurs and jeans, and I was also raised on Barbies, ponies and ruffles. I became a tomboyish adult who loves to wear dresses and heels when going out but also get covered in dirt and play drums. Letting your child decide who they are naturally going to be is the best thing you can do for them!
I love this!
I have a friend that calls my girl a “unicorn” because she marches to the beat of her own drum and often is picked on.
The friend says “She’s a unicorn…she’s beautiful and everyone wants a piece of that and think the only way is to break her”
This is so true of all unicorns.
The truth is that you’re amazing and instead of embracing you the world tries to change you.
Don’t let it! I’m not letting it.
BTW… I’m with you…. glitter and sequins one minute, squeeeing in joy over a cool bug the next.
Reblogged this on and commented:
Sharing not just this post but the entire blog. Very interesting, I just added this to my follow list. “raising a fabulously gender creative son.”
I think the shirt says it all…Joy. How blessed this boy is to have mother that accepts him for who he is.
You are the most amazing parent in the world, and your son is the luckiest kid alive. Thank you for making the world an even better place to live in! ~ nerdwithtaste.wordpress.com
BTW, to the entire clan of CJ, I think you’re doing an amazing job of bettering the world incrementally so don’t let anyone make you feel differently. They’re wrong and y’all know it. It’s just hard to be a salmon swimming upstream all the time. As you can see, the vat majority of commenters here are in your corner. Best wishes to everyone in the new year. May your hurdles be lowered.
This is beautiful. Your son is an amazing young boy and I’m so glad that he isn’t the least disrupted by the sick society and my biggest hopes that he’ll continue to be whoever he wants to be and dress as snazzy as he likes. What the hell, men have ‘meggings’ now, sequin dresses are coming sooner or later, then you can use this in court and claim copyright.
Yesterday I finished reading all of the posts on your blog & like others, I, in turns, laughed, cried, and I was angry on behalf of you, CJ, CJ’s brother & CJ’s Dad, at the treatment you have been on the receiving end of. I pray that some day everyone will realise that just because somebody is different doesn’t mean they don’t deserve equal treatment, unconditional acceptance and love from all who surround them.
God chose well when he made you & your husband CJ’s parents. Continue to love him & accept him & teach him that there is nothing wrong with who he is, what he loves & how he behaves. CJ is a very lucky little boy!
On a slightly sadder note – have you seen this? https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=440685709320699&set=a.374935489229055.95479.363631153692822&type=1&theater
Continue to fight the fight for CJ & all other children like him!
I followed this Facebook link, out of curiosity, and wished that I hadn’t.
I wish that these Neanderthals would crawl back into their cave and pull a rock in behind them. I’m not normally in favour of censorship, but should this poisonous nonsense REALLY be allowed to see the light of day??
Angela, I agree! Scary that this is something that the American Medical Association is promoting. Of all associations, they should know better!
I also followed this link. I should say that I am a straight heterosexual male. However, I felt uncomfortable with that ad. I think people have a right to be truly happy with who they are and nobody should tell them who or what they should be.
There is no way the AMA supported that (and they can get in trouble for claiming otherwise). On the flip-side, 90% of the posts were lecturing the page owners about the pic! BRAVO to see support becoming more mainstream ❤
Just so you all know, the AMA is not a supporter of the post and the post is what is known as a “poe”. It’s trolling and nothing more.
I’m very familiar with that facebook page. The people who run it are asses. However, that particular image is not actually released by the AMA. I did some research and couldn’t find it anywhere from their actual releases. I suspect that the people who run that page photoshopped the image. They often post ridiculously biased studies and pseudo science to suit their twisted philosophies.
Oh if we could all feel unconditional love and acceptance like your son feels with you and your husband, what a different world this would be!
Heck, I’d settle for indifference at worst, and it would still make the world a much better place.
Good point Mark. Or if people could learn to just mind their own business as an alternative to being judgmental that would help too 🙂
I’d rather have the unconditional love and acceptance. It’s SO much more positive, and a definite step in the right direction, in my book.
Well, me too obviously John, but based on results, except in rather limited occasions, quiet indifference might be the best we can culturally expect, if that, for quite awhile. The troglodytes out there seem to think that boys liking girl stuff will bring down western civilization, but as we all know, there are a lot more candidates for that dubious honor way ahead of that. Just what does that say about us and our thoughts about the place of women? Not much I’d say. To rephrase the ad from the 60’s, ” you’ve not come as far as you thought, baby”.
I would like to think that if I ever faced such a challenge as a parent that I would do so with a heart as full as yours and with the grace that your writing shows. I wish you and yours a sparkly holiday full of those moments that become treasures memories and laughter that echos in your hearts for decades to come.
Merry Christmas and the Happiest of New Years to you, CJ and your wonderful family! CJ looks fabulous in his Christmas Dress!! Thank you for being one who lights the way to the true meaning of Christmas!
As a girl with a brother who also liked to dress up in ‘girl’ clothes when he was younger and loved pink, it makes me so happy that you embrace your son. BTW, he looked great! I am so glad that there are loving parents out there who accept their children for who they are; not what society wants them to be. I look forward to reading more of your blog.
I really enjoyed your story. I find it refreshing that you and your husband have allowed your son to be himself. Acceptance and confidence building starts at the home. You may be fostering the environment that will allow him to thrive in a judging world.
He is welcome at my house anytime and he can wear whatever he wants.
My only gripe is where you refer to him as not being normal. 🙂
Look around, “not normal” is great! I consider normal an insult now days. Einstein, Tesla, Elton John, Obama, Johnny Depp, Steve Jobs……not normal. But, how many do nothing losers, serial killers, wife beaters, and investment bankers look normal? Normal looking people most always look that way to hide something. Normal really just means mediocre, average, bland, inconsequential. Don’t call me normal.
I used to work at an expensive prep school and one of my kids’ mom wanted to meet me, because the normal looking guy before me was suspected of being a child molester. The next day the girl came and said her mom liked me, but she was afraid that if she told me what she said I would be offended. I said, look at me. I am pretty hard to offend. She said, my mom says she likes you because you wear you weirdness on the outside. I told her that her mom was now my favorite mom.
I used to work in youth development. My director also believed that we were in a much healthier position as an organization if we accepted those who wore their weirdness on the outside. In fact, she frequently stated that our intent was to serve “all” so we needed a wide range of role models in our adult volunteer base. I don’t want to get into specific organizational policies, etc. but one of our favorite quotes was “The BTK killer passed all his background checks until the day he turned himself in.” when we were challenged about why we didn’t follow the more conventional routes of vetting volunteers.
He’s as normal as thousands of us who would have appreciated the warm sensitivity of your actions and spirit, and wish we had a parent like you.
Not that long ago the steriotype was flipped. Boys wore pink and girls wore blue. And all children under 7 were called girls and wore dresses. I don’t think it was much longer than 100 odd years ago that this was the case. The term “normal” is really meaningless. As parents we too often over concern themselves with helping themselve “fit in” instead of giving them the courage to be who they are and be loved for it. The latter is the acceptance children (and all of us) really crave.
It was as if I was reading our own story!!! We are from México City and it was also our 5 year old son’s first Christmas dressed as a girl!!! He/she was soooo happy!! I totally understand your feelings watching his face with a huge smile!!!
You are a great mom!!! And CJ, as Kiki, are angels that have come to teach us something.
Merry Xmas from México!!!
This story made my christmas! thank you
I read your story..this is my first time reading your blog and I first and foremost want to say thank u from the bottom of my heart for supporting your beautiful child..i to have had the same battles he(she) faces. The only difference is I was born biologically female and live my life as a man..you are an amazing woman to support your child the way you do and to have the pride to use your stories to impact the world..u display the true meaning of unconditional love..god created you with an amazing heart and soul..he created your child this way for a reason just as I believe I was created this way for a reason..the path your baby has chosen is not any easy one but with a mother like u behind (her) she will accomplishment many things…i to am blessed to have parents and a family that accepts me but it wasnt always easy for them and sometimes still isn’t..its people like u that are and will continue to change the world..thank u
He looks fantastic! You are an inspiring Momma! Your son is very lucky, but I have the idea that you’re pretty lucky too! Merry Christmas!
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You inspire me. CJ is lucky to have you.
Good for you, better for your son. The world will catch up some day….(we can only hope)
We haven’t had kids yet, but it will (hopefully) be soon enough. Like most couples that don’t really know what they are doing, my husband and I like to hypothesize what we would do in every imaginable senario and situation we will encounter. OK, really it’s mostly me asking “What if [fill in the blank] ?” while he watches TV. Close enough :).
It’s stories like this that serve as an example of how truly live out the idea of unconditional parental love and acceptance. So excited to hear more of your stories in the New Year. 🙂
Unconditional love….you are a good mom…and hugs to you and your boy.
You should move to Thailand. Ladyboys are not only totally accepted here, the accepting starts at an early early age. I’m amazed at the support flamboyant children get from everyone–judgment is left at customs in the airport.
Bravo on loving your son for WHO he is. Beautiful.
Absolutely lovely. You are the best mama.
Really good one, thanks for sharing with us.
Thank you for allowing your son to be himself. He will thank you so much when he is older. I only wish there were more mothers like you.
Love your post and have a very similar one. If you happen to drop by mothlit, it’s the one titled, “A Question.” I can’t help but wonder with the number of stories like yours and mine that are out there, how many more remain hidden. But as more of us tell our stories, I’d like to think the world becomes a little kinder and more humane. Thank you for your honesty and courage.
You are a beautiful person and you are doing such a wonderful thing for your son! Bless you.
JOY & glitter ~ May he shine, May he shine, May he shine!!! You’re such a good mama. 🙂
Society’s ideas of normal have almost destroyed nations. Maybe it’s time for everyone to think outside the box and just be themselves. Bravo to you for encouraging your sons uniqueness to shine through!
Thank you so much for such a wonderful post. As kids we all wanted to play “dress up” and explore different facets of our imagination. My cousin wore dresses as a child and we never thought once of it, he felt pretty and my sisters and I were happy to have another princess at our tea party.
I applaud you for sharing CJ’s story with the world, and allowing him to express himself. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas. I am so happy that I found your blog, and I look forward to keeping up with your family in 2013!
I think as parents, we all struggle with the idea of ‘normalcy’ for our kids. We want nothing more than for our children to be exactly who they are, unless our friends give us funny looks or the kids at school think our child is strange. Then, we want them to be who they are, within the boundaries society says is ‘normal’. I love that you have placed your child smack dab in the middle of love and acceptance (not tolerance, which isn’t enough). I love your views and the way you state them. Thank you for sharing. Hopefully, if you post cannot make parents change their mind, it can at least make them think–perhaps planting seeds for the future. Thank you for your honesty.
Thanks for your post and being a supportive parents. Very inspiring and honest.
I think CJ has smashingly good taste! It brought me great joy knowing lovely child would be able to celebrate who he is just as he ought to be. Merry Christmas!
What a wonderful parent you are, I wish you and your family a very merry Christmas. xxx
I just discovered your blog and it is wonderful. I am the mother of a two year old boy and I think that you and your family are doing just about the most wonderful job with your little guy.
Absolutely beautiful…as someone without kids, this reminds me that this is an important question to talk to your partner about before having kids. We will definitely be having this conversation. Great job mom!
This post deserves a standing ovation and an applaud that can be heard across the entire world. This is the kind of unconditional love that our children want, need and deserve. How lucky your little boy is to have such wonderful parents to embrace him for who he is. Absolutely beautiful.
x melissa little
As a fairly butch lesbian who is frequently caught wearing men’s clothes (I’d never pass that old three articles of women’s clothing rule) and a public school teacher who sponsors her school’s GLBT Club (Prism), every time I read your posts, they bring tears to my eyes. I wish that every one of my students could have such accepting and loving parents. Thanks for always sharing your struggles and successes, and I hope some of your love eventually gets through to some of the people who are filled with so much hate. Merry Christmas! CJ’s outfit is simply magical.
Your acceptance of your son is beautiful. Every child deserves a parent like you.
I would, however, ask you to be a tiny bit more careful with your words. CJ is not “dressed as a girl.” He’s simply wearing a dress. And he’s not “not normal.” He’s simply not conforming to a standard.
Thank you so much for sharing this. As a non-binary male, I wish I could have “explored my style” like this as a child..
My reply was also going to point out that there is nothing “not normal” about CJ. Normal doesn’t mean part of the statistical majority. That right handed people outnumber left handed people by 4 to 1 doesn’t mean we call left handers “not normal.” CJ likes dresses. That’s it. That alone doesn’t tell us anything about his sexual orientation or gender identity, just his taste in clothing. That said, I think it’s awesome he’s growing up in a supportive environment where he’s free to be himself. What a precious gift to give a very special child.
YES! I’ve been thinking this since I started reading the article and the replies. Binary gender fascism causes millions of people pain, it’s time to kick it out of what passes as ‘normal’ in ‘society’.
What a touching story! You truly are a wonderful mom to follow your son’s lead despite your initial hardship. CJ will always remember you were there for him from the beginning.
That was so beautiful .. I’m your newest fan, and I wish a merry christmas for C.J and all of your family .. hugs and kisses from brazil 🙂
This…this absolutely touched my heart. Just good for you. Good for you.
Very touching story. I love u for accepting him the way he wants to be. He probably will grow out of it.
Parenting…you’re definitely doing it right = )
CJ’s not the only (gender-variant) male to be captivated by a holiday dress. At 59, I finally got up my nerve and made a taffeta and organza dress, which I wore to two dances recently to considerable approval. I won’t be wearing it for Christmas dinner like CJ will, as I don’t want to get food on it (I’ll probably be wearing my red jumper, or maybe a red skirt, with something green.)
I wonder sometimes if some part of me wants to make all the dresses and skirts and stuff that I was captivated by back when I was a boy, but didn’t dare even admit to myself to wanting to wear.
(And, no, I’m not transsexual or transgender. I just like wearing pretty things.)
Nice of you to let your son be himself! Awesome! Thanks for sharing.
Reblogged this on karsebow's Blog and commented:
My brothers are just like this, and have grown out of it some but they need to know this. Every kid should know that they can be who they want to be, not what they are told to be.
What beautiful, wonderful, parents your son has! If only ever child like him could had such amazing support and love at home.
Oh my dyslexic fingers this morning! Forgive me…I meant to say, “If only EVERY child like him could HAVE such amazing support and love and home”….
Reblogged this on eeburrah vision.
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CJ looks gorgeous. My younger brother used to wear dresses (as part of a phase), and has been dancing ballet since he was six years old (he just turned fourteen). He’s quite the ladies’ man, but we never got in the way of him being fabulous when he wanted to be. Kudos to you for being an amazing parent! Merry Christmas, and the best of luck in the New Year!
It’s sad to see that some people are making such a big deal out of this. Clothes are just items that you use to cover your body, nothing more and nothing less (unless we give it more meaning). I remember that when I was younger, my mother used to give me hand-me-downs of my brother’s clothing even though I am a girl. Did I care? Not really. I used to go out and play in the dirt, so it was better to use those clothes than some new girly clothes that I didn’t like anyway. And nowadays, because of how I was raised, it is very odd for me to wear dresses or skirts or any “feminine clothing” in front of my father.
Skirts were and still are commonly used by men in certain cultures. Even in European history, you can see that men wore long robes and skirts just like women. In Eastern cultures, outside of work, variations of skirts are casual for men. In fact, I know many immigrants who live in the US who have worn or recalled people wearing skirts casually in their countries. Only in recent history have skirts been considered girl’s clothing in Western culture. Because people are raised in this time in this part of the world, some are ignorant to realize that skirts were not traditionally for just women. And besides that, who exactly decided that ruffles and lace are girly while pants and blue are boyish? My guess is that marketers did this so that they could target their clothes to certain gender and age groups based on “what’s trendy”. Why else would there be a need to differentiate between boy’s and girl’s clothing?
I think that people are so against little boys wearing skirts or glitter, because they are scared. They don’t like that their reality of “what is for a boy and what is for a girl” does not fit, so they try to get others to conform to their views instead of just accepting the true reality. So what if a little boy wants to wear a skirt? You’re really making a huge deal about clothes, when you should be more focused on him treating everyone with respect? You’re going to fight with him over liking the color pink, when you should be more concerned about how he talks to his little sister? You’re going to force him to stop playing with his sister’s dolls and to play with trucks, when you really should be reinforcing his good habits of doing homework every day after school? Are people so superficial that they’ve forgotten the importance of things that truly matter?
Very good post Nessy.
How beyond wonderful you are as parents and the freedom your son has at home. Key word in last sentence is home. He already knows deception of his true self, I only hope his and your openness will continue to be the bright light that is. Enjoy your dinner and may your son continue to grow with strength and less deception.
I think what you’re doing for your son is beautiful! So many people these days don’t realize that children as young as five know who they are (even sometimes more purely than older kids do) because they have nobody judging them yet. Your son is very lucky and that Christmas dress is probably one thing he’ll remember for the rest of his life and that memory is the best gift you could have every given him!
Merry Holidays to your family!
Lots of replies by me to this fellow with the conformity issues, basically because I react poorly to his sort of rhetoric. I’m glad replies like his are rare here, because one of the main reasons I love your blog is the replies, and the flood of goodwill that shows me there are still really good and intelligent people around! Thanks for that, and for sharing! Happy holidays to you all, and hugs to you and yours!
Reblogged this on Oyia Brown.
Simply beautiful! You are doing a wonderful job. Sparkle, CJ and enjoy 🙂
I’ve read this article a couple of times before deciding to reply.
First, let me commend you on being a very loving parent, clearly you are and your son is lucky to have you.
However, don’t you think you might be reading too much into his behaviour? He’s only five years old; how much of what we are at five years old really shapes us when we’re at other stages of our lives? Not much in my experience. Children of that age range change their tastes and interests as quick as you can turn around. You seem to be actively fostering and encouraging something that it would be better to simply laugh off and roll with until it’s run its course.
Certainly wearing dresses won’t do him any long term harm. However, in the spirit of “Letting kids be kids” I’m not sure you’re letting him be who he is by so actively encouraging his dress wearing activity and making determinations in your mind about his gender at such a young age.
I’m against judging and pigeonholing people, but I’m not sure you aren’t in a way doing that to your son by reading so much into his preferences for wearing dresses as you have.
If he sees how much importance his dress wearing has for you and continues to do so through his life; once he becomes an adult will he be who he really is or will he be what you guided him, whether you intended to or not, to be?
Please don’t take my comments as critical; as I said, I have no doubts that you love your son. However, I hope you will have the flexibility to roll with whatever changes life makes to him as he experiences it and not interpret what he is at five years old to be the final template for everything else he might be through the course of his life.
If I’m not mistaken, the current thinking is that gender and sexual identities are fairly well set by age 2 or 3. After that, the environment has some affect, and can cause an outward appearance of identity, but the foundation had already been set. How one meshes the foundation with the environment would determine one’s success as a happy, functioning person.
Yes, you’re quite correct that such is the CURRENT thinking.
How many times have we looked at the current thinking of previous eras and shaken our heads wondering how they ever could have reached the conclusions that they did? Most likely someone in the future will look at our era in their history books and wonder how we could have reached the conclusions that we did. I hardly think the current ways we view gender will be immune to the criticisms of future generations.
Remember, humanity had an “Age of Enlightenment”. It looked pretty good in relation to what went before it, but doesn’t look all that enlightened in a lot of ways from our perspective.
In reply to this comment I just want to say “wow.” If she were ”
guiding” her son to be a typical boy you’d have nothing to say about it. She isn’t guiding him to be anything, just “allowing” him to be what he wants. Be awake enough to see the difference.
I know the difference between guiding and allowing, but you seem to be a bit blurry on it.
Allowing is the simple act of seeing something and letting it be. Guiding is the more complex act of actively involving yourself in the shaping of something.
Actively encouraging a behaviour, whether a naturally concurring or acquired one, is guiding.
I see evidence of a lot of active encouraging going on while reading this blog.
I have a child and know the difference between guiding and allowing in the context of parenting. She’s very much allowing her
Child to be who he is while guiding him to be a respectful, loving human. And that’s the difference I’m talking about. Sometimes kids go through phases and sometimes their personalities are presenting. Good parents nurture both, as long as it isn’t hurting anyone.
If my kid is excited about drawing and I buy him an art set because he asks for it, I don’t think I am “Guiding” him. I am merely encouraging him to pursue HIS interests. It is ok for me to get excited with him when he makes a beautiful painting. Why is it not okay for me to get AS excited when he makes a beautiful princess? Love is love is love and as parents, CJ’s are leaps and bounds ahead of convention. Why label it and turn it into something else? I have no doubt that should CJ change his mind as he gets older and not want to wear dresses anymore, the support that he has been shown will assure him that he can talk to his parents and that they will be equally excited about any other pursuits.
My older son, who is now 8, I was convinced was transgendered up until about age 5.5 years. From ages 2 on up he wore dresses everyday, and would even make random comments such as, “sometimes you go into the pool a boy, and come out a girl.” It got very intense, with there being a spike in wearing a dress everyday he came home from preschool (sorry to say, that would not have flown at his school, and luckily he never asked to wear one there, so I guess I got a pass). I remember pulling over one day on the road after NPR did a story on transgendered children, thinking, “that is my kid!”. Shortly after that point, things started to change. My son became more aligned with boys at his school who did not like girls, and the wearing of dresses slowly fell away. But I will say this; my son still has an eye for things that most boys do not notice, such as colors, textures and general aesthetics. He still has a pink desk, and has no intention of changing it! There are colorful crystals all over his room….I will have to see which way the wind blows with him; nothing seems predictable!
Great story, and your doing a great job!
On the Path to Emotional Freedom
Very nice post! But I have to say it . . .
” . . . would even make random comments such as, “sometimes you go into the pool a boy, and come out a girl.”
Shrinkage? LOL 😉 Best to you and yours!
Thanks for making me laugh out loud, George! 🙂
I’ve been following your blog for a while now! I love cj! Happy holidays to you and your family 🙂
Wonderful. What a beautiful read, it touched me. You are amazing & wonderful. Have a blessed wonderful holiday.
This is a very sweet essay. One day when he’s older, he’ll care a little less about what other people think of him because his mother bought him that dress.
Just so! Your reply makes me smile, and I thank you!
OMG, I love how people here are tossing around terms like gender dysphoria, trans, gay etc because a kid put a dress on. My straight, non trans son asked me as a toddler if Santa could bring him “yipkick” (lipstick). So “Santa” got him a huge assed make up kit and he loved it. After a month he forgot about it. Then at age 16 he went hardcore metal-goth for several years with eyeliner and nail polish (but with spiked dog collars and goth boots not dresses). I have always encouraged my kids to express themselves anyway they like and it rarely has anything to do with sexual preference, or so called gender dysphoria but learning different things and what one likes and how it makes them feel. If people get worked up over a dress no wonder people can’t accept people with a different skin colour or gay people….it’s only clothing for crying out loud…no biggie.
Thank you. Keep doing what your doing. And, congratulations on making Freshly Pressed! Enjoy your holidays, because you and yours are doing great. KEEP GOING!!
Do you see many little gender fluid girls? Growing up I always imagined my wife and my babies lol and although I think it was more finding clothes that fit my mom had to push me toward the more feminine clothing. I hated dresses around age 6 or so when I could accurately protest against them as my moms only girl of 5 kids I often dress up cause it makes her happy and she does manage to find clothes that flatter me as much as you can a large woman. But I am most comfortable with my beat up t-shirts and shorts. I tried ignoring that I was a girl but I am well endowed and have to wear a bra for modesty and my back. I think that us girls who are fluid often get overlooked in school it can be pretty tough in gym class and not wearing make up or primping ones hair they notice especially in a white-bread conservative town. I wish my mom had said the large over-sized guy shirts were okay but considering how accepting she is of her “doll” (which is a nickname I cherish because of the love that comes with it) being a lesbian it makes up for that. Do you see many? or do they fade into society well enough because if moms like u and my mom were out there more they would be so much more happy knowing its okay.
Girls have been more or less free (depending on their parents) to wear “boy clothes” and play with “boy toys” and do “boy things” for decades now. Society has far less reaction to that than to boys liking girl things. I suppose society sees such cross-gender interest as an upgrade for girls but a downgrade for boys! And that’s what needs to change.
I hope it does
This is wonderful. I’ve always believed we should never be afraid to be different (although, admittedly ‘society’ makes this hard for us) – you must be wonderful parents for letting your son be truly himself!
P.S. He looks positively adorable in those photos!
Wow, to say this blog post has balls is an understatement. Posting this for the world to see fails only in comparison to the courageousness of your parenting and acceptance of your son. I wish the entire world could be more like you. “More than anything he wants to be thought of as ‘normal.’ But, he’s not.” Normal is subjective and truthfully not something anyone should strive for. Embracing yourself if life’s goal and you’re doing your son more of a service in his early years than anyone I’ve ever heard of. Maybe this marks a change for the better in future generations. I can only hope so. Thank you so much for sharing such a touching and personal post.
“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” -E.E. Cummings
This is so awesome and touching. What a great blog post to make it to Freshly Pressed. I’m so happy I saw it – you absolutely made my day! I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas!
What a perfect christmas story. May your son always carry the courage and assurance to be himself, despite the world. Most importantly, kudos to you, Mom, for being exactly the kind of Mom that your son needs. Thank you for sharing. 🙂
You and your son are both beautiful people.
Thank you for existing.
I applaud you! It isn’t everyday that you read a story that shows so much compassion for individuality. Thank you for sharing. This was heartwarming; bringing tears to my eyes… In particular, reading about how he wears regular clothes so he won’t be teased. No child ever wants to feel isolated or “different.” I pray for you and your family and I thank heaven for children/people like your son and you.
Again, thank you for sharing!
There’s only one thing that I’d change here – “No child should ever feel isolated, or afraid to be “different.”” Otherwise I’m with you 100%.
That’s got to be rough to deal with. If I had a son or daughter and they refused to follow convention, I guess I’d let them do that to some extent – but it would still be rough, just because of how society is. Often, you just need to maintain a certain image.
I do think it’s annoying, though, how some people think that kids must be gay or transgendered when they flaunt traditional gender conventions. .Kids are kids. Often, a five year old boy just doesn’t understand why boys shouldn’t be able to wear dresses. It’s just an arbitrary thing that adults assume is some kind of natural rule because we’ve grown up with it. To a lot of kids, it probably doesn’t make sense.
All the best to you and your son.
To a lot of adults, not only kids, it doesn’t make any sense either.
Wow. You are an amazing mother. Good for you for letting your son be an individual whether that means fitting into societal “norms” or not. Letting him truly be himself is the best thing you can do for him!
When I read: He wears “school clothes” so that he won’t get teased, have to sit by himself at the lunch tables and so he will get invites to birthday parties. More than anything he wants to be thought of as “normal.” But, he’s not.
It hurt me because if I remember correctly when I was your sons age I was one of those “society” people that would of judged him. One that just wouldn’t understand what was actually going on. In all reality it is just a person living their life. Not my life, but their own. A lot of times we humans tend to forget that the same choices we have in life other people do too. There is no right or wrong way to live life, there is just your way to live life.
It kills me to know that we still live in an age where people are still stuck in their ways and don’t have an open mind. I thought that by now we would have seen it all and not be so judgmental about things like sexuality. That is one of the things that we can literally say we’ve seen it all in. But yet as a race we still wont accept it. Its sad that people like your son and so many others have to live their lives according to societies standards just to be at peace with themselves. So that then in private they can be happy. Everyone should have the ability to be at peace and happy without someone else’s approval.
I am glad to say that I am not the same way I was growing up. Things change and I accept that. People try to fight change like they’re going to win. Change is going to happen whether you’re aboard or not. Might as well change with change and make it easier on yourself rather than try and fight it to then lose and change anyway. And the most important and overlooked detail about change is that change isn’t physical. Its mental, if you accept the change in your mind, your body and soul will soon follow suit. For example, this blog is about a little boy wanting to dress as a little girl. If you are a straight person you don’t have to turn gay to understand where this person is coming from, or to even agree with it. You just have to accept that there are all kinds of people in this world with all kinds of different likes and dislikes. CJ’s parents you are the perfect example of what a loving and caring family should be, SUPPORTIVE. We all say that we love and care about others, but do we love and care for them enough to support them and their choices?
It takes a lot of strength to allow you child to be who he really is and not allow society to dictate who he “should” be. CJ will grow up confident, strong and be able to make a difference in the world. I truly wish more people were “allowed” to just be who they really are and I hope your readers learn a little something from you – listen to your heart and not someone else’s. Although I don’t share your struggle, I happily have a daughter who refuses to follow trends, friends and is determined to find her own identity and truly be an individual. Gender is irrelevant (or should be) and no child (or adult) should ever be judged just because their individuality makes someone else uncomfortable. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!
Good for you letting your son be who he wants/needs to be. Forcing him to adhere to something he isn’t would only cause him to grow up and resent you and his dad. He sounds like a neat kid and you sound like great parents.
You are wonderful ~ your son is fabulous. I love this post. It made me smile and teary all at the same time. Happy Holidays and I hope your son rocks the party with his sparkling personality.
Lovely. Truly lovely.
This post made me tear. I hope the society can be more open and accepting – because everyone is their own person. No one, NO ONE has to pretend to be someone else just so that he/she doesn’t have to get teased or ridiculed or bullied.
And he looks beautiful. 😉
If more parents were like you we would have less homeless lgbtq youth! We should all follow your lead and that of celebrities and give to address this crisis. See my piece on this important topic. Thanks for the inspiration!
Dear CJ’s mom,
Parenting is the most difficult of tasks. All a child needs to know is that you love it, unconditionally. As a parent who has made many many errors, and is still stumbling around clueless, all I can say is that I applaud you!
Have a wonderful festive season!
Kudos to you. I hope he’s happy in his dress.
You are a great mum and I think your son is very lucky to have you as his parent. I’m sure his dad is great too, just not terribly heavily featured in this blog post. 🙂 Merry Christmas to you all.
A world without labels. A world of acceptance. Your family is moving towards that goal.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
It’s a terrible fact of society that shaming someone for being different from the herd is seen as acceptable. I think CJ is lucky to have parents who are so supportive, and I just wish that the rest of society could see that whether he ends up being gay/straight/otherwise DOESN’T MATTER – and what he wears has no bearing on his eventual sexual orientation or preferences. He likes color and flash right now. There is no shame in wanting to feel good about yourself. If dressing this way makes him feel good, there is NO shame in it.
At one time, it was completely unacceptable for women to wear trousers, because they were considered “too masculine”. Women who cut their hair short were *GASP* not “morally right”. There was also a time, back in ancient Rome… where MEN wore the long dresses, and women wore the short ones. It comes down to the local “majority rule”. Whatever the majority thinks is right/acceptable/moral, is good. Whatever the majority thinks is wrong/unacceptable/immoral, is evil. Societal acceptances change. Just not fast enough.
You are the bomb. You really are. CJ looks fantastic.
I am sorry children are children and you need to set boundaries. I have a daughter and I would never allow her to dress like a boy. If your son came to you and told you he was tinkerbell would you go along with it and believe he is tinkerbell? No you would not. Pretend is pretend but as parents you need to ground your child in reality. I think you know better as well and that is why you do not let him dress like that publicly or why you mask the pain.
I am not saying you are a bad parent you are extremely broad minded from what I have read but at a certain point you need to draw the line as a parent. It is wrong.
Speaking as a girl who was never allowed to dress as a boy (I believe my mother was worried that this would make me gay) I can say, for a fact, that this will stay with the child into adulthood. I am now a woman, who dresses as a man, and I can say, the times when I was forced to do ‘girl’ things, vs the ‘boy’ things like I wanted, caused me resentment and pain.
You should not have been allowed your mother was right. You dress like a man now and your probably get funny looks just like if I want to dress like a pirate everyday. Expect not to be taken serious and stop begging for attention.
This kid and his mom have never denied that he’s physically a male – he’s simply a girl on the inside.
What society deems ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ are always changing. Pink was totally a boy’s color back around the 1900’s, and you can bet your britches that your grandpa or great-grandpa wore it as a baby. Blue was for girls. And you know what? Most people from that time are heterosexual. It did not churn out a massive wave of people who were gender-confused. Go back even further, and for *hundreds* of years, young boys were dressed in dresses! Don’t believe me? Check it out:
And it’s never done boys any harm.
Considering that girls are allowed and encouraged to play with boy toys and wear pants and all that jazz, it’s rather sexist to say that boys aren’t allowed to do the reverse.
Please do not cherry pick history to support your claims. They had slavery to so was that okay or can society evolve?
Girls are encouraged to play with boys toys? When? I grew up with four sisters and I never saw that.
You make very little sense and your unsupported claims that everyone was once hetero? Really there are studies?
It is not sexist. You are a moron.
I grew up as the younger of two girls in the 50s and 60s and was encouraged to play with whatever I liked. I loved dolls – they were my family – but one of my favourite Christmas presents was a train and track. I also loved to play with trucks, graders, etc. My mother, who was a single mother and a kindergarten teacher, had no problem with whatever I played with – or read. She valued imagination and knowledge very highly.
“Girls are encouraged to play with boys toys? When? I grew up with four sisters and I never saw that.”
I begin to see where your rigid opinion comes from . . .
“You are a moron.” Oh, you win.
If you’ve sufficiently read this blog, CJ has shown publically, and it’s only been recently that he himself has dressed more to conform. So it’s mainly about his choices, no one else’s and no harm by his choices is being done to anyone. We’re not talking drinking alcohol, or eating nothing but twinkies. It’s about color and cloth that makes him happy. Figure out what the real issue is for you. Because it’s really not about setting boundaries,
The real issue is that it is wrong to let a child cross dress. It is not a “choice” to dress one way or another. Kids will play dress up. Again if he wanted to dress like superman or tinkerbell you would not let them dress like that everyday. It is fantasy not reality.
I have no hangups. It is not my child.
Set a boundary was my only point. As a parent you know it is wrong.
Oh, you do indeed have “hang-ups”! What is right or wrong is not for you to declare. Every parent makes those decisions based on their own opinions and experiences. How one dresses themselves or their child is certainly a choice! This is not the 1950’s.
I wonder what experiences your reaction is really based upon.
You need to google gender dysphoria, and quickly. I’ve only read this one post, but I plan on reading more. From what I can tell, this little boy is outwardly male, but he feels trapped inside that body. If your kid came to you, and very genuinely and honestly told you that they thought they were supposed to be the opposite gender, who are you to say otherwise? Just because you don’t understand what he’s going through, doesn’t at all mean that you have any right to judge him or his mother. If he wants to wear dresses, and he’s mature enough to explain why, why shouldn’t he look fabulous? He’s rocking that outfit!
My Father had a similar attitude. For a long time I lived his life and not mine, and for 60 years I was as big a failure as he was too. Then I took my own path, and became truly happy at last.
You know nothing of CJ’s reality, and it is his/her reality that we are discussing, not yours, or mine, or that of CJ’s parents or society in general. Your boundaries may be fine for you, but you cannot expect them to be suitable for everyone; one size does NOT fit all. Nor should boundaries necessarily be totally inflexible; circumstances change and sometimes it is right to relax or move boundaries a little – or even a lot – or to dispense with them altogether.
By all means advise a child and point out the difficulties and dangers along the way but, in the end, a child has to be their own person, rather than an imperfect reflection of others, in order to find true happiness.
Well said. I think though people start a blog for feedback and I just gave mine. I do not think that either mother or child are bad I just personally, myself think that it is right. If I was to be in public and see a little boy dressed like that I would never say a word to either child or parent.
As a society though we need to set perimeters of what is acceptable. You have to for some semblance of structure. Why can I not walk around dressed like a viking everyday? Because I will not be taken seriously that is why. I need to function within a society and adept so I can contribute. I could refuse and where horns, the whole bit, but then I have to expect I would not have the position I have and not be able to really find employment.
It is not my life that is true I am only stating a view. I think the mother sounds pretty incredible.
Ultimately it is what you do, and who you are, that will impress. What you wear will become irrelevant, and soon forgotten; what you were will be remembered.
I disagree. I would not take you seriously cross dressed. I could not and I feel that I am pretty open. Maybe its me (and most of society).
“Never judge a book by its cover.” We are all far more than just the clothes that we wear.
It’s about appropriate wear for the situation. No lady would wear a cocktail dress to work, you could star your Viking outfit all day long doing hardworking, who cares? On a warm summer eve a man in a nice skirt at home would be fine. At work probably not as it would cause too much distraction for everybody, as would your Viking outfit. But then again, a 3 piece suit doing hardworking nobody would take you serilusly either.
>shrug< Note that CJ wears boy clothes to school, and his lovely new dress is for a special holiday dinner at home. He's already learning the boundaries. Hopefully, his own children will have less of them to adhere to!
No we are not by societal standards.
You keep mentioning being taken seriously. For many like yourself, that may be based on appearance, but for many others, the old adage “Don’t judge a book by its cover” is the rule.
For example – The only time I wear a tie is to a funeral – maybe. Personally, I react poorly to displays of authority. It’s a childhood thing. I learned very early on that those with authority don’t necessarily know what they’re doing.So, I don’t like suits or ties. That’s just me. When I’d go into a situation where others had ties and I did not, it made certain others reveal their own foolishness by their disdain for my tie-lessness. If that’s where their attention lies, with the appearance, that tells me all I need to know to defeat them. I have been underestimated many times for my appearance. It’s a catastrophic mistake. I’m in my mid-50’s now, and retired years ago. I’m an artisan woodworker, and an aspiring writer. I still dress as I please, and sometimes I even do it to make a point!
I don’t understand this guy comparing a boy dressing as a girl to dressing like superman, or a viking. Trans people don’t identify as ‘dressing up’, it’s just dressing.
I have a lot of trans friends, and have volunteered with a choir that has had female to male transgender people to join and learn vocal techniques that help them manage their changing voice (from hormones).
A lot of them identified as trans from a very young age.
Someone who has gender dysphoria is not ‘dressing up’, your use of the term highlights your lack of understanding. This parent is simply allowing her child to identify how they feel most comfortable and happy. I’m sure they have made it clear that whatever decision the child makes later, with regard to their gender identity, they will not judge them and will continue to show nothing but love. I have read several of the posts, and that much is clear.
You don’t have to do this with your kids. Maybe your kids don’t present this parenting challenge, and so you can’t relate to the situation. These parents have reacted in a brilliant way and your opinion that they are ‘wrong’ is blunt and ill conceived.
CJ’s Mom IS dealing with the reality of their situation. It seems to be you who are trying to bend reality to your own will. Teaching children the rules of society is one thing; Forcing them into a shape that is damaging to them is quite another. We now know there are times when it is society that must bend to fit reality!
George you have too much time on your hands and you care way too much about someone else opinion whom never said I am right and you are wrong.
You call me a moron? Well I think you show your own ignorance there since you know nothing about me or my life. I could tell you what I do for a living or the level of my education but then I would feed into your hateful and foolish remarks.
Lastly as far as being taken seriously. I did not set the standards of society that people will accept. If you came into my business dressed as a pirate, a viking, a turtle, the opposite sex and think you are immediately going to be taken serious you are wrong. That is a fact.
This is also my last comment on my thread. I need to get back into my life and things that truly concern me.
Not sure why you feel this is ‘wrong’?? How can a child wearing what he/she wants to wear and feels great wearing ever be ‘wrong’? Does you daughter make any choices of her own or is she not allowed to do that either. My 2nd daughter hated wearing dresses so I never forced her to do that….she is now a beautiful 25 yr old lesbian who has an amazing partner and happy average life. I would hate to think would damage I (and her father) could have done to her spirit if we had forced her to wear dresses or do dance instead of basketball.
Saying ‘a son wanting to wear a dress is wrong’ is what I consider actually failing as a parent not the other way around.
I think you are rude.
I have a daughter. She fell in love with the color “bwack” when she was 2. I haunted thrift stores to find black clothing. She wore mainly black for months – everything from black velvet dresses to black BOYS clothes. She is 10 now and wears mostly girly things, but it’s her choice, not mine. I think when we stop acting as if our children are ourselves in miniature form, we then allow them to become themselves. Of course, I also don’t give a damn what other people think about me, and I know I am raising an emotionally happy child who gets to be herself and not a mini version of me. If society, or the neighbors, don’t like it, well that’s on them. It’s not my problem. CJ’s mom is doing the right thing allowing her son to be himself. The pain is masked and he’s not dressed as himself in public because of attitudes like your post. Our children are not our possessions – they have minds of their own. It is so much more important to raise children who are happy in their own bodies and have enjoyed the journey called childhood.
Where’s this kids dad? Is he around? Everyone is saying that you’re great and supportive but I just want to know if this kids dad is around or has influence in his life. Also, did you have an unhappy childhood? These are all legitimate questions that I hope you have answers to. Honest answers. I love the gay community or transvestites or any other person that isn’t deemed normal but I can’t just give you praise without knowing you a little more. I can’t making assumptions about who you are based on what you post, because I know you’re the editor and you have full control of what you publish and how you choose to represent it. Please post my replay and a valid answer. I’m just a guy in Los Angeles and I sincerely hope that I am not coming off as critical or ill willed.
What a wonderful blog and a fantastic post! Nobody ever warns you how heartbreakingly difficult it’s going to be to be a parent. You are doing an amazing job. I live in the Bay Area where kids are more supported in their creative choices than elsewhere, but having a kid who is original in any way requires a whole other level of strength — no matter where you live. Happy holidays and keep up the good work.
So glad I stumbled upon your blog! Whatever outfits your son chooses to wear as time goes by, what will truly help him become his best self is your unfailing, unconditional love. Bravo to you!
…it’s so beautiful….acceptance is hard at the beginning but always joyful at the end. 🙂
I am so glad you’re being a really supportive mother. I hope your son will continue to grow while you, being his mother, will continue to love him. I’m not sure if your son is already doing this, but I think it’s good to put his talent into something useful like theater or drama.
You rock. Really. You do.
What a beautiful tribute of love and acceptance.
Reblogged this on Central Oregon Coast NOW.
P.S. I, too, used to turn my back to the mirror and close my eyes when putting on mom’s clothes.
Kudos to you and your husband for defending and celebrating your son’s feminine expression. We have had too many horrific displays of males obsessed with their displays of power and dominance.
Why such things are valued more than beauty, creativity and honest human vulnerability escapes me. What greater contribution to the world can their be than the smiling face of a child? No amount of money or power can ever bring that. Best to you and yours this holiday season and in the coming year.
What a lovely post. I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season!
This is so beautiful. He is beautiful, and you are beautiful, amazing parents for accepting him as he is. Hope you have a wonderful holiday!!! XOXO
I just wanted to say that you are truly amazing and that your son is beautiful. He has every right to be who he wants and who is society to stop him? I wish the rest of the world would be as encouraging towards difference as you are. It would make the world a much happier place. Thank you for sharing this piece of yourself with us readers. Who knows, you may have just changed someone’s outlook on life. Happy holidays to you and your beautiful family!
Children just need love and acceptance and yo are clearly giving your son both.. Bravo !!
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Thank you for sharing! And keep up the great work in all your efforts to be supportive parents.
I just want to say thank you for allowing your child to be himself. He will learn courage by seeing yours. Best wishes to all of you.
Hi! I wanted to leave this short story with you: http://www.ivanecoyote.com/story/22/i-wear-dresses
With parents like you, your son will be all right. God bless you all.
I wish I knew what I really felt about this. Clearly you love your son and want whats best for him, but the future is not that clear and decisions are not that clear either. Who knows what the future will bring. We had a son grown up who found and loved a pair of Pink Boots was creative in how he dressed, played with dolls etc. I think we did what you did. We protected him and allowed him the freedom to explore at home where he was safe. Dressed like a boy at school to avoid bullies etc. Now he is 23. He took 5th place in the US in Jiu Jitsu, majored in English, he is a calvory scout in the Army and plays guitar. He couldnt be more straight. But he is also angry at us. He said I had 3 sisters, he said, of course I played with dolls and played in dresses, but why did you let me do all that other stuff. The pictures and stories we had from those years are not positive stories for him. He blames us, in some respects for not clarifying rolls for him. Best of luck. There is no clear path.
It sounds like you were great parents. I’m going thru this with my 4 year old son and I just want to make the “right” decisions for him. Sounds like I could be “damned if I do damned if I don’t”. Ugh!!
It is my understanding that studies show that for “feminine” boys, some will be gay, some are transgender, and for some it is just a phase. Whatever it ends up being, it is inside your child and was settled before he was even born! The best thing you can do is to let him be himself (or herself) without shame. Let your child know that you love them unconditionally and that your home is a safe place for them. It will go where it is going to go but you will have a child that is confident in who they are and knows that they will always have someone who loves them. Best you can do.
It could also have nothing to do with you, and everything to do with him.
To use myself as an example:
I am a homosexual male who at one time in my youth used to indulge in trying on my sisters dresses, wearing blankets on my head as though they were long flowing locks, and playing with barbies and stuffed animals many and most days after school. I wasn’t necessarily supported by my parents, but I also wasn’t stifled.
I still remember growing up and feeling ashamed however. I see how I am captured on film and in pictures, and I am embarassed. I resent that I displayed myself like that for people in the now to see and tease.
I don’t blame my parents, but sometimes it’s easier than blaming myself. And more so, I don’t believe I should really have anyone to blame. I am okay with who I am, and I know that being gay is the path in life I need to follow to make myself happy–it’s the only way.
“There is no path that lets me live my life other than this path. Therefore I walk this path.”
I have a confidence within myself to know that this is my truth. And I’m not saying I share this truth with your son, and I’m not saying I don’t share this truth with your son. What I am saying though is that perhaps your son has not truly found himself yet if he holds his identity and his dignity at a value to be determined by others, and is comfortable blaming other’s for it.
You loved your son and did what you thought was best for him. That’s all a child really ever needs–it provides him or her with the footing to do what’s best for themselves.
The fact is, and all thinking people know this is true based on thousands of years of observations, that this is, unless in VERY unusual situations, an in vitro process and one in which the individual just is. Shame is the worst possible reaction in either case, as there is, nor should be in what you like. You just do. Shoot, dresses and color ARE pretty. Who would deny that truth? To say that a man doesn’t like pretty things then would negate an entire industry. No, we do, we just have been trained to make it look as if we don’t so we look as if we follow the rules somebody else collectively defined for us.
Women’s designs are beautiful, the fabrics nicer, the colors show life. Who wouldn’t like that? As a man you’re allowed none of that, and why?
I buy only men’s clothes that have nice fabric and some design to them, been doing that all my life. It feels and looks better to me. That has zero to do with who I’m attracted to. Zero. But it does make me a better communicator with others, men or women who share a similar common interest. My wife appreciates my willingness and interest in her eyeshadow, her clothes choices, color best for her that we can talk about, as well as my truck and motorcycles. It doesn’t’ detract, but adds to human connection. And whether it came in vitro, or learned, as I was on only child and spent a lot of time with my mom, which I am eternally grateful, while my dad was moved across the country for us for his job, I could not care less. This is just me, and like a current song says, “if they don’t like it, sue me”. 🙂
CJ is very lucky to have such loving and supportive parents. Not everyone does. It’s sad that society isn’t as accepting as it should be, but it’s getting better. I went to a regular state school in Newcastle and a wide variety of people went there, whether from another country, religion, sexuality and so on. We were lucky, bullying was minimal and people were on the whole very understanding – by the time we got to the upper years bullying was more or less completely gone as students got to know each other and their minds were opened by the different people they were surrounded with. I know this may not be the norm, I just mean to say a lot of the time understanding grows with the individual. I think eventually we’ll get to a much more accepting point…but I’m often surprised by how accepting people are right now. In time, I think the people who can’t take uniqueness will be in the minority…and ironically more unique in themselves!
Our son has Asperger’s, which I realize isn’t the same on many levels. However, as he gets older (he’s now 13) the kids around him have begun progressing at a much faster rate socially. The things he’s interested in have remained virtually unchanged for the last three years, and those around him have moved on, leaving him behind in terms of conversation and interaction. More and more, he is fitting in less and less as he follows his muse and heart. It’s hard as a parent to watch this progression, which we anticipated would eventually happen. At the same time, there is an innocence about him that allows him to see the world in a uniquely beautiful way we are thankful for and celebrate. Cheers to you and your husband for recognizing that in your son as well 🙂
My son with Asperger’s is about to turn 13. Your words mirrored my thoughts perfectly. Thank you and happy New Year to you and your family.
I admit, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about reading this. I like what you did though in making this about your son instead of making this about you and your choices. Sometimes adhering to societal norms is the easiest option for people. It saves people from ridicule and having to explain themselves. Your son seems to have a very supportive family and as odd as it may be to some people that he feels this way, I hope he continues to grow and thrive around real genuine support. He’s finding his own way and he is going to meet resistance. If he can take the criticism with a grain of salt I think he’ll be just fine.
You are a wonderfull mom!!!
It’s been a long day and an even longer week in the office. It’s stories like yours and CJs that remind me how great the world is. You, your husband, and CJ are awesome!
(New reader, so apologies if I’ve missed someone in the Awesome List)
Reblogged this on t.c.jock and commented:
Today, everything I’m seeing in the world is reminding me how many wonderful, loving people are out there. Perfection for the holidays!
I truly think that you´re doing the right thing right know letting your son be the way he wants to be. I´m not saying that it will be easy for him the next years, when he´s growing up more, but your love and understanding will help him through all the hard times. No matter which way he will choose in the end, you can be proud of him because he´s finding himself in this eraly years already! Have a merry christmas.
thank you for sharing 🙂
My son is 3 and he loves this one yellow dress in my daughter’s dress-up box. He puts it on as soon as he comes to visit me – with the white slippers that have the pink “rhinestone”. The only other thing he will wear is his undies. It’s the yellow dress or nothing. When we go out to dinner I do make him put on pants; I don’t like to, but I’m strong enough for the stares yet. At home, with family, and with friends, tho, he will wear that dress and tell everyone he is pretty and I cry because he is just so adorable and I wish it was something he could do all the time, but he can’t. He lives with his dad and his dad will not allow him to dress in anything that makes him happy. His dad is afraid of different. His dad is Latin and abhors that I let my son be himself. He’s 3. If he wants to wear a dress, who am I to tell him he can’t because he has a penis. That just seems wrong.
I can very much relate to you. My son is 3.5 and loves to wear purple boots. His dad loathes this as well. His dad and I are divorced and share custody of him. This morning, getting dressed for daycare, I asked him if he wanted to wear his boots to school. “Are you picking me up today mom?” I told him I was and the chose the boots very happily then. He know that if it’s daddy’s day to pick him up that he has to wear other shoes. It makes me very sad that his dad doesn’t support letting him be himself. I’m also sad and amazed at how perceptive he is about the situation at such a young age.
He is perceptive. I don’t think there is any reason a child shouldn’t be able to dress any way they want. Forcing them to “fit in” just for our comfort level doesn’t seem fair.
This is beautifully written. Thank you.
Your son looks beautiful and I hope you have an amazing Christmas.
CJ’s mom you are wonderful woman, and CJ is just perfect.
I wish you every happiness this christmas and for the new year. Don’t ever change, and don’t let anyone change CJ either xx
Wow, your post really brought tears to my eyes. The openness and supportiveness that you have for your son is amazing. I wish nothing but the best for you and your family.
He looks beautiful! Great job guys! Have a wonderful Christmas! 🙂
I just happen to find your blog, by chance, thru FP… Congratulations on the way you and your husband are parenting your kid… I’m a mom of 3, the oldest one being 7, and, it’s sad to say, but the society tends to be a bit cruel, if one if not ‘like everyone else’… there are so many social demands, created by humans, and we (as part of the society) feel the need to follow/obey/walk by these demanding social rules… and again, it’s sad to witness the artificial isolation, judgement… “who is anybody to judge?”, I feel like asking… aren’t we all perfect and imperfect, at the same time? aren’t we all ‘different’ and yet, the same?? I’d like to congratulate you, and also, to thank you for speaking up, sharing your experiences, as a mother, and as a social being… you’re a wonderful, strong mother, and that’s exactly what your children will need from you… the rest, is just noise… ‘social noise’… not saying it’s easy, have never endured a similar journey [like yours], but I’ve witnessed the way the ‘misinformed society’ acts towards the fragile ones, the ones who may not know yet how to ‘defend’ themselves… Thanks for being you… your children are very lucky to have the set of parents they were born to… Have a wonderful Holiday Season! Much Peace and wishes for a joyful new year… Greetings from another family: at the end, we’re simply moms and dads trying to make sense out of life! 😮
Reblogged this on Matt Thomas and commented:
Now if we just had a few more moms like C.J.’s.
All moms should be like CJs 😉 Just imagine a world where all children were loved, accepted and celebrated just for being themselves.
Your capacity to love is amazing. You and your husband are amazing people, with an amazing family. That dress is all Love. Thank you for showing society a better way to be.
How lucky he is to have such loving, wonderful parents! My son goes to school with a boy who’s always liked pink and all the girlish accoutrements. Luckily, it’s a private school for gifted kids and these children are used to dealing with differences. He’s accepted all the same. I wish the same for your son–and I also hope you read one of my blog entries (“Leave Sacred to God”) so you can be assured there are plenty of us out there who would treat your son with acceptance and kindness.
you are a wonderful Mother
Reblogged this on aholeinthistown.
My husband used to ask what I would do if one of our kids were gay. My response was to love them no matter what. It would not be my choice for them because of the prejudice and potential for being harmed in various ways. But no matter what, that is my child. Not sure if I could say the same if my child turned out to be a hardened criminal who kills without a thought.
I truly hope that in my lifetime no one will care anymore about gay or straight, or whether boys dress like girls or girls dress like boys…that it just won’t matter. I hope you and your beautiful and courageous little boy have a wonderful Christmas.
“Gender creative”–I like it! As a doting honorary aunt of a 9-year-old boy who prefers pink and loves dresses, I am so glad to read this post and all the supportive comments. I hope the world is changing. For now, our boy is only fully himself at home–maybe one day he can be himself everywhere he goes.
I don’t understand why the author of this blog keeps referring to her daughter as her son. Because it’s pretty clear CJ is a trans girl.
No he’not, he’s a boy wearing a dress, like you might have daughters wearing a baseball jersey and jeans. Sorry, but i simply don’t understand what power we put onto a skirt. It really is just a piece of cloth, really, that’s what it is. But somehow we’ve made up all sorts of translations where none have been needed-especially around sex. How come we never really did that about bicycles, other than in the earlier years when they had low support bars. I knew even then many boys riding their sisters bikes because they didn’t know how to stop and it was easier and safer to jump off them when you hit softer ground. Lol! Once girls started wearing pants there became rather ubiquitous design of a lower top support bar.
Given that CJ, who is the only one who can make that call, has not apparently shown any signs of being a trans girl other than “liking girl things”, and seems to feel, as far as we know, that he is simply a boy who likes girl things, I think it’s rather presumptuous for you to make that call. Should CJ come out as a trans girl, then I’m sure CJ’s Mother will make the proper pronoun and noun adjustments and be as supportive as she can. For an outsider to decide that CJ is a trans girl based on blog posts is denying CJ the right to identify gender on CJ’s own terms. You wouldn’t tell a trans person that they weren’t the gender that they identify with, so don’t tell CJ that he’s not the gender that he currently identifies himself as, particularly not based on blog posts written by someone other than CJ.
I apologise if I offend anyone here as I’m not entirely sure of the correct term, but have you considered that perhaps CJ is simply a transvestite. He may just like women’s clothing, make-up, and generally the more feminine side of things.
Nothing about his behaviour makes him trans until he says “Mum, Dad, I’m a girl.” There are a lot more variants on gender and sexuality than most people care to realise.
The point is, he’s a 5yro male who chooses to like things outside the stereotype associated with his sex organs. That is all that is known for now.
Who knows what will happen with he gets older. He has a wonderful family that love and cherish him, so regardless of his decisions and life direction, he will be loved and supported. That’s all that matters.
That outfit is adorable. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas.
Hi CJ’s mom,
I just discovered your blog a couple of months ago, so I am new to the CJ party, but I have already become so invested in him and in you and your family. It breaks my heart to learn that, more and more, CJ feels he must keep his passions private in order to be accepted at school this year, but it makes me happy to see him sparkle in his spunky Christmas dress. He is so fortunate to have you!
This is my little boy’s first Christmas (he’ll be a year old in two weeks), and we are noticing he seems particularly enthusiastic about the items on my niece’s list, so much so that my sweet grandmother has asked if she can get him a doll for Christmas. My grandfather’s reaction? “Oh, please make it a G.I. Joe!”
I love my grandfather. He has a big heart. But he grew up almost 80 years ago in the deep south of Mississippi, and he is very set in his ways of thinking. It was all I could do to keep my cool and not jump up on my soapbox. “You can get him whatever doll you think he’d like best,” I told my grandmother.
My son is still just a baby, and we have yet to see which of his interests are fleeting and what will stick. And we have yet to learn how he will identify when he is older. I do know that no matter what, we will love him, and we will do our damndest to teach him to love himself and to love, accept, and empathize with others. But even now, when I think about the possibilities, I worry about what the future could hold for us and for him and for our relationships with our families.
I wonder, did you notice any indications of CJ’s gender creativity before his first encounter with Barbie?
The internet is a better place because your blog exists. I look forward to reading more of your thoughts in 2013!
When we wer tiny kids (4 and 2), my brother and I used to fight over one of my dolls. Now, he’s 22 and a medieval historian, genius computer programmer, and great guy to his girlfriend.
I don’t think liking to play with dolls as a tiny toddler is a concrete indication of where a kid’s going in life. As you say, your son is still a baby.
The truth is that little kids, boy or girl, can see that there is something special about babies. My brother and I both adored our infant siblings as they were added to they family. In our play, our dolls were my youngest brother and sister whom we were too small to carry around. 🙂
I was thinking exactly the same thing, resolvingmemories! Little boys can certainly be into dolls and pink for a period of time, and later leave the whole thing behind. My son at one point wanted to put nail-polish on his fingernails, which I saw no harm in, so we had fun with it, – but now he does not even want to hear about it! 🙂 Kids are into experimenting, and we have to be careful not to “label” them either way.
He looks very cute- but can I say, he’s not “dressed as a girl”. He’s dressed as anyone, he is a boy, that’s an outfit which boys can wear, so there’s no “girl” about it. Good for you though.
Man, that kid has style! I can’t wait to see what he does with it one day.
You are such an inspiration to me. My son just turned 6 years old and is like CJ is so many ways and this is such a huge reminder to me to support him. This is such a hard journey because like you said, we just want our children to all be happy and society is not ok with them being themself which is just the worse position to be in as a parent. I am trying to follow in your footsteps and be a supportive parent, we are getting there and luckily I also have a husband that loves and sees him for who he is. I actually bought him two dresses for Christmas since all of his other “girl” clothes are hand-me-downs. My son is getting to a point that if we have people over for play dates he will always change into a dress but so far he has not had any play dates with kids in his Kindergarten class and no boys so it is always easier for him, I am nervous about how it will go if he wants to play with a boy. I think I am going shopping with my son for a Christmas dress for Christmas Eve, I do not have the strength yet to do it for Christmas Day but will do it for a smaller gathering at our house, by next year I will be ready to start prepping the rest of my family for him to be able to wear a dress, it sucks to be in a position to worry if they will be tolerant or if we would have to choose to skip something that is probably equally important to our son as dressing comfortably. Thank you for being such an inspiration.
He looks beautiful and you and your husband are wonderful for supporting him. I hope he has a blast at your Christmas gathering. Best wishes to all of you. 🙂
CJ’s living proof that boys look great in skirts if they want to. That’s really cute!
Y’all have changed so much on this journey, and are, as a family, a wonderful inspiration for all families, and even all of us to be so much more accepting of whatever the differences all of us have to express our uniqueness. Conformity can be so overrated at times. :).
Hope you have a wonderful Christmas, and all the best to you, and to everyone else in the new year!
I wish you were my mom
You and your husband are amazing parents!! You are an inspiration. I hope that 2013 brings about more acceptance, less judgement and more love for everyone!
That’s a beautiful wish – and I second it!
Simply beautiful! Beautiful boy. Beautiful outfit. And beautiful family.
Good for CJ and good for you. I hope your extended family is as supportive of her as are you and your husband.
Thanks for your candidness in talking about your worries/hesitations/changes in parenting. I think that will really resonate and normalize others.
You have a great child, and are an awesome parent! Merry Christmas
The world IS changing slowly for the better, and I think CJ will have a better time of it than was possible for my generation; I wish that I could be HIS age again now, rather than my 71 years.
May your Christmas and New Year be all that you could wish for, and I look forward to reading more of your ‘doings’ next year.
I can’t believe it is 2012 and these things still matter. Ugh. I mean, boy colours and girl colours are *made up*! Somebody thought them up, and they change – blue was for girls and pink for boys 100 years ago.
absolutely AMAZING!!! I wish all parents, and honestly people thought this way! I was the girl who wanted boy toys, who wanted a short hair cut… but was forced to wear dresses and have long hair (until I chopped it off one day at school). My family has finally come to accept who I am… and with that, I have begun to heal and be able to make my own choices as to what I want to look like… and it changes year to year… You are an AMAZING mother, and you precious, beautiful little boy is an AMAZING child. I hope his spirit isn’t crushed by the pain and rejection of the world around him… but that he is able to see himself for the amazing and beautiful person that he is.
You rock that Deaf Girl! I was the boy that had long hair until his parents chopped it off! A lot of grief to reach a point of happiness later in life. I can only imagine what it would have been like to have accepting parents like CJ’s!
This was so beautiful, made me cry. Cherish him, he is a wonderful gift. He is very, very lucky to have you and his father as parents.
Trust me, you are doing things right! You are going to have one happy, well-adjusted, beautiful child/adult! Letting people simply be who they are pays huge dividends for all of us! A wonderful Christmas and happy and healthy New Year to you all!
🙂 He puts outfits together so well. I hope he is able to survive the pains of growing up and make it out on the other side as someone who brings amazing things to the world. Maybe fashion?
Thanks for another year of blogging your wonderful life! It is truly a privilege and a joy to read about you raising CJ and his brother. Your journey continues to inspire and I look forward to reading your blog for as long as you continue to write it. Happy holidays and see you in 2013!
Tell C.J. that the two Barbies are indeed a much better choice than three wise old men!!
Merry Christmas and a Fantastic New Year!
CJ has excellent taste! The ensemble looks stylish yet comfortable. He also seems to have excellent parents. 🙂
Joy indeed! Thank you so much for sharing all you have. Happy holidays to you all, and I hope your Christmas Eve dinner is wonderful! Hugs to you and yours!
Cj looks fantastic and is one very lucky soul to have you as his mother! Merry Christmas and happy new year to you and those you hold dear.
He is beautiful, and I very strongly admire what you are doing. I wish others could do the same. I am trying to teach my (currently 4 years old) daughter that boys and girls are equal and can enjoy all clothing, all toys, all colours etc equally. I don’t understand why we don’t already.
Beautiful, beautiful post. Happy Christmas to you all!
I think you are a truly wonderful mum. Our 17 year old cousin will be joining us for Christmas this year as a young woman for the first time – she was born male and has only come “out” about her lifelong feelings this year. I can’t help but be sad for her that she spent all those years in hiding… but at the same time rejoice that she no longer feels she has to be.
Reading inspiring stories like that of CJ give me hope that the next generation of gender bender kids will have different, better experiences. Thank you for sharing!
Nice dress! Happy Holidays to your family 🙂
C.J. looks fantastic in his Christmas outfit! I hope you all have a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year.
Happy New Year. . .
You know, I think you’re doing a perfect job of raising a perfect child……it’s a crazy journey – Life……
I believe our children choose us as parents. Your child picked you for a reason.
Do you follow http://georgejessielove.wordpress.com? You should. You have a lot in common.
I have nominated you for “A VERY INSPIRING BLOGGER AWARD” because I LOVE your blog and it has certainly been an inspiration to me. Looking forward to future posts.
You are such an amazing family. Tell CJ that he looks fabulous in his outfit.
I am sure your son is a happy person. He will encounter many difficult moments in his life, but he has already learnt that there are people like you who support him and show him that he is loved just the way he is. I really admire you for your strenght. It is not an easy way, but it is full of love!
CJ looks fabulous in his holiday outfit 🙂
I live in the UK (originally from the US), and I have two boys of my own (4 yrs and 11 mos). My 4 yr old is very much into “boy” things, but when he does want a “girl toy” we support him. The other day we were in the Disney Store, Christmas shopping for my niece, she like most little girls is very into The Disney Princesses. Her new favourite is Merida from “Brave”. My husband and I were over by the Brave dress up costumes. And a little boy about CJ’s age was holding a Rapunzel tshirt (pink and purple) Pleading with his mother to buy him one of the dresses for his birthday party. I saw the mother’s fear and trepidation. She was saying “I don’t think it’s your colour hun.. let’s go pay for this shirt..”
My husband quickly picked up one of the dresses and rushed into the queue behind them. Once he got up to the front he paid for the dress, he handed it to me, where I stopped the woman and told her it was one of those pay it forward moments, that there are non judgmental people in the world who only want to see a child happy. I told her about your blog. And I hope she followed the web address here only to be comforted and feel support.
Wishing your family a Happy Christmas and a joyous New Year!
What a wonderful you did. I hope the woman reads this blog and realizes there are others out there and that she can support her son!! Bravo to you Bella!
That’s such a great story. It brought tears to my eyes. Bless you and your husband.
Another great blog post! What great parents you are and how lucky your son is to have such caring, understanding people in his life.
Happy Holidays to all of you!
happy holidays to all rainbow families.. whether they acknowledge it or not.. ’tis a time for peace, acceptance and love 😉
Happy Holidays to you all! I, too, hope there are and will be more parents like you. It’s all I want for Christmas!
I love your posts. They are so inspiring.You are such amazing parents
Merry Christmas! I hope CJ has a wonderful time in his beautiful dress. Love and peace to you and your family as you travel this difficult path as well as you are doing.
I am just so very happy for you and C.J. to have both gotten to a place where you could share a moment like that. Furthermore I want to thank you for sharing it with us. I honestly believe that families like yours play such a big role in helping our society move toward greater, not just “acceptance” of LGBTQ people, but embracing them just as one-of-us-all as people. Happy Holidays!!
Happy Holidays to you and yours. I love that you allow the nativity to be a family effort.
I love hearing about your family, and send you lots of love for the holidays! And CJ’s right – I’d take 2 fabulous Barbies over 3 grumpy old men ANY day! ❤
CJ is normal for HIM!!!!!! Source does not create mistakes….
CJ’s soul is beautiful and sparkly!!!!
Here’s hoping Your Holi-days sparkle and shine as brightly as CJ always does!!!
Wishing a happy holiday season to all of you! CJ’s new dress is sooooo pretty indeed!
This truly made me cry. Before I read your words about how “you felt the pain”, I was already crying because that’s the first thing that popped in my head. Here is this (clearly awesome) kid who is all happy as can be, but there are so many people out there that refuse to be happy with him because he’s not acting the way a boy should. Uggh, make me made. But don’t worry, my tears soon became happy tears.
This just made me smile. Had to say it.
You are an amazing! I wish there were more parents like you, unconditionally loving. This world would be better. Merry Christmas!
*Sniffle* I swear this makes me more determined to open my own school where kids can be whoever they are. My hometown is not very accepting of the different either. I have been traumatized for CJ this school year. *SAD FACE*