My Son’s Christmas Dress

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.

photo 3 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.

photo 4My 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.”

photo 3My 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.

Apparently C.J. thinks that two Barbies are better than three wise men.

Apparently C.J. thinks that two Barbies are better than three wise men.

*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 

About raisingmyrainbow

RaisingMyRainbow.com is a blog about the adventures in raising a fabulous, gender creative son.
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520 Responses to My Son’s Christmas Dress

  1. Pingback: Gender creative: Boys wearing ‘girls’ clothing |

  2. 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,

  3. 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…………

  4. feminist2016 says:

    This is such a beautiful thing to read, the world needs more people and parents like you.

  5. Daily-Probs says:

    Brilliant and inspiring post. Both great parents x

  6. Daal says:

    This puts the fun in Christmas, even to a grinch like me!

  7. Great article, I hope you had a great Christmas.

  8. Jamerly says:

    Love ❤️

  9. Reblogged this on Change Starts With Acknowledgement and commented:
    Another perfect example of the ways that #changestartswithacknowledgement! This is love.

  10. Pingback: My Son’s Christmas Dress | jenkins3blog

  11. Laura says:

    Reblogged on riddlefromthemiddle.com. I hope you and your family had a very Merry Christmas!

  12. Pingback: love all the little children | Riddle from the Middle

  13. MidnightBanshi says:

    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!

  14. 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.

  15. Sarah says:

    Love, love, love!

  16. Lynne McAennyl says:

    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.

  17. 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.

  18. hiyou18 says:

    Your son is lucky to have you as his mother 🙂

  19. Em says:

    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.

  20. lucymua says:

    So touching. Looks like you and your husband are doing such an amazing job raising him. He also sounds sassy as hell! Go CJ!!!

  21. worrywort1 says:

    you’re a great mother!!!!

  22. 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.

  23. darcy_roland says:

    Amazing-thank you for sharing.

  24. allisaila says:

    Reblogged this on allisailas and commented:
    Honestly this is beautiful.

  25. In The Dirt says:

    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!

  26. 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. 🙂

  27. Empty1981 says:

    you are beautiful open minded person with huge heart 🙂 thank you for sharing! more people should read it!

  28. 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.

  29. Quiche says:

    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.

  30. 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.

  31. alvaw says:

    I got so happy when I read this! 😄

  32. katcala says:

    This is amazing. I wish everyone was as accepting.

  33. basicandbipolar says:

    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.

  34. Pingback: My Son’s Christmas Dress | Shit

  35. dsnitkin says:

    You are unbelievable. Love.

  36. stella7120 says:

    Reblogged this on taara and commented:
    A star shining bright

  37. incredipal says:

    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!

  38. kyashilah says:

    I comend you and your familys bravery to promote for him to be exactly who he is. We need more people like you 🙂

  39. 1gned says:

    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

  40. anmie101 says:

    Awwwww how cute is that loves it merry Christmas: )

  41. Lily says:

    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!

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