Raising My Rainbow In The Chicago Tribune

Chicago TribuneThe Chicago Tribune recently asked me and others, “When boys wear dresses: What does it mean?”

“At a time when there’s increasing awareness of transgender adults, the youngest gender-nonconforming Americans are also starting to come forward. That includes the kids who are adamant about having been born in the wrong body, as well as a much larger group of kids who consistently and markedly defy gender norms, but in ways that aren’t as easy to categorize: boys like C.J. who love dolls and dress-up but don’t identify as girls…”

Click here to read the full story.

 

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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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17 Responses to Raising My Rainbow In The Chicago Tribune

  1. mdaniels4 says:

    Btw. He’s 3. How many 3 year olds swagger like a trained adult male? Not many I wager. Relax. Please. Does it fit your idea? Your male partner’s? That probably has more to do with the question posed. 3 to 7 year old boys run as girls do. They get trained otherwise. I had to train my 7 year old how to throw a baseball because between a girl and a boy it’s not different. It is in a game but not naturally. No offense, but you’re looking at him and comparing him to a stereotypical adult male. Not fair. My dad called me Margaret for years which of course pissed me off as I was learning. I’m 60 now. And in the end I became a pretty good ball player. So that tells you what it was like. I did NOT do this with my now clearly heterosexual son. He was a poor ball player but loved the game and wanted to do his best at it. Just mechanics to pitch a ball. Taught my daughter the same. If she was to play the game she needed the mechanics to do so to the best of her ability. They’re not natural skills, nor masculine or feminine. It’s the human body.

    Relax. You have a little human. Paint his nails. Do his hair. See the joy he has in color. Who hates color? It’s hair and nails. Feel his freedom as to YOU do in a skirt. Do you not fell freer in movement in a skirt vs pants? I can imagine it would be. Who wouldn’t want that? Feel his power in Elsa in a sword and gown. Man. Power and we’ll dressed. James Bond. Who really gives a whit? But your question says you do. The real question is why? Are you embarrassed? And if so I want to ask you why. No judgements. I truly get it. I live here too. But I won’t stand for nonsense.

  2. AilaLynn says:

    I just came across this article on the yahoo news and it struck me right away. You see, I have a son whom is now 3. He LOVES the colors purple and turquoise, sparkles, dresses, make-up, getting his hair fixed up, sitting cross legged like his sisters,and he even has a very definite “feminine” run (don’t know what to call it but he holds arms bent at elbows with wrists kind of limp and hanging downwards when he runs). He enjoys working with tools too when he helps mommy (me) and daddy (my hubby) fix up around the house when doing construction. I don’t know how much of these are phases due to his age or if it’s a deeper part of who he is. It’s comforting to see others going through this too. None of my other kids have such mannerisms (I have 4 others- with 5 al total). Yet I enjoy it whole heartedly. I do his makeup for him and let him pick out which princess dress he wants to wear on any given day. My mom (his grandma) calls him her “little fairy”. Honestly, I don’t care if he is bi, gay, straight, transgender or whatever he wants to be and who he is. He is my son and I love him. I just feel lost in how to help him feel loved, accepted, safe, all while keeping him safe from those in the world whom are cruel and not accepting. He will be starting school in fall of 2017 and I’m torn as to let him wear dresses and makeup to school or not because I want him to be himself, but I’m scared to death of the crap he will have to deal with (the largest part from teachers or school staff and older kids whom aren’t open minded)….*sighs* Thank you for blogging because I’m finding comfort knowing I’m not the only parent torn between letting the world embrace them as they are or sheltering them from the cruelties of the same world.

    • mdaniels4 says:

      This seems the more recurrent theme. Could it be that humans are naturally attracted to colorful and sparkly things? . My bet is yes. And now with more openness in the media re what they call transgender then I’d expect you’ll see even more of this. Not to detract that our culture is not quite there yet on this. But take heart. It’s coming. Look at the change in just a couple of years. Caitlin Jenner had a huge affect. Buts it’s even more than that. Don’t worry. We’re talking about human expression in all its beautiful ways. Even the ugly. Buts it’s all part of the experience.

  3. Ingrid says:

    This article brought tears to my eyes. My son, now 6, is exactly the same as C.J.
    It has been hard with our families to explain and defend the supportive and loving environment that we provide for him at home to express himself in princess dresses and bows in his hair. To be honest, it’s sometimes tough to see your boy that way as a parent. But I love him and will do anything to build his self confidence for him to know he is beautiful and loved no matter who he becomes.
    I live in Dallas, TX… Part of why I decided to comment was to see if there are other moms like me in the area to form a similar support groups for gender nonconforming boys?

    • mdaniels4 says:

      I think humans likelike, naturally, colorful and sparkly things. Your son is no different. I’m not different. I’m cis and still like colorful and sparkly. But it’s changing. The standard is changing. Caitlin Jenner has had a huge effect but it’s even more than that. So fast in the last two years. You need, I’ll be blunt, when confronted by this, to merely ask the question why. Why can’t he wear a dress or a skirt? What is wrong with nail polish? Make them answer the circular question. There is no rational answer. And if you keep on asking THAT question it becomes obvious they’ll also see it as nonsense. Because it in nonsense. And you know it too. It’s hard because you want to protect. But against what? Stupid people and fear. Never ever ever give into it. Lori and Matt understood and got it. That’s why we’re here. And we’re here for you too. And you’re there for your son too. Who is a human that dares to say he likes color and sparkles. Good for him!

    • mdaniels4 says:

      I think humans like, naturally, colorful and sparkly things. Your son is no different. I’m not different. I’m cis and still like colorful and sparkly. But it’s changing. The standard is changing. Caitlin Jenner has had a huge effect but it’s even more than that. So fast in the last two years. You need, I’ll be blunt, when confronted by this, to merely ask the question why. Why can’t he wear a dress or a skirt? What is wrong with nail polish? Make them answer the circular question. There is no rational answer. And if you keep on asking THAT question it becomes obvious they’ll also see it as nonsense. Because it in nonsense. And you know it too. It’s hard because you want to protect. But against what? Stupid people and fear. Never ever ever give into it. Lori and Matt understood and got it. That’s why we’re here. And we’re here for you too. And you’re there for your son too. Who is a human that dares to say he likes color and sparkles. Good for him!

  4. David A Morse says:

    I follow your family story with interest. I was never uncertain of my gender. But I also never really questioned my sexuality either until very recently. It never seemed an issue because growing up I was very socially isolated. I have a disability requiring the use of a wheelchair and back then at least most able bodied kids were put off. It is hard for them to see how a friendship would work because so many hobbies are action oriented sports for boys. I not only could not share in that but did not have an interest. Therefore I really only had one close male friend before HS and another during High School. We shared a love for Star Trek, Star Wars and movies. I was just happy to have such a close friend to spend time with after school and weekend sleepovers. Only now in the last maybe three years have I looked back and realized where my heart is and accept I’m gay. I see how all the shows I watch and the child stars I focused on were boys not girls. I thought at the time it was just a desire for surrogate male companionship. Now I know it was not so innocent as it continued after I was older. I also played schoolhouse with neighbor girls and even dolls and girls toys. I really enjoyed the story of Chase coming out. That was so great and I wish more parents raised their kids so accepting and open minded. While many want a time where no child has to come out I see a day where every child has a coming out. If that happens than it will mean no parent assumes the gender or sexual identity of a child but lets each child discover their personal destiny. I hope you continue to share as CJ discovers his place and identity in life.

    • mdaniels4 says:

      I sincerely don’t mean to be disrespectful David. You’re an adult. But is it possible that your younger self was right? You’ve got alot of issues going on. As a kid I always liked alot of traditionally defined girl things. Looking back I could easily come to the conclusion I was gay. But I really think even at that age in the early 60s I sincerely struggled with the idea of rigid gender. It just never made sense to me. But inside I always knew, implicitly, that I was attracted to girls romantically. I gravitated to their beingnessbeingness, yet at the same time not wishing to be a girl nornor have girl feelings toward a guy. It’s really hard to describe. But it was more like wanting to be an equal and not either being above one another. I wanted her to see me as a male version of her. And she a female version of me. We could talk motorcycles AND nail polish and hair color/styles, and woodworking projects. Both and. Gosh I hope this makes sense. In this binary it seems difficult to even express this myself. In my wife though I came really close. Not quite there but that’s no real fault of hers. It’s the world she grew up with that kept us from really there. But man it’s really close. All I’m saying is that if you really are attracted to guys and all they are, then that just fine of course. But if it’s because of a conclusion because of a bunch of contradictory thoughts you just might really want to get real clarity. But I suspect humans are a space on the sexuality spectrum. Given the right circumstances we all could accept love regardless of gender. I. Haven’t found that yet. Otherwise, obviously haven’t looked too hard for it either. But I believe it could be possible given the right person and right circumstances. Just really being honest and thinking out loud.

      • David A Morse says:

        I have clarity. It is disrespectful to suggest I don’t know myself. I was just sharing my journey and you have yours.

      • mdaniels4 says:

        And that’s why I said David I sincerely don’t mean to be disrespectful, and just posited if it was possible. That’s it. Nothing ore. So sorry you took it that way.

  5. Whitney says:

    I thought you and C.J. may like this. Jake is a gender-nonconforming kiddo from my neck of the woods.

  6. Kudos on the article! Nicely done. We are so fortunate to send our girls to a school that is so accepting of all, has a board level diversity committee, and even asks on forms, gender preferred for your child.

  7. Congrats on the article. It’s so important that your story be told. My niece used to say she was a boy, and would only wear boys clothing. As she hit puberty things changed and she now identifies with being a girl. As for who she ends up being with romantically, it’s up in the air, as she’s 13. Thankfully, her parents (and our entire family) are open to whatever comes.

  8. AMM says:

    I’ve heard that statistic that “most” children who show discomfort with their assigned gender stop when they reach puberty, and I seem to recall that it has also been debunked.

    I also wonder whether anybody’s tried to find out how many children who are unhappy with their gender but seem to stop when they grow up eventually have to deal with it (e.g., transition) when they’re much older. I was very unhappy with being a boy when I was little, but eventually resigned myself to the inescapable and just tried not to think about it by the time I was in my teens. I spent most of my life with an unexplainable, intractable depression and sense of meaninglessness that I could sometimes distract myself from but never went away. I’m now in my 60’s and finally transitioning, and the depression is starting to actually disappear. I may have seemed cis, but evidently that gender dysphoria never, ever went away.

  9. mdaniels4 says:

    This just keeps needing to get out there Lori. There is nothing wrong with these kids. They’re just being human. The gender thing is a mind game of social construct. I know I’m a guy. I like being a guy. I also like socially approved women stuff. they’re human too. Skirts or pants. Who really gives a rip. Decorate your body any way you want that makes you happy. Why in the world does anybody really care. Why is it so important for them to care?

  10. georgiakevin says:

    I am not sure why but this well-written post made me emotional while reading it. Keep in mind those adults with gender dysphoria were children with gender dysphoria. Most knew at an early age but could not transition bbecause their families would not approve at best or harm them at worst!

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