What I’ve Learned From Letting My Son Dress Up As A Girl For Halloween

IMG_8322Halloween is a time when Matt and I are reminded of how much we’ve evolved as parents. From three-year-old C.J. wanting to be Snow White and us convincing him to be a skeleton to now – when I steam his dress and watch in awe as he applies makeup using skills he’s acquired watching countless tutorials on YouTube.

Our boy is growing and maturing. The past few months he’s been drawn to mid-century design, vintage pinup fashion and 1950’s culture. So, when he saw a 1950’s car hop girl costume, his annual costume hunt quickly came to an end. Of course, because C.J. has to use his creativity and love for all things creepy and quirky whenever he can, his waitress has a backstory. She was murdered with a pair of pink fuzzy dice while delivering an order. Cue the excuse posthumous makeup.

Today, Yahoo! Parenting is running a slideshow of C.J.’s Halloween costumes over the years with my commentary about our evolution as parents of a differently gendered child. Check it out! (And, never, ever read the comments.)

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About raisingmyrainbow

RaisingMyRainbow.com is a blog about the adventures in raising a fabulous, gender creative son.
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61 Responses to What I’ve Learned From Letting My Son Dress Up As A Girl For Halloween

  1. Kate says:

    I feel like I’m reading about my son….

  2. L&F says:

    Reblogged this on Children's Photography and commented:
    CJ’s mom’s blog isn’t image driven like mine, but along the way she’s produced a great visual accompaniment to his journey though life as a gender creative child: his reactions to things are great, and all-in-all it’s alternately inspiring and a real hoot…

  3. i have 3 children with special needs..i like your blog

  4. LFCT says:

    Love your blog!
    I would just like to let you know that I have nominated you for the WordPress Family Award in honour of your support of and contribution to the WP community! I do not get as much time to read and comment as I would like, but would just like to let you know that I and many other on WP love your blog and appreciate it.

  5. Ivy Willow says:

    Thank you. Thank you so, so much. Thank you for helping CJ be who he wants to. Thank you for helping him be the best person he can be. You all are just absolutely lovely. I’m so happy and proud to see this. I myself an a transwoman and know how hard it was growing up not conforming to your gender, but when I was a kid way back in the 90s even… That wasn’t something that you let people know of. So I hid, for 18 years I hid.
    It makes me so happy to see how you are with him, and you guys give me hope for the future. It’s beautiful to see.
    Thank you, and have a beautiful day.
    And CJ, you rocked that costume like a sold out concert. Well done honey. Keep up being you, because you’re awesome.

  6. Ally says:

    CJ looks amazing, hope he had a great time! Don’t know if you saw this story but thought of you and CJ immediately. Enjoyed the story and the pics of this smoking hot, dad 😉

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/dad-son-halloween-costume-cruella_563a1ab1e4b0411d306ef1ce

  7. whatyouwant says:

    Has CJ seen “Hairspray”?

  8. Paula says:

    LOVE the costume, LOVE pink fuzzy dice as a murder weapon…so creative!! Hope you all had a safe, fun, and happy Halloween. 🙂

  9. Heather says:

    Love love love the last costume. Sometimes gender can be fun!

  10. Katja says:

    oh, dear lord, I read the comments. *facepalm*
    I wish I had CJ’s makeup skills! He looks amazing!

  11. MM says:

    The slideshow is great! Fun to see the costumes year by year and just image what it will be like when CJ is 20 and 30 and looking back at all the costumes for all the years!

    This years costume is so awesome and it is wild to think where cj’s sophisticated tastes will lead him!

  12. Elizabeth Withersmith says:

    You look terrific, CJ! Thanks for sharing your pizzazz with the world.

    Did Chase dress up this year? If so, what did he pick?

  13. Lance says:

    LOL I love that he made her “posthumous”! Great costume!

  14. Anna says:

    I love this blog. Keep up the excellent work! I can completely relate….Here’ my own post from last week…..
    Halloween has officially become the holiday I hate the most – because my son likes girl stuff. We’ve had to censor his play and stop him from dressing up in girl things because people can’t for some reason handle a little boy who likes and enjoys girl things. Playing with girl toys seems to be a bit more “acceptable” but dressing up is still something wrong or hilarious, and it seems to be perfectly acceptable to make comments to him or his parents about why he’s dressing up, or likes what he likes. I could sit here and try to justify what he likes, but I won’t. He likes what he likes and like asking why a little girl likes girl or boy toys – does it really matter?? He likes what he likes and that’s it. It may change, it may not change, it doesn’t matter.
    I was brought to tears this morning when I had to have a conversation with Nicholas about wearing a costume to his dance class (yes he’s in jazz dancing people because he likes to dance and be active that way; he also likes punching the punching bag we got for both kids…) For all other parents with kids in that class this is easy; for me I have to ask him if he’s prepared to get weird looks from both kids, and adults, and comments about the girl costume he’s wearing. I couldn’t even finish the sentence because it breaks my heart that my child will with absolute certainty be shamed and ridiculed over something this minuscule in life. Then we have to tackle the costume for school – again more explanations and tough conversations and of course more shame. And then finally the actual trick or treating main event…. My heart breaks because he can’t even have this one day to just be free and fun and enjoy what he likes and just be a kid. I don’t care if people agree with me or not all I ask is don’t be a dick to a kid who is wearing a costume that everyone else says is not for their gender. And please for the love of God don’t tell the child or the parent “it’s Ok” they are wearing it. They bloody know that already – and by saying that you’re assuming we need your permission or approval. If you feel absolutely compelled to say something all you need to do to help the child (and probably more so the parent because we’re dying a million deaths inside because all we want is our child to be happy and protect them from nastiness) is to give them a high five or a “Right on!”

    • Lori says:

      I don’t know why you have to censor your child’s dress. I believe a child should be able to dress the way he or she identifies. If your son wants to dress as a girl he/she should be allowed to express that part. Children ought to be taught by their parents not to pick on other children. They should be taught that there are all kinds of people in this world. If parents don’t teach their children when they are growing up about all the different kinds of people in the world, when they leave the house to go to college or when they get out in the world to work and they see all the different people they aren’t going to know how to react. But if you teach them while they are growing up, they will know what to expect. After all, isn’t part of parenting preparing our children for the real world? Let your child set an example. You never know, there might be other children like your child that is afraid to dress like a girl but might feel more comfortable seeing someone else that dresses like that. I don’t know why there are so many people that have a problem with the way someone dresses. How are they hurting anyone? They aren’t. Why do people feel that everyone should be the same? There are some parents that are ashamed of their children for being gay or transgender and I don’t understand that. That is your child! How can you stop loving your own child? Someone that is a part of you? Especially mothers where they carried that child inside of them for 9 months. I hear stories of parents that actually throw their children out of the house for be transgender. I could never ever do that. I wonder why there are some parents that can accept and support their child no matter what and some cannot? It makes me so happy when I hear of parents supporting their children. Because you don’t hear about it that often. Some parents will get upset if a boy likes the color pink. That’s so ridiculous. I don’t know, there are so many other things a parent has to worry about when bringing up a child. Things like, drugs and alcohol and manners, etc. Worrying about whether your child wears a skirt or not should be the least concern.

      • mdaniels4 says:

        Well, while you’re expressing all valid questions and points, and you’re preaching to the choir here, unfortunately the world is not like that and people who go outside of the lines drawn by the ubiquitous “they” can not only but often are victims then of very serious verbal and physical attacks. And it does not have to be very far out of the lines for that to happen.

        For example, I’m a straight married fellow who happens to like his toes polished. I do it for my happiness. All winter I’ve got on all sorts of colors. Whatever I like at the time I do it. I like the time it takes me to do it. If find it relaxing. And when I’m done I like seeing a spot of color. It just makes me happy. In the summer though I usually wear sheers and neutrals with a high shine topcoat. I wear sandals all the time. So everyone can see my toes are polished. But a few odd looks is all the feedback I’ve ever gotten. I don’t use more vibrant colors then because all the women have their colors on, and quite honestly I think they’d be the most put out if I was getting attention for what they normally do to be happy for themselves. I just don’t want to be in that position as I’ve seen how then when people grumble in numbers. It usually doesn’t end well.

        Additionally, my wife’s family is more judgemental about theses lines not to be crossed. Her sister’s husband literally refuses to acknowledge his newfound nephew’s existence. Ftm transgender. I find that appalling and tried to discuss it with him rationally and reasonably. But there’s no room for that. I won’t show at all in the presence of her family because it would really cause a strain there, between her and her family and me. It’s just not worth it to me at my age to cause her this struggle.

        Which is why I’m so envious of the courage to completely do what CJ, but more importantly the entire Duron family is doing. What they’re doing is to get a bit more enlightenment out there to make even the slightest bit of improvement in knowledge and understanding of human expression. I believe gender fluidity will become more common, once people realize that we’re all human. And humans have likes and dislikes and should be allowed to express all of ourselves for the simple fact of being human. Not HAVING to suppress things just because you’re identified by the physicality of being male or female. And that identification is outside the person living it. I’ve come to learn that I’m human first and a human male as an adjective, not a state of absolute being. And certainly not defined by someone else who identifies however they want to and then imposing it on everybody else. I’m not put here on this planet to make you feel comfortable. But of course I do try to be considerate for the ones I love.

        Fortaleza the work done out there it’s still going to be a longer term issue. But maybe not as long as one might think. Even 5 years ago same sex marriage was an absolute not going to happen. And today, look where we are. That’s a good thing. For me, just dabbling in as a straight male by painting my toes, I think this could quickly be furthered if only the polish companies used male models as well. Or sponsored thoughtful articles of why men are not including in body decoration. Get it out there. It would change. Remember. All of this is a form of marketing. Getting one to “buy” this new product (idea) . Marketed well you can sell just about anything. Like ice cubes to Eskimos!

      • Lori Q. says:

        Ok, You mentioned using male models for nail polish. That has happened already. Just do a search for men’s nail polish. But that’s a different story. I am not like C.J. I am a m-f transsexual. I don’t want to buy things geared towards men. That’s fine if you want it to be acceptable for men to wear certain things traditionally marketed to women, but that’s not my fight. I live in a rural town. People here are backwards yet I still transitioned from male to female. I live everyday as a female. I wear what I want to wear. I wear makeup, get my nails and my hair done. There aren’t any clothing stores in my town so I travel about 8 miles to where all the stores are. I shop for my clothes and I try them on in the store. I use the ladies room as well. I did have some problems in my town when I first started to transition. I had one of my tires slashed, used condoms thrown on my windshield, cooked spaghetti thrown at my front door of my house. That was years ago and it didn’t stop me from transitioning. I don’t have things like that happen to me anymore. Not for years. I think people saw that I wasn’t going to stop being me. People don’t bother me anymore. I am sure they talk about me. You see what happens where I live is the people that lived here and knew me before I transitioned, tell the new people that move in. Hopefully that will change in the near future because I plan on moving. I think that’s the best thing is after you transition, move to a new town where people don’t know your past and start a new life. People will judge you no matter what. If it isn’t someone transitioning from male to female they will find something else for them to talk about. If every transsexual was afraid they would be judged, no transsexual would transition. And no one said you have to change all at once. You could add feminine articles a little at a time, if your desire is to transition. I know you have heard this before but life really is too short. Don’t wait till it’s too late and wish you had done all the things you wanted to do. Do them now. I just had my name changed last month. It was court ordered by a judge. That wasn’t the end of it. Oh no. That was the easy part. The hard part is after you change your name because then I had to run all over the place to get everything changed. I had my name and gender changed on my license, registration & title, my lease and I am still not done because I can’t change things with Social Security until I get my doctor to sign a letter. I see him today and am crossing my fingers that he will sign it. If he does then I can drive to the Social Security office to change things. I still have to have my birth certificate changed but for that I have to go to the courthouse and buy a certified copy of the court ordered name change. Lots of running but you know what? It’s worth it. I feel like I am accomplishing something I have always wanted to do.

  15. Trans_kid says:

    I read the comments. Ignore them. They’re ignorant haters who don’t know the definition of gender vs sex. They think you’re forcing this on him. They haven’t read your whole blog (and the book) multiple times.

  16. momknowsjack says:

    This is a great costume and backstory! ❤

  17. chris1 says:

    love last year’s costume when said was going as a lawyer—Legally Blonde pink instead of the horsehair grey wig and black gown of a UK lawyer

  18. This year’s costume is fabulous!

  19. Ulrika says:

    Awesome costume! My oldest is now 20 and finally seems comfortable in her own skin as she started her transition a few years ago. I am so happy that people are more aware and talking about this so that less kids have to suffer in silence. My daughter has started a video blog and is amazed at the positive response. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCf0CRezZYOUcvqrdMmzowQ

  20. Cori W says:

    I read the Yahoo article yesterday and did read the comments. I saw so much fear, anger, and hatred there that I had to search for your blog. I think it so wonderful when I see parents who encourage their children to be who they are, and not try to fit them into boxes of the parents design. I hope that as more people speak up and share their stories that others will let go of the fear that cause the anger and the hatred.

    PS- I love CJs costumes, and the way he is rocking the dead car hop look. 🙂

  21. Lynne says:

    I love the it CJ! I read the comments too….so sorry I did!

    • mdaniels4 says:

      The comments don’t bother me because at least the ignorance is out in the open. Better to know what your enemies are thinking than deal with them surreptitiously. That is much harder to challenge.

  22. SM Johnson says:

    CJ looks so happy and confident. That says more than any words, doesn’t it? Thank you for sharing. I think CJ (and your parenting skills) are spot on.

  23. Reblogged this on Fairy JerBear's Queer/Trans News, Views & More From The City Different – Santa Fe, NM and commented:
    Another great post from this fabulous mom, continued at Yahoo Parenting.

  24. Todd Ruiz says:

    So love this! Very encouraged by C.J’s love of 50s culture! Lots of fun girl fashions from that era. Keep it up!

  25. Pingback: Halloween: Second Time is the Charm! | Our Sunshine

  26. Isabelle says:

    What an awesome costume!! Fun to see CJ’s costumes through the years and in complete solidarity with you on refusing to read the comments.Happy Halloween!

  27. L says:

    I read the comments :(.

  28. becca says:

    as a big fan of CJ and of halloween…all these costumes are super cute and super creative. two thumbs way up!

  29. eabbatangelo says:

    I applaud your perspective – I wish more parents understood that gender isn’t the same thing as sex. E. xo

  30. kidwebb says:

    CJ is lucky to have parents like you. I bit and read some of the comments (which I always tell myself not to do). What is striking to me is that ignorance about the fact that gender is non-binary is being turned on those of us (you, especially) who understand that. I feel bad for the children who suffer under parents who allow their lack of understanding to guide their decision making and applaud you for having a child who won’t need to undo decades of forced subjection to an outdated model of what it means to be human.

  31. witnessmom says:

    I always feel better reading about C.J. This is our son’s first year of being a girl too. I blog about it because there are so few of us out there. He’s a happy kid. Sounds like C.J. is too. Way to go.

  32. chloealexa8888 says:

    Love Car-hop Girl. Cant wait to see the Evolution. Being a Trans person, one of the most important things is Confidence in just Who You are. I think your CJ will be fine. THANKS FOR SHARING.

  33. DChisolm says:

    I enjoy reading your blog as we too are raising a gender nonconforming child. My son gets so excited over Halloween because it is the one day he can dress in amazing girl clothes and not as many people question him. The challenge we have is with his older brother and him not wanting to trick or treat with his brother who is dressed like a girl. It’s a constant battle but we always try to talk positive and open about how his younger brother is but I do stress/worry as a mom.
    Do you have that challenge with CJ’s older brother?

  34. fit40sblog says:

    Love it! Huge props to CJ for picking an cool costume and then making it awesome!

  35. Jens Lyon says:

    I just started following this blog a few days ago. Creative people so often find difficulty fitting into other people’s boxes. Your C.J. is an awesome kid with a wonderful imagination! Happy Halloween to your family! 🙂

  36. Genbumom says:

    We should support our children in all of their endeavors. Too much trauma can occur when we stifle our children’s creativity, sense of self, and most of all sense of security/safety in this world. If we want to raise independent and loving children that mature into adults that contribute to society they need to be able to trust their safety is met in that society. Let kids be who they are. One trend I have noticed is that other kids often do not mind differences any more. They seem to actually embrace them, it’s the older generation that is struggling. I hope to see that younger generation continue to spread messages of acceptance to their elders.

  37. susinko says:

    What a sweet costume! Not only does he get to have fun with 50’s fashions, but also gets to be creepy and undead at the same time! I love C.J.s imagination!

    My daughter has gone out as a dragon, Optimistic Prime, a cat and a black tiger with blue stripes that she made herself.

    I’m glad that you don’t let the ignorant and hateful comments mess with you. I always feel uplifted when I read about you and your family’s strength.

  38. Devany says:

    “Never, ever read the comments.” I love you.

  39. Kira says:

    I love this years costume and the story behind it, it shows a great imagination. As for the comments… well, look at the source; anonymous people with bigger egos than brains (or hearts for that matter).

    It takes more strength to be an individual than another member of the herd, keep being strong!

  40. Okay now that’s quite an evolution and definitely a beautiful one

  41. Bennett says:

    Yahoo news, as good as the stories may be, the comments are always of the “eats raw steak with the tip of a gun” variety. Not to be indulged. CJ looks very well put together! He’s got the physical attitude of the character too. That light blue compliments his red hair so perfectly! and the shoes are just perfect!

  42. J says:

    I love the evolution! Creepy cute carhop girl for the win! 😀

  43. mdaniels4 says:

    I read a bunch of the comments Lori and commented my replies on a few. The level of ether ignorance out there is unbelievable. Some are just plain mean but many have no clue about what they’re talking about. I try to discuss when I can do that so at least some may be motivated to do some further research instead of getting a belief that they have no idea where it came from and why they stick with it. Keep the information going Lori as this is simply the ONLY way this will change

  44. Nicola says:

    Great article and adorable pictures. I love his costume. You did warn us but I peeked at the comments anyways.
    They really hurt my heart I read. I commend you for your courage when you know that this is the response you will receive.

  45. A friend of mine’s son (age 4ish) has asked to have a pink jelly fish costume for Halloween. He is not gender non-conforming (as far as we know) – he just likes pink jellyfish. His mom has, with some mild perturbation, created a WONDERFUL pink jelly fish costume for him (she just never thought she’d be buying him a pink shirt and watchcap from the girls section). And a HUGE fantastic purple jellyfish costume for herself. The pics of him she has posted to family/friends on facebook show him being SO proud. I think Halloween (cosplay) is about *imagination* and working to making one’s dreams a reality. And that parents who support kids in this endeavor are raising imaginative, empowered *creators* – who know how to set goals and meet them. (My daughter has chosen to be the zombie cheerleader from the most recent logos minifig collection – and has thus learned from her theater/movie production trained aunt how to ‘distress’ fabric to look old/moldy/zombified. I’m off to change garbage bags into ‘distressed’ pom poms…)

  46. Marissa says:

    The comments are brutal over there. I love CJ’s costume choices. You guys are awesome!

  47. Thank you for sharing your experiences and helping the world to evolve, finally in the right direction. Acceptance is key to the happiness for so many. Bravo to you and your family.

  48. tracykarin says:

    Love CJ Halloween outfit and the support from such loving and supportive parents! Many Kudos!

  49. Susan says:

    This past weekend, my 15-year old stepdaughter had the courage to share that she was gender non-conforming (I sort of had already figured it out). Thanks to you, Matt and CJ, my husband and i were prepared with accepting words and responses. Also, I love CJ’s costume! He’s going to rock the candy collecting.

  50. Ellen says:

    great costume!!

  51. Victoria Leavitt says:

    This is so imaginative – love that there is a backstory!

  52. Kitty Catty says:

    Your costume is amaze-balls CJ! Hope you get lots of candy. 🙂

  53. Mackenzie says:

    I read that earlier and loved seeing the evolution of CJ’s costumes. But I do think this year’s is my favorite—leave it to CJ to add extra pizzazz to an already adorable costume.

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