Hi Everybody! I recently received an email from a mother who wants advice from fellow readers of my blog. Following is her email. If you have any advice for her, please leave a comment at the end of this post. Thanks so much for your help! I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts. Best, Lori
“I haven’t visited your blog in a while but did so today as I was wondering if you’ve been exposed to older rainbow boys who stopped their preferences almost overnight. My son is 10 years old and at 9 he first got called gay in a negative way and that summer was when he absolutely stopped his girl-traditional preferences.
He stopped wanting makeup and then nail polish. Then he would ask for a blue balloon instead of a pink or purple. I asked him what his favorite color was and he’d say “Pink, but I want a blue balloon.” Now, a year later, he told me his favorite color isn’t pink any more. “What is it now?” I asked. “Aqua.”
He also wanted a Band-Aid recently for a hangnail he had. In the Band-Aid drawer I found mostly princess Band-Aids and he said he didn’t want one of those. I found a cheap plain hospital Band-Aid and he put it on. 10 minutes later, he was back, because the cheap plastic Band-Aid was already falling off. I said, all I have is the princess ones. He said ok and put one on with no problem. Everyone I know with other boys (including myself with two older boys) says that their son (and my older two) would rather BLEED OUT AND DIE at age 10 than wear a princess Band-Aid, and in this case, there was no blood, just an annoying hangnail. This makes me believe that he hasn’t changed; he’s trying to conform.
Since your CJ is first experiencing the pressure of society, this problem that I have now may soon be yours, so I really want your help and support. What to do? On the one hand, there is always a chance that with the advent of testosterone, which does start entering the picture years before puberty, maybe things are evening out and preferences are subtly changing. Could be. We are new at this; we do all know that some princess boys become straight men who might love opera or acting or just a fluid, free creative life. So we just let our sons BE, as we always have.
On the other hand, these changes are also coming at a time where peer acceptance becomes paramount (even as we olders and wisers know it shouldn’t, every kid has to go through it). Which makes me question how in like a month my son went from preferring girl style toys and wearing manicures daily to … Well, not. Right after he admitted he’d been teased. And yes, he’d heard all the stuff your CJ is hearing now: “are you a girl or a boy,” “you can’t have that because it’s for girls,” and all the other BS. And back then, he would just say “because I want to.” But maybe at 9 it’s harder to resist or put up with than at 6, where there is still a magical sheen over the world. With all our acceptance, MAYBE THEY ARE STILL CRAWLING INTO THAT OLD CLOSET.
If there is any way to get the question out into the public, especially to adult gay men (my son definitely is not transgender according to the psychological questionnaire; he ID’s male), maybe you can do this. You can use anything I’ve written if it helps you. I’d love a blog post where you query the world, what can parents do when at some point there are signs the boy is entering a self imposed closet, even in 2013? What would have helped you, the adult gay male? How can they be themselves, even at this age?
At four and six and eight, having parents and family who accept you is enough. What if it isn’t enough, at 9 or 10 or 11? Your son is already “closeted” with his lunch. Just one year ago, my son was wearing a Gymboree girl’s cardigan because it had cupcakes on it. Now he’s in a navy hoodie. I don’t care what he wears; I only care that he is happy within his skin.
I just wish that being himself were enough to make my son happy.
Thanks so much for reading,
A fan from California”