Last week I published a blog post about things said during a PTA meeting I attended at my youngest son’s school. I wanted to shine a light on the homophobic, transphobic, insensitive, hateful and hurtful things that some moms said during the meeting and show that as far as we have come in LGBTQ acceptance and equality, there is still much work to be done. And sometimes that work needs to be done in heavy doses at places much closer to home than we’d like.
Almost immediately, PTA moms from our school started commenting, messaging and reacting viscerally on social media.
As they did, I stared at the PTA tagline: Every child, One voice. I’m not convinced that our PTA as a whole cares about every child and some of the voices I heard that night are not voices I want speaking on behalf of my child. That being said, of course I don’t think that every parent at our school and member of the PTA is transphobic or homophobic. That would be a silly assumption and one I never made.
I hope that the PTA moms at my school will reread my original blog post when their feelings have subsided and really take in and think about the words used at the meeting and the tone in which they were said. And, think about the words and tone used since then.
“I wasn’t at the meeting, but I talked to several other moms who were and (insert defensive comment here)…” – PTA Mom
I’m not interested in gossip, hearsay or what other moms are saying behind my back. If you were not at the meeting, please do not contact me to defend the people who were in the room who used transphobic language, homophobic language and/or hate speech. Think long and hard about the people you are defending and why. I’m open to conversations, but I’m not open to your take on a meeting for which you were not present. Instead, let’s talk about how we can make our school and community more welcoming and inclusive of all students.
“We have a great group of teachers, parents and a wonderful school.” – PTA Mom
I’m sure that if you and your child are heteronormative, cisgender and possess no special or unique needs outside of what the school and district are accustomed to dealing with, then you do view it as a wonderful school with a great group of teachers and parents. If that’s the case, please consider yourself lucky.
To the mother who wrote this in particular, when both of our oldest children were in third grade at this school, mine suffered homophobic bullying and harassment to the point that he threatened suicide during winter break. His teacher, the administration at the time and the district handled the situation so horribly that we had to seek the services of a child advocate, contact the ACLU, submit a Uniform Complaint Form and have an official investigation launched.
At the school last year, C.J. was bullied in the boy’s bathroom by a group of boys intent on looking at his genitalia to see if he has a penis or a vagina. It’s interesting to note that parents are worried about my son using the girl’s restroom (which, again, he does not) for unfounded reasons, yet my son has been harassed by boys and made to feel unsafe in the boy’s bathroom.
So, sometimes our school doesn’t seem wonderful to those of us who fall outside of what South Orange County perceives to be “the norm.”
Our family wants nothing more than for the school to be a wonderful place for every student and things are looking up. C.J.’s current teacher is beyond amazing and the new administration has been wonderfully supportive. Our school could be wonderful, and in many ways it is, but it has work to do — as evidenced at the PTA meeting (which this mom did not attend).
“I was there, and while I agree that there were a few loud mouth parents there, you need to know that at least one in particular has made loud mouth, insensitive remarks about other issues, at PTA meetings and elsewhere.” – PTA Member
So because that “loudmouth, insensitive” mom is an asshole all of the time I should excuse her? She gets a free pass to say transphobic things and use hate speech because she talks nastily about everything? No. Again, think about whom you are defending and making excuses for and why.
Think about it this way, if a person of color had been in the room, would people have tolerated the “loudmouth, insensitive” mom making white supremacist comments? I mean, after all, “that’s just how she is.” When we allow hate speech from one person on campus, we allow it from other people and the climate on campus suffers.
“You sat way in the back and if you would have stayed after the meeting, you could have had a constructive conversation.” – PTA Mom
The location of my seat should not matter and bears no importance. I walked in and simply took an empty seat. I left immediately after the meeting to pick up my kids because I had to arrange childcare to be able to attend the meeting.
People shouldn’t have to stay after the meeting to have a constructive conversation. And, if that is the case, then that time should be agendized and communicated to all members, parents, teachers, etc. I’m used to meetings where the constructive conversations take place during the allotted meeting time and biased opinions that are not relevant to the topic are shared privately post meeting, if at all. All this drama has me really considering Atlanta private schools for my son.
I’m always up for constructive conversations. You can reach me at email@example.com. I’ve already had a really fruitful conversation with the one mom who contacted me requesting to talk after reading the post.
“You should have used this forum to educate.” – PTA Mom
If by “this forum” you mean the online world, I’ve been educating people about childhood gender nonconformity and LGBTQ youth for four years. I encourage you to read my blog and book to learn more.
If you mean that I should have used the PTA meeting as a forum to educate, I argue that that was not my role that night. I was there as a mom, not as the presenter or educator. I was there to listen and learn and when things started to get out of hand, I knew it was best for me to observe and not lash out with my initial reactions.
“None of those things were said” and “I didn’t hear them.” – PTA Moms
The things that I wrote were said. Every single one of them. If you were at the meeting, you may not have heard everything. But, I can tell you that from where I sat I heard all of the things that I wrote – and then some. When you have a child that is directly affected by the topic being discussed, you tend to listen very closely, as I did. I wanted to hear how people responded and reacted to this issue that my family deals with daily. I did not write in my blog post any comments that I heard outside of the public meeting – and those were much, much worse.
“You’re giving the PTA and our school a bad name!” – PTA Mom
I argue that it’s not me who is giving the PTA a bad name, but rather it is the moms who used transphobic, homophobic hate speech during the meeting and the peers who defended them then and have continued to defend them since who give our school and PTA a bad name.
My post was not meant to be a referendum on the actual PTA organization, national, local or otherwise. For me, this horrible event could have happened anywhere: a church group, sports team, scout meeting, etc. The fact that it happened at a PTA meeting is just an example of this particular issue.
That said, I do feel like our school’s chapter failed at the National PTA’s mission to connect all parents to their school community and encourage parent engagement. Tolerating behaviors that alienate parents due to bias and prejudice has to be addressed.
“I for one will never again feel comfortable asking a question at a PTA meeting… I’m worried that people will not feel comfortable to ask questions.” – PTA Mom
Instead of this all or nothing approach to speaking out in PTA meetings, maybe you should take a minute to think about the things you are saying, the way you are saying them, who is hearing them and how they could be perceived.
I teach my kids to think about what they’re going to say and always speak as if a person of every gender, ethnicity, religion, race, sex, disability and sexuality is in the room. You know, just to be respectful of others. Maybe you could try that.
As adults, we can usually tell when a question is being asked out of sincere interest and when it is being asked skeptically, argumentatively and dismissively. I’ll meet with anyone from our school who has questions that come from a place of wanting to learn about kids like my son. I’m serious; I’ll make time for every single family, do it confidentially, individually or in groups and give you nothing but honesty. All you have to do is ask and show up with an open heart and open mind.
A special thanks to the HRC, Welcoming Schools, PFLAG and the ACLU this past week. The support I’ve felt from these organizations was tremendous and critical.
Also, even though the presenter at the PTA meeting cited statistics gathered and published by GLSEN, he was not there as a representative of GLSEN.
Reblogged this on A Twenty-Something Hotmess and commented:
This is an awesome read…
Thank you for your post.Really thank you! Cool.
Unfortunately, my experience with our local PTO is sadly similar. It’s very discouraging. Close minded individuals cannot even comprehend that anything outside their narrow definition exists without being harmful. It’s stupid. Okay, enough negativity. You are amazing, and please don’t give up.
Be strong! Continue speaking up! Our middle school just lost a wonderful boy, after years of hard times.
He decided he simply couldn’t go on.
Now the school is “working hard” on bullying issues. I wonder why now, and not earlier? And I worry about my own son all the time…
Kudos to you for calling those bitches out.
Can u imagine we want our kids to be raised loving all but as parents if we don’t watch our language how on earth do we expect our kids to respect others. Reading this I can believe as many parents have social clubs meaning they will only socialize with certain status people and if you even bother a hello it an issue. Yet the bullying don’t stop when you an adult if we change we can sure as hell see a different in the kids we raise
I truly admire your writing, your strength and your vulnerability! I know there are many moms who have the same struggles and dont know where to turn and are looking for strength!
I know you are bringing many moms the inspiration they need. I live here in South O.C. and know it can be brutal on our children…
I have nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award!
If you would like to accept please follow the link below! Keep up the great work! Dr. Dee~
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Reblogged this on Afro-Chic KC and commented:
Ah, yes… dearie me, your Pain in The Arse (PiTA) mums seem to come in a different flavour to mine.
Same old bigotry, though. Sorry you need to to deal with this, hope your child comes out stronger (and more successful than his tormentors) and more resilient thanks to you!
How can anyone win an argument with you? You’re amazing! An intelligent response for everything. So glad I stopped by.
Bravo! Bravo! Bravo! Thank you so much for this! I was the same lil boy in school in the 80’s and my mom faced those same situations. It’s a blessing to know that mommy’s like you embrace us. It made a hell of a difference for me.
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We removed our child from that school. He too doesn’t fit into the ‘mold’ that is expected there. Unlike you, we didn’t feel that the administration were supportive and as he too experienced bullying (from both staff and students) we made the difficult decision to pull him out. As someone who advocates for all children to get a free and appropriate public education it hurts my heart that so many parents have to fight and face these decisions. It was tough for us to leave, we are not people who quit easily, but in the end I balanced the continued risk to my child whilst trying to change the culture of this establishment. I respect your fight and am so glad CJ has a great teacher this year. Our new school is still in the District and we couldn’t be happier it’s inclusive, supportive, great PTA ….. our challenge now is to turnaround the damage caused by the previous toxic environment. I wish you well on your journey x
This is amazing to read. I am humbled by your advocation, dedication, and love to change the way our society and school holds the dialogue around #lgbtqyouth ! Rock on raising rainbow warrior!
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Reblogged this on Scarlet Rialto and commented:
Thanks for this. I’ve tried to be part of PTA but found the same issues arose. I ran screaming and never returned. It’s unfortunate for the children to have parents like the ones you quoted. I hope for change.
I just would like to say how much I hope you’re son is ok! Bullying is not a joke and I, myself have been picked on quite that bad also. Whatever you’re doing parenting wise, keep doing it! The world has a lot of hateful things to say about everything that’s not “normal” and they never stop to think about what is actually “normal” to someone who isn’t themselves.
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Reblogged this on So, You Think You Can Teach ESL? and commented:
This is definitely worth reading. While I personally am not too big on the “political correctness” crap, there are repercussions of abusive language. Kids may say some things, but they’re just kids (meaning they can still be taught to be kind), adults should know and DO better BECAUSE they are adults. Lead by example.
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Keep doing what your doing! Even if you’re fighting alone you’re fighting for the right reasons. A round of applause for you from Spain!
Reblogged this on Welcome to my wonderland and commented:
I am reblogging this because this blog post serves a very important message: there will be people who will antagonize you and the people you love for being different. There will be people who will close other people off because of their gender, race, political inclinations, and everything else that makes them human and special. There will be people out there who will propagate hate over ignorance and refusal to open up their minds.
But this is also a challenge for the rest of us who know better.
We know that these people exist and, though it pains us to try to deal with them and educate them (because they refuse to be educated), we should still hold our heads high and defend our rights and the rights of the very people these ignorance antagonizes. We have to show that even if there are people who think this way, there are people who think otherwise and we can do our part in encouraging those marginalized by the close-minded to come out and be proud of who they are. Because for every individual who shouts “hate” over being different, there are at least 2 more who say “No to the hate”.
Reblogged this on ebtsam030.
Its a issue that needs to be brought up more, there was a transgender child in my high school year, the ones who had the biggest problem with it were the teachers, you had one or two homophobic students at school and most of it was derived from over controlling parents and no one just brushed their comments off. Homophobia does get a lot of attention now days but transphobia is just swept under the rug, which is just wrong. Schools never want to help “problem” children even when its the school making the problem. Instead of seeing it as an issue they should move forward and see the uniqueness of the child the positives not the negatives.
Reblogged this on The Meticulous Mommy's Blog and commented:
That is a pressing issue, parents say some of the worst things and then end up passing that kind of behavior on to their children, and that only continues bullying. My son likes playing with girl toys at times but I would love him no less…
Much love from India 🙂
Hi Lori. I am so, so glad that you gave a fitting reply to the moms out there. More power to you lady !
C.J. is blessed to have you as a mom.
Homeschooling is a great option.
Reblogged this on minnesotamommies and commented:
worth a read
Such an amazing job! well done (applauds)
It has my experience that many adult groups that have any form of power consist of those that are essentially reliving their own ‘high school’ days. They form cliques and tend to have issues with anything that doesn’t conform to their way of thinking. Then when someone threatens or questions their status quo they become bullies.
I encountered similar with my sons PTO group, over, of all things…an article I had written regarding convenience lunches. Apparently many of them felt that my comments about lunchables and pre packaged meals was insulting them .
It’s not just about prejudice…it seems to be anything that upsets the apple cart.
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Reblogged this on Sally Ember, Ed.D. and commented:
Dear Ms. Duron: I AM SO IMPRESSED! Your articulate, sensitive, persistent, accurate, clear, honest, emotionally authentic, relevant and informative post makes me want to go read your book even though I don’t work in this field anymore and my “child” is 34!
Mazel Tov to you! Your community and the online world are lucky to have you. I hope they/we realize that soon, @RaisingRainbow!
Best to you and your family and all of your activism.
WE NEED MORE LIKE YOU!
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RIght on you have my support
I feel so bad that your son and you have to go through this kind of treatment. I would hope people would more accepting and less intolerant and naive. Just because you don’t find someone else’s opinion or life choices to be true or correct doesn’t mean you can just ignore them and make them go away! I hope you and your son don’t become discouraged. Keep fighting!
You are amazing! Thank you for all the hard work.
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I hope you don’t mind I reblogged this today at http://wp.me/p1vaOK-2G I really enjoyed it, and I admire you a lot 🙂
Reblogged this on julie42a and commented:
I am not really writing my own post today, because I am tired and itchy and my stomach hurts. (I’m allowed a whiny day once in a while.) I stumbled on this post today and I really enjoyed it. I can’t even imagine how challenging her situation must be. I know so little about transgender people, and gender identity struggles that I have no idea if I’m using the terms correctly. But this mom has done what all of us moms do when our kids are faced with challenges: she’s educated herself and worked hard to make her child as happy and successful as possible. I’m impressed she even bothered with PTA, because I never did with Alex. PTA activities aren’t designed with Special Needs kids in mind, and I’m uncomfortable being noticed and/or stared at if my kid is struggling. So I just wrote PTA off. Audrey of course thinks I should be more involved at her school, but there’s a part of me that thinks why should PTA have things to offer for one child but not the other? So I don’t attend carnival or movie night, and I don’t volunteer for health fair or picture day. Maybe I’m just stuck up? Then I remember that my son’s high school has a “special ed hallway” where his classroom, the resource room, the behavior disorder room, and the fundamentals classes are held, and I don’t feel to guilty.
Anyway, enjoy this mom’s rebuttal to other PTA and school parents. I know I did.
Check out my poetry blog(:
I clicked the like button because I like that you stick to your grounds and that you wrote a post about it! I have not read your first one but might. I think it is pretty shocking that certain things get accepted at PTA meetings and excuses by other parents. How sad.
I’m just glad I’m not a pta mom its a click just like in high school
Good for you, keep it up! UK PI
Lori, I just shared some of your story with links back to your blog at
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Reblogged this on Right, write! and commented:
I’m so sad and sorry that this is the state of things, and that you must spend your hours educating people in compassion, understanding and other basic elements of humanity.
This sounds like a terrible struggle, but you have to keep on and fight for our children’s right to express themselves, to be considered equal and to be considered, full stop. All kids should be cared for, safe and happy at their schools. Using the boys toilets while ongoing bullying is occurring in there is disgusting. No matter what the topic of the bullying, bullying isn’t tolerated surely? Keep on fighting and calling people on their bullshit comments. They say it, you report it. We want to hear what’s happening and support you. Hopefully this all has a ripple effect and society becomes a lot better informed and accepting, so that other Mothers and children don’t have to go through the same fight at their schools.
You might like to see some goings on in Australia, this tv article focuses on transgender issues for young children in particular-
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I definitely commend you for your proactive approach in your child’s life. It truly is a pleasure to see when a parent really, truly believes in unconditional love- and is willing to do whatever it takes to make sure their kid knows that no matter what, no matter who, no matter the situation- someone is there for him. Love your post. HATED PTA meetings- and neither of my children were”different” in the same sense- but I did see that many PTA parents seemed to gravitate there as a way to wield (and abuse) power. Good for you for shining light on a sensitive subject. I have many friends that grew up with less than stellar parents that would have certainly appreciated having at least one parental advocate. Times are changing for the better! Just have to keep up the “fight” via education and support. Bravo.
What a great post Lori! Your son is lucky to have you as his advocate. I raised three girls and all were involved in something, cheer, gymnastics, soccer, and so on, so that included me in the parent groups. There have been many conversations from parents about others and a few times I would bite my tongue and then I couldn’t stand it any longer and spoke my mind. I don’t think I was very popular at parent groups. Sometimes it just has to be said!
Reblogged this on aanesii.
Follow us, like and comment please !
My daughter is bisexual. I think it may be easier for girls, because a ‘tomboy’ gets more acceptance than boy in the same situation, which is unfair. She can dress the way she likes and no one batters an eyelid if she is completely femme or dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. However, she is a big, strong girl and she spends half her time defending her gender fluid & quiltbag friends from haters. I wish your child could find a friend like her. But this behaviour has put her in danger in the past from haters. The world needs to realise that hate talk & hate behaviour is completely unacceptable in any situation.
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You are so right. And I wasn’t there either.
Reblogged this on 50 Fit Life Plus and commented:
It is with great empathy that I repost this blog. A terrible situation for a family enduring the vitriol and exclusionary mindset of the school administration.
The very fact that many of the replies you have received are filled with defensive vitriol is an indication that the mindset of exclusion is prevalent at the school. My thoughts are with you.
I like this
Thanks for YOUR voice. Glad to see there are parents like you. Keep supporting a community that lacks a strong voice.
Wow, I am so sorry for your experience. Thank you for teaching your children to respect others….peroid.
i just finished listening to your ebook. i am….i don’t even know how to describe it…HONORED to have stumbled upon it. like i have chills writing this comment thinking that you might be unbusy enough to read my verbal diareah of appreciation for writing that book. i’m not gay or gender creative…but i have my own issues….accepting myself for who i am. i started to copy some of the things that you say in your book and ways that you dealt with certain situations in my own life. like seriously – i don’t know how you’re not some kind of tony robbins-travel-the-world famous already…because you’re a freaking amazing mom. like seriously. an amazing person. the openess that you have….the reason and rationale that you apply…even with the most complicated of issues. you’re a freaking rock star and you make the world a better place. your book, you…everything, it’s so inspirational. i’m sorry about the PTA event. your response is awesome. your outlook and the way you live life, although far from perfect (more your words, not mine :P), is freaking amazing. i have learned so much from your book and look forward to more of anything that you write. take care. keep fighting the good fight. your family is awesome.
Really well said and this is such an important subject. You make so many great points. What a great mom you must be. I will continue following and reading.
Hi! I have a son too and as a mother like you we are so concerned about our children. How we raise them, how they will turn out to be. I am very excited to read your book. I jus checked our library and placed it on hold for me.
Reblogged this on Conversations I Wish I Had.
I’m a bisexual young man who has been lucky enough never to face this sort of intolerance and ignorance. I applaud you for speaking up about it and trying to change things. Keep going and don’t stop.
By the way, I’m taking a biology course right now and we’re covering sexual orientation and different gender definitions and identifications over the next couple of classes. I’ll have to send a link to your book to my teacher, I think she’d be very interested in it. I didn’t even know that a thing such as “gender creative” existed until now, so I think we’ll both benefit from it.
If I am ever blessed to be a mother to living children, I pray to be a mother like you, Lori: steadfast and loving, graceful in heart and intentional in action.
Truth wins, friend.
You’re awesome and I wish everyone respected fellow human beings like you.
Damn. I read your original blog post, too, and I have to say that I side with your husband on this one. You may have the school’s admin on your side and one or two great teachers but they are like the little Dutch boy holding his finger in the crack in the dam. When the PTS presenter didn’t squelch the haters immediately and decidedly, I knew you were swimming in a poisoned pool.
The whopping majority of your son’s day is filled with interactions with other students, not teachers, and we know who those students take their behavioral cues from. School is like one big easy game to bullies–they just bide their time until all the powers that be are out of sight and earshot and then they strike over and over and over and over and…have you ever seen a flock of chickens peck a chicken to death?
The mixed message a bullied kid gets from his elders is that there may be one or two people out there he is safe with but they are temporarily allies that he only has access to in short spurts and then only until he moves up a grade or is otherwise removed from their authority. The grand majority of his day, life, and experience, he is among his peers and by teen-aged extension, the world. And the world likes to peck until it sees blood, then it just pecks more.
The vicious, war-like onslaught of emotional and physical abuse bullied kids receive from other kids cannot be neutralized by assurances and pep talks before or after the fact. You could hold him in your arms for eight hours straight after school each day and he would still dread the morning. It’s PTSD, pure and simple, and it comes from being dropped in poison and told to tread water while everyone else amuses themselves by foiling his efforts to survive.
Find a way to make his WHOLE WORLD safe, not just a few segments here and there. He’s designing a template for dealing with the world right now in his mind and he doesn’t have the power to just leave the chicken yard and move over to where he is treated as a human being. You do. Pull him out of the poison before he decides the entire Universe is like that because once those kind of kid decisions get hammered into stone inside, it takes the rest of his life to edit it out.
What an excellent post. Hats off to you!
My heart aches that you had to go through this in the first place AND that you now have to defend yourself. I think you two are amazing parents and that both your children are very lucky to have you as their advocates.
Standing ovation and hugs.
You show us all how to do it. I only hope to do it someday this well and with this much grace.
Great Post/response to the PTA Lori! I really admire all you have done for “rainbow” children everywhere, (and children everywhere). Whether anyone “likes” it or not it is a multicultural diverse world we live in and in order to be effective in this world students MUST learn/practice respect and understanding of all diversity so they are able collaberate in a democratic diverse society. That comes right out of the Common Core Curriculum requirements that schools must adhere to! This PTA is failing collaboration… That said I just want to make sure that people here don’t get the wrong impression of GLSEN. GLSEN IS working very hard to make schools safer, their research is incredibly important its a shame the speaker at your school wasn’t from GLSEN to do that speech justice! But don’t worry GLSEN is working incredibly hard!
GLSEN literally has saved my HS son’s life and turned our sons school and half of our state (Southern NJ) around when no one else cared! I reached out to HRC, ACLU, Lamda Legal, (we don’t have any PFLAG chapter in SJ), and heard nothing.
My son’s school was teaching, in a class on diversity mind you, that unlike skin color or race, sexual orientation was something that could be changed through conversion therapy when they are 18 they should check it out. Then in AP Gov class they played a 45 min Westboro Baptist church video spewing God hates fags, fags deserve death, etc hate without anything positive about LGBT to balance. In Ap English they read articles about “if gays should be allowed to adopt or if it is disordered and harmful to the children… (imagine the bigoted hate on the anti position that my son had to read aloud in class from the article) then they were assigned a debate and they were supposed to take the opposite of their opinion So my gay son would have to write a paper/give a speech on why gays should never be allowed to adopt and are harming children… It was subversive subliminal coercion that was psychologically sick to do to a child… (Not to mention that my son had already been officially bullied at the school.with teaching like that you know why)
The school allowed all of it for the purposes of teaching Free speech and rhetoric. They would not dialog with us. We contacted GLSEN and got the school to dialog. GLSEN found that AP has a “equity access policy” that prevents any bias that could prevent any student from achieving their maximum potential on the ap test or in class.. Glsen and my son then got the school to start a GSA. GLSEN gave my son leadership training and put him on a public policy committee that worked with an assemblyman to introduce legislation in NJ to include the positive contributions of LGBT and disabled Americans in the curriculum like the FAIR Act in California… GLSEN has brought my son from dejected/ giving up to changing policy at his school and laws. GLSEN has put my son in contact with powerful people that are giving him the tools to become an activist and make a difference. This has changed his life…
I am behind you and your work 1000% in reading stories like yours it gives us the courage to fight! Thank you
I can’t express how important everything you said here was! Not just to me, not just to your school or America but to the world (I’m from the UK). I am new to your blog but I am already proud to be a follower and glad that there is a mum like you out there… fighting the fight that needs to be faught for their child! Even if I am appalled and so dreadfully sorry that you and your son have to face the awful things you mentioned. xx
Bravo and keep going. Very disturbing to hear CJ has been bullied like this – horrible. Sending love.
And from NZ again. Kia Kaha Lori… Stand Strong!
I shy away from judging these other women the same way they’re judging CJ, but they SOUND completely pathetic. These are grown women who clearly belong on Real Housewives or something equally dramatic. Just accept that you don’t know everything, and perhaps, ask questions. LEARN something. I wish I had been there to stand up for you, and for all the children that aren’t accepted.
Reblogged this on The Itty Bitty Boomer and commented:
I am compelled to reblog this because no family should ever have to go through the hate from other parents that this open and amazing family is experiencing at their son’s school, through their PTA no less. Lori Duron blogs about raising a gender creative child child with love, candor and intelligence. What she says must be shared so that others know they are not alone.
Thank you, Lori, for your eloquence and bravery to speak out.
Lori, you are a true inspiration and the most incredible advocate and example for your two children! Kudos to you. I wish we were friends as I would have stood by you at the PTA meeting and had a few choice words for those pathetic parents.
Know that you have people that support you and send you good vibes everyday!
This is why so many kids take their lives. They are bring raised by ignorant parents who fear what they don’t understand instead of educating their kids about real life issues like racism, discrimination, homosexuality etc. shame on them!
Oops smart phones are really not that smart. My previous reply second sentence should say ” bullies are being raised and not educated by ignorant parents etc etc. GREAT POST!!!!!!
Mighty, mighty Lori. Love to you and all your family. You are the change and beneath the aggression, I hope that some people are thinking again about the horror that went down at that meeting, and have teeny tiny changes of heart.
Attention Orange County, Mama Bear don’t like her and her cub being poked with a stick. Mama bear eats sticks for breakfast! I’ve read your blog for a couple years now and I think this is your finest moment. All of your talents, gifts and life experience are now focused not just on your own children but all children. This struggle is about growth and that’s never been easy. Thank God for your blog.
“All you have to do is ask and show up with an open heart and open mind.” Sadly, the people in need of this will never even allow themselves to do so because of their close-mindedness. It saddens me to know that you and your family have to endure hateful, uninformed comments from your school community. I pray that you and your family have the strength to continue educating others, even in the face of adversity. I pray even more for the parents making the hateful comments, especially since some of them probably consider themselves Christian.
Thank you for writing this response. I knew when you wrote the first (and I felt bad for you, because where I live – admittedly in a bubble – that would never have occured at my PTA) you would get every response you got. But, instead of being non-confrontational, you have stood up for all of us. ALL OF US. Bullies, either vocal or subversive, and their followers who still feel at the age of 40 that they need to be liked by the bullies, have zero self-awareness. And honestly, who cares about us? We’re adults. We can take ’em and leave ’em without a second thought. But what I’ve realized, and know, is our kids cannot. How we respond, how we defend our kids, means everything and impacts them for a lifetime. And saves on future therapy bills. Thank you for not backing down, and if you ever want to live in a bubble, Madison, WI, is pretty sweet for gender non conforming kids.
Well put as always! They should invite you to speak at a meeting …they all can learn a lot from you.I hope they listen and read your blog and your book so they will really learn what it is they need to. You are a wonderful communicator!
*Standing ovation* You are a hero. I am impressed with your bravery here. I am a lesbian single mom with a six year old daughter, many transgendered friends, and a little girl whose favorite festival of each year is our local Pride Festival. I have marched in our Dyke March and called out other lesbians who were upset over the chant “Hey hey, ho ho, homophobia’s got to go! Hey hey, ho ho, transphobia’s got to go!” because it was transinclusive. I am sickened and saddened that your family has had to suffer from the ignorance of others, especially in a place like the PTA, which should be a safe space. You have my utmost respect and admiration.
PS LOVED LOVED LOVED your son’s Elle Woods costume!
Reblogged this on Charissa's Grace Notes and commented:
Constance, you have heard me speak of Lori Duron before, seen my reblogs of a few of her posts…well, I am back reblogging (again)! I just had to!
Why? Because she basically wrote the model post for how to refute your haters/detractors/opponents/ignorant people very free with feedback/etc. Written with intensity and self control, scintillating and uncompromising without resulting to the tactics of fear or manipulation or ad hominem attack, she shows us all how to defend without defaming. I was honored as I read it.
Let’s all learn from Lori, and then take our courage in hand and refuse to let haters and ignorance-imbibers rule the day.
You’re a Samurai. Noble, clear, strong, skilled, precise, and fighting for good with heart and mind.
I couldn’t agree more @bennettschneider!!!
You are a class act, Lori. To those hateful PTA moms who are no doubt watching your blog, you are a bunch of willfully ignorant assholes or cowards afraid to stand up against them.
God Bless you for your courage, strength, honesty, and grace.
i wish you had a strong ally who could have spoken up for you against the transphobia at the PTA meeting. Absolutely unacceptable and horrific. As a cisgender mom with a 6 year old trans girl I would have broken down in tears. I am amazed you had such calm dignity and grace. I am sorry that is your community in which you have to parent your child. I am sending you light and compassion and hope they can see how gender inclusivity is for all children! Bravo!
I hope your beautifully honest replies are read by those who need them most. You are opening eyes, minds and hearts when you share your experiences and your thoughts.
“Stories can turn anonymous strangers into people who matter.” — Paul Boom
You and your family matter to me.
Oops! Paul Bloom, not Boom. He is a professor of psychology at Yale University.
What a lovely (and true) quote, Tiff 🙂
Bravo. Bravo. Bravo.
I’m so sad to hear that these adults are doing this. I have a special needs child and I find myself saying and doing the very same things you are. That I have to educate them why it’s ok and normal to have a kid in a classroom who needs an EA. That these conversations have to keep happening over and over and over. It’s exhausting. But we have to keep at it. If we manage to sway the opinion of only one family then we have been successful.
I have repeatedly stated that the only way children are bullies are because the adults in their lives tolerate and encourage it. This is only one example.
I hope that you find your way through this in a way that makes your family feel safe and welcome at school. Thinking of you and all of us moms trying to make the world a better place for all of our children.
Good for you, Lori. Well said. You are not only eloquently defending your child against these hateful comments, but you are offering to educate and inform anyone who is willing to learn about gender nonconforming kids. What more could anyone ask of you? You have the love, admiration, and support of more people than could possibly have attended that PTA meeting.
These parents are trying to backtrack now on their comments because they either ere not thinking you or allies were in the room. Their parents should have taught them more about tolerance. It’s interesting these moms even read your blog to know what your previous post said. I’m actually surprised that a community in California was where this happened. I have always seen CA as a much more progressive state, but with some very high powered political figures against equality, who must have been the ones to bring in prop 8.
You are strong and brave to offer to discuss with these families their “concerns” when they could be derogatory against your son. I guess if they air their fears and take them from their minds and gossip mills, they may see how wrong they are. Some people also don’t realize how intolerant they are until it is pointed out, which then of course they respond defensively.
Thank you for sharing this with us, your readers. Take care of yourself too. Go do something fun to get away. Laurie
Parents who don’t take accountability for their own misguided opinions only perpetuate the problem with their children. My now 5 year old daughter was not raised in a daycare scenario and didn’t have much exposure to a lot of group settings with other children before PreK last year. I spent a lot of time exposing her to the differences other children may have no matter WHAT the difference during the summer before she entered school. This is easily accomplished in this day and time via the internet, books from the library as well as a lot of informative Q&A. It is our job as parents to make sure our own children DO NOT harass other children for ANY reason and encourage our children to not tolerate it from others. Being mean and hurtful to others is painful no matter what the reason and is not acceptable.
(((hugs))) I wish people would listen instead of opening their mouths and complaining about what they don’t understand. I had a meeting with Jeremy’s teacher, principal, vice principal, the head of special education, etc, etc in September. They argued with me at length about their transgender policy, insisting they didn’t need to use zir preferred pronouns because it would be too confusing for everyone. Instead they only needed to refer to zir as “they” (and then continued on calling zir he/him). It was them that misread the official policy and not me. Then I shared how zie’d been feeling that summer, telling me over and over that the teachers hate zir and don’t want zir there. That zie didn’t want to go.
I got no empathy from them at all. Instead the whole room protested. The teacher is wonderful, the school is amazing, the class is ultra supportive. How could I say such things? Totally ignoring that this is how Jeremy feels. I ended up having to calm them down and assure them instead of having them figure out ways to make Jeremy feel supported and safe.
I’m glad the teachers and staff are supporting you and CJ. I don’t know how much clout the PTA has as I’ve never been involved (I am going to my first PFLAG meeting in another week though). I figure that as long as they leave CJ alone and don’t try to overturn any positive steps the school’s making then they don’t matter. CJ’s fabulous and you are too; they don’t get it and don’t deserve to have you in their lives.
Adults are the real bullies. Ugh. Sorry.
Bravo to you….I am a gay man raising two boys in a small town in Massachusetts. Thus far I have not encountered the things you have, but imagine it’s a possibility as my boys age. It’s so disheartening to hear people express ignorance and intolerance toward others…and be completely oblivious to the fact that their beliefs are not everyone else’s beliefs – and what’s right for them is not right for everyone. I have no intention of staying quiet if this happens – and will fight the good fight, because in the long run it’s worth it…even if you change no minds in the process but to lead by example for your child, and teach them to use their voice by using yours.
And you bring me to tears, yet again. I hope that there are at least a few level-headed, open-hearted parents who will take you up on your offer to share your story and be changed by it. I know I have been. I have been impressed watching our small, rural, very conservative school handle its first transgender child, a young man who arrived on the first day of this school year asking to be treated as such, after years of attending as a young lady. It caused a bit of a stir the first week, but faculty, staff, and students seem to have risen to the occasion and taken it in stride.
I admire so, so much the work that you do. I hope you are also taking time to take care of yourself while you work so hard fighting these difficult, vital battles. All my best to you and your family. The world needs more of you.
Wow wow wow. Perfectly wrote. One of your best post yet. Love your family!!! Good Job Mom!!!
Well said, I totally agree with all you have written, stay strong 😄
I wish that there was some more positive way of addressing these hurtful and damaging comments, like forcing the speakers to publicly discuss and ‘justify’ their remarks, and then acknowledge how illogical and damaging these opinions are too.
I also think it’s the case that these comments are often bandied about by people too afraid, or too lazy, to buck the trend; they’re safe in the herd. They should get a spine and start thinking for themselves!!
Just a thought. Is it possible to video record PTA Meetings? That might silence some of the sillier comments, and provide positive grounds for action against the more aggressive and vocal bigots.
I just wanted to let you know thst you are fighting a good and important fight! I was like your son in the mid seventies in a small European country and was bullied in school and laughed at by the children and parents alike. In saying that it made me who I am today a proud gay man, but it does not make the hurtful things go away. Children I can forgive, adults not so much!
People are always afraid of the unknown and what they cannot comprehend. At the end of the day we are all born nakedand the rest is draq! Good luck with your important work little boys and girls need you!
Reblogged this on JerBear's Queer World News, Views & More From The City Different – Santa Fe, NM and commented:
An excellent reply to those that were upset by last week’s post on her experience at a PTA meeting. My hat’s off to Lori for her advocacy!
You are one tough mama who also happens to be exceedingly eloquent and rational. Your kids are lucky to have the best cheerleader ever.
I am in my junior year of college working towards both my bachelors and masters degrees in elementary education. Your blog both encourages me and makes me worry. As a future educator I know I want to have a classroom that is accepting of all students, expecally those like C.J. who are not always accepted. But I worry that I will be faced with trouble from both parents and administration wherever I teach.
Reading this post and the last one gives me hope. Because if more moms like you stand up for their kids or even the children of others it will become harder for schools and parents to continue with their hate.
Thank you for standing up to those PTA moms. They are the bullies they warn their children about.
Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! Gather your support around you because you will need it and your family will need you.
Wow. I’m not completely sure but it seems that my entire life has been spent trying my hardest to simply be me. And to raise my children to be the same. My son is now 19 and a fabulous young man. Yes, he was born a girl. Get over it.
Thank you for sticking to your guns and not apologizing for your child and your beliefs. 🙂
I read the last post. It sounded like your own personal nightmare. You sounded hurt and scared for your child who goes to school everyday with the children of these pta mums. I am sorry that they felt uncomfortable with your version of events and your feelings about it. No one likes to hear that they hurt someone. Even if they caused that hurt by not speaking up.
Funny how defense haters and bigots get when you call them on it! These “moms” are a disgrace and hopefully not poisoning their children with their hatred.
You could make a straight faced argument that this PTA chapter and these “moms” shouldn’t be permitted to be around other people’s children!
I did click the “Like” button. Not because I “like” what you went through, but because your rebuttal was so thorough, well written, and even keeled. You are an amazing mom and a great writer. I don’t comment that often, but know that you have a friend in the North Bay too.
Thank you for continuously opening other people to this issue. You use this forum to educate already, that PTA meeting was for you and your child’s needs. I think you taking a night off and not re-educating a bunch of ignorant and single-minded parents was ok. The serious nerve of some parents, who weren’t even there, to defend any of these comments is deplorable.
I still applaud your taking of the “high road”. You are a model example of a parent with a wonderfully out of norm child. I hope to be as great as you if I become a parent someday.
I absolutely, positively adore you. More later in a private message. ~SM
Good for you for replying to those parents. As a volunteer parent at my kids’ school, I have distanced myself from my own PTA, not because they are homophobic (although they may be) but because of the clique-y, exclusivity attitude. It seems your PTA is suffering from that as well.
I hope that soon, that those parents gain some insight into their harmful behaviors.
Keep it up.
Lori have you requested that the parents that made the hateful comments be prohibited from contact with both of your children while at school? The administration should have them on an escort only status – they should not be allowed in the school unless they are being escorted by a member of administration. The administration should tell them that hate has no place in the school. If an administrator isn’t free to escort them 100% of the time they are on campus they can’t be there. If your children will be present, they can not be there.
Can this be done?
You can definitely try. I would go to the administration and tell them that there were homophobic/transphobic things said in the PTA meeting (I assume on school property) and some of those things were directly aimed at your child. I would push for those specific parents, assuming you know their names, not be allowed to be around your children for fear of them being targeted.
The school district has to have risk management people and attorneys. I think they would understand the potential liability of letting these bigots on campus.
I’ve seen it done before, but I’m in Texas. I had a Buddhist parent request that fundamentalist christian parent be kept from the Buddhist parent’s children. The fundamentalist christian had been trying to “save” the Buddhist children and saying hateful things in multiple situations. (Anyone that didn’t follow the very narrow path of this family were going to hell, sacrificed “christian” children and ate them the usual hate mongering)
In another case the parents attacked a teacher because of a misunderstanding (1st day of school 2 kids with same first name and small difference in their surnames names. The teacher had been asking which of the 2 girls they were asking about and the parents just attacked screaming their child had been kidnapped. (She hadn’t she was in the car pick up line a line of 50 kinder and 20 pk kids that was still making its way to the the front of the school 1/2 were English speaking and 1/2 Spanish) The teacher crossed the admin cowards and filed criminal charges. As part of their sentence, for the next 6 years (K – 5th grade) – the parents had to be escorted by an administrator. At events where the admin was going to be busy the family had to pay for an off duty officer to escort them.
Wasn’t the Principal at the meeting?
Unreal. What a bunch of whiny entitled bigots. This is why your kids are bullied. They have jackholes for parents. I truly wish I had been there for you and your son.schools really don’t care on the whole about the kids who are different. Those anonymous writers prove it. You are a super mama and you are making this world a better place for all, not just your kids. You are one of my heroes!!!
My heart hurt when I read that part about Chase. They might not realize why the way they act is so terrible, those parents, but that doesn’t excuse them. These are the people that are supposed to be the parental voice for the school system, and when they act like this, it only makes it harder to get support from the teachers and administration. Not to mention, these parents have children Chase and C.J. go to school with, children who are sucking up all that bigotry from their parents like sponges. I’m glad that you’re going to bat against them, for your kids and for others, like this. Never give them an inch.
Really wish you could move to Seattle and come to my first grader’s school. I think Oliver and CJ could be friends. They could trade dresses and tights and such. Oliver was bullied once as a kindergartener and was defended by his classmate and best friend. I am sorry that you and your family have to go through this crap.
Thank you for writing this letter and sharing it as a blog post. Keep up the good work. You have a friend in San Diego.
Wow, these PTA postings have just riled me up! I feel like I’m reading the story that a Life Time movie was based on and it’s the commercial break – I’m hoping for a redemptive and happy ending! Please continue the work you are doing on CJ’s behalf because you are helping strangers like me. I live vicariously through CJ’s life (in a totally non-creepy way), realizing what it would have been like to have parents that were brave enough to stand up for a little boy who has natural feminine qualities. I could have been CJ 50 years ago and you are exquisite. .
I just want to clap. That is my reaction. The previous post made me want to cry. I was a child bullied by students, teachers, and my own family for being gay. I have been saying for years that I will always answer questions that come from a place of wanting to understand. That is exactly it.
You are amazing! Thank you for all the work that you do on behalf of EVERY child.
This is literally in the top 2 or 3 all time best rebuttal type articles I have ever encountered. I am inspired and deeply stirred to committing to a similar stance.
Reasoned, strong, and unyielding to oppression. I am humbled and honored to read this and seek to grow similarly.
Deep thank yous…
Lori – I think this is your best post ever. Seriously. Kicking. Ass. Gotta be some Texas in there somewhere. You go girl. You do you. Seriously. CJ aside, you are a force.
Christine Crane Attorney at Law
Thanks for posting. You are not alone in your experience, unfortunately. Working towards changing the world……..THANK YOU for sharing the truth.
One clarification. Yes, true feminization is being integrated.. But what I meant is to balance patriarchy to create a new humanist. The wagon are here behind, and along side you, Lori and Matt. Let us know if there is anything specifically you need. Mark
I missed last week’s post. This makes me sick. Hang in there dear. I had to share.
No need to be sick Connie. This is a moment. Take it.
Orange County isn’t exactly the best place to be “different.” Even so, I find it hard to understand that the school won’t intervene. I wish for your and your families continued strength.
It’s taken a year and a half for my son’s school to even start taking his documented learning disabilities seriously. All because he’s twice exceptional. They don’t understand how he can be gifted and yet struggling in school. I’m ready to call a lawyer. My son’s self esteem is waning. So I’m not surprised that schools are still dragging their heels on students who are different. Angry, yes, but not surprised.
My son was gifted, yet his second grade teacher ,at CJ ‘s school called him bad because he would finish his work, and then start working on homework. He was picked on constantly by other teachers and supervisors on the playground ie.parents, until he came home one day and said ” everyone at school says I’m bad, so I must be !”. Needless to say my husband and I were heartbroken and after meeting with his teacher and administration we decided this school was not for him, even though his sisters were there, so we moved him to a different school where it took him until the 4th grade to realize he wasn’t bad, but that his old school,was bad for him ! He began to thrive again, loved his new school, and went on to become a very successful student in college, and an attorney Some schools are great in this district, but it truly depends on the administration to make some big changes,and I hope for your sons sake, especially if he has an IEP, that you find yourself an advocate to attend meetings with you. Your school is out of compliance if they are not meeting his needs with an IEP in place ! FIGHT FOR HIM !!
Reblogged this on doubleinvert and commented:
Lori Duron writes an excellent rebuttal to more of the nonsense she shouldn’t have had to encounter in the first place.
Excellent repost, Lori. Keep the higher road. Realize your dealing with the fear of change. To do so means consistency, calm, and logic. It will prevail in the long run, but it’s a sometimes longer path than one would choose or expect. Remember, feminization inclusion has become a norm, a better viewpoint and ready to be implemented into all of culture for fairness to all. You’re a pioneer and you have wagons behind you.
I support you, Lori. I can’t click the like button, because this is awful. But I am so glad to know there is a kid in the world like C.J., and he has a mom like you. I know long-distance cheering isn’t exactly the kind of support you might want or need right now, but it’s all I got. Keep fighting the good fight, because its people like you, unwilling to take shit, unwilling to back down, that change the world, one PTA meeting at a time.
Thanks for all you do,
What she said…long distance cheerleading from FL here!!
And from the UK.
And from Brazil!
And from Spain!!
And from New Zealand
Great blog and I commend you for being strong enough to speak up and say something when others can or do not. That being said, your child is growing up with good values. Equality is so important in today’s society where discrimination, racial prejudice and profiling still exist. #thenotyetpsychologist
Another thumbs up from Florida!