Lori Duron, a writer of extraordinary generosity, has given us a guide to parenthood both gentle and revolutionary. Raising My Rainbow is a valuable resource not only for parents of gender-nonconforming children, but for readers everywhere who seek the courage to stand up for the ones they love. Fierce, wise, and illuminating.
–Jennifer Finney Boylan, author of SHE’S NOT THERE and STUCK IN THE MIDDLE WITH YOU.
When I first read those words by Jennifer Finney Boylan about me (ME!) I needed to take a moment to gather myself. I’ve admired her for more than a decade.
I remember being on bedrest during my first pregnancy and watching Oprah interview Boylan as her book She’s Not There was being released. I rushed to get the book and read it in a matter of days. I’ve always preferred non-fiction to fiction and her story was one that I hadn’t read before.
What strikes me now, is that, even as I read it with a child growing in my belly, I didn’t consider the possibility that my child(ren) could be transgender. When my second son, C.J., started playing with girl things and wearing girl clothes I thought about Boylan and I found that old copy of She’s Not There on my bookshelf. I remembered how, long before C.J. came along, she taught me lessons on the fluidity and flexibility of gender and how sometimes a person’s sex and gender don’t align.
A few months ago I devoured her latest book, Stuck in the Middle With You. Boylan — like all people who approach life with an open heart and open mind — makes me feel safe because I know that she would appreciate and protect my son and my family. Those kinds of people aren’t always easy to find. Boylan and her family understand the complexities of gender and that is comforting to me, it makes me not feel so alone and also gives me hope.
In Stuck in the Middle With You, Boylan writes that as a man gender was something that she fought against. I see that in my son, too. Boylan’s open approach to gender and her bravery in educating readers makes the world a safer, more understanding world for people like my son.
There’s this quote that I love: “You have to go the way your blood beats. If you don’t live the only life you have, you won’t live some other life, you won’t live any life at all.” I hope that stories like ours and Boylan’s help people to understand that and believe it.
Thank you, Jenny.
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I love your blog and I can’t wait to read your book! I just have a slight opinion I would like to discuss. I have noticed that you and others in this community use many different names to describe your child: gender independent, gender variant, gender diverse, gender non-conforming, etc. In my opinion, you should just pick one. I think gender non-conforming is the best to use because it is the most straightforward. To me it sounds the least “fluffy” of the labels and the one that a skeptic is most likely to accept. In a world where many people refuse to even accept gender non-conformity as something valid that can affect children, we need to make things as straightforward and believable as possible. I know people trying to become more accepting of kids like C.J., and I think there is a much higher chance that they will accept and understand gender non-conformity if they don’t have to decipher and memorize lots of labels that all mean the same thing. Just my 2 cents 🙂
Just wanted to tell you about a new book I ordered; it’s about a man who was a Navy
SEAL and decides to transition. The title is “Warrior Princess”. I hope everyone gets this book, which I think will go a long way in helping readers understand more about transgender people.
I have an LGBT child and I love reading about CJ and your family. In the New Year, may we all have enlightenment and peace.
I really can’t wait to read your book. I know you won’t recognise me, but I have been following your blog for a long time, using it as a “help” “nice to know I am not alone in this wide world” as I raised my own little rainbow, who is only a couple of months older that CJ. Only he is not as sparkly any more, Apart from his his really shaggy / longish hair, he looks all boy. But at home, all he does is play / draw / watch / even bath has a bath dressed as a mermaid. He definitely still dances to the beat of his own drum, but lots of me wishes that I could have been more of an advocate for him in the real world as you have done for CJ. Best wishes for all you future successes. Please don’t stop with the blog. I wait for it all the time. xx
The ultimate pay it forward….you have taught so many people not only about the experiences of a family whose child is gender creative, but about being a family, a group of people who embrace and love each other, truly and deeply. My eyes, which I did not know were closed, have been opened through reading your blog. I send a thought bubble out into the world on a regular basis wondering why there is a need for gender lines in so many aspects of our day to day lives. I send others out there wondering why people think there is any other way to live than the “way your blood beats”.
I read a book recently, Bone and Bread, and the last line was, “….And the work of getting closer, of loving harder, is the work of a whole life”. That’s your life. Thanks again for sharing it.
As I struggle to help my trans son navigate his life into adulthood, I gain strength reading your blog, and reminders of how many accepting and loving people truly exist. Thank you.
I am so glad the world has changed, to finally recognize that people who are different are not from outer space.. I am glad that there are those who stand strong against ignorance…You go girl
You deserve every bit of this praise for being your family’s champion, Lori! After enjoying your blog for a while, I am just so happy to see you enjoying this success and I think you’re going to open a lot of hearts and minds.
I also followed Jennifer Finney Boylan’s story, perhaps because I had attended a nearby college to Colby College, where Jennifer teaches. I remember being impressed that Colby College and her family accepted her and her life moved on in a seemingly “normal” manner. There was much less news in the public eye about being transgender when she transitioned, so it must have been even more foreign to everyone. Fast forward 11 years and I am the mom to a 9 year old transgender girl. When I started to realize the possibility of my daughter’s future path, one of the few trans individuals I had heard about was Jennifer. Who knew??? She gave me hope that my daughter’s future was still full of opportunities.
Can’t wait to read your book!