My 11 Year Old Was Just Dumped By His Best Friend Because He’s Gay

This piece originally appeared on HuffPost.

My son C.J. lay in my arms all night. He cried until a restless sleep found him, then he whimpered rhythmically. If I moved away, he moved toward me so that our cheeks were touching.

He hadn’t slept in bed with me since he was six months old. He turned 11 on February 1. A week later, Allie, his “school best friend” broke his heart.

“My family doesn’t hang out with gay people, so I’m not going to hang out with you anymore,” she told him as they walked together after school.

C.J. didn’t say anything. He was in shock and confused. The feeling of his heart breaking for the first time rendered him speechless.

We’ve known Allie’s family casually for nine years, in the way you know a family when you raise children together in the suburbs. C.J. has gone to school with Allie for half his life. She’s always known that he’s a gender creative boy who like “girl things.” It turns out, while Allie and her family had apparently been (at least somewhat) okay with C.J.’s gender creativity, they aren’t okay if he’s gay.

“How was school?” I asked C.J. when he got in the car that afternoon.

“Fine,” he said. I could tell that nothing in his world was fine.

We drove for a few minutes in silence until his pain came pouring out. It was too much for me to catch.

“She just said it. She said her family doesn’t hang out with gay people, so she can’t hang out with me. She says I’m the only gay person she knows, and she doesn’t want to know me. She says that all of our friends will be her friends now because she is more popular than I am,” he sobbed, with his head in hands. Tears dripped out from between his little fingers that were dirty from playing handball on the blacktop.

At this point in his life, C.J. doesn’t talk much about his sexual orientation. He’s not yet a romantic or sexual being; he’s an 11-year old boy with lots of time to figure out who he is attracted to while having our unconditional love and support. When he does talk about it, sometimes he says he’s gay. Sometimes he says he’s half gay and half bisexual. Sometimes he says, “I’m just me!”

Whatever his future sexuality, that day homophobia turned my son into devastation personified.

Like all LGBTQ and gender expansive people, C.J. has learned to live life ignoring the stares, snickers and snide comments of strangers. He can brush off invasive questions and critiquing quips from classmates with a certain amount of ease. But, facing hostility from one of the most important people in his life – one of his best friends – was something he’d never had to deal with. It put a gash in his heart that may never heal completely.

I focused on driving even though it was the last thing I wanted to do. I wanted to pull over and crawl into the back seat to comfort him. When we arrived home, Matt, my husband, was working in the garage and could tell right away that something was wrong.

C.J. was all tears and unanswerable questions.

“Are Allie’s parents homophobic?”

“Do they hate gay people?”

“Do they hate me?”

“If people are friends with me, can they still be popular?”

“Who will I sit with at lunch?”

“Who will I play with at recess?”

“Why do people hate people for something they can’t change?”

My gut reaction was the desire to lash out. I wanted to send Allie’s mom questioning texts. I wanted to point out Allie’s flaws to C.J. and return the birthday present she handed him with a smile a few days earlier. I wanted to erase all the play dates they’d had and the crafts they’d made. I wanted to delete the pictures they took with Santa at Christmas time.

I knew I wasn’t thinking rationally with my brain; I was feeling with my heart. I reminded myself of the lesson we teach both of our sons: we can’t let hate breed hate. That’s easier said than done.

C.J. doesn’t feel shame about liking makeup or thinking boys are cute. Allie had seen more of that this school year. A few months ago, she was the first person outside of our family who C.J. told he might be gay. She was a little uncomfortable, but their friendship carried on. After the movie Wonder came out, they discovered they both had a crush on the male costar. Allie thought it was weird, but also totally understandable because the boy was so cute.

I guess there had only been little hints of gay up until just before the big breakup. Then, Allie got in trouble when her parents caught her reading my blog about raising a gender creative child on her iPad. Days later, she attended C.J.’s birthday party and there were gay people among the partygoers. During the party, C.J. randomly told her that he couldn’t wait for OC Pride (our local Pride) and that she should go because Pride is so much fun.

Either Allie decided she was too uncomfortable with C.J.’s non-heteronormative identity to be friends with him or her parents made the decision for her, because the next day their friendship was over — but C.J.’s physical and emotional pain had just begun.

He climbed onto my lap like a small child. I held him and rocked him while thinking, “This is what hate does. This is what the effects of bigotry look like. A mother rocking her fifth grader because neither one knows what to do to ease the pain.”

We sat, sharing tears for nearly an hour with few words said.

“I love you so much” I whispered over and over.

“I know,” he whispered each time.

“If I could take away the pain, I would.” I said.

“I know. But you can’t take away the gay,” he said.

I wished Allie and her parents could witness that moment. Would it prompt them to reconsider their phobias? Would they change their minds? Would they see that my tender-souled boy is a great person to have in their lives? Would they see that I’m teaching my child to love while they’re teaching their child to hate?

C.J.’s pain came in waves, like pain usually does. He’d forget for a moment. He’d tire for a minute. Then he’d remember. The emotions would crest and break.

At times, C.J. was inconsolable. I watched him shivering on the couch and struggling to catch his breath between sobs. This is one of the reasons why some LGBTQ and gender expansive kids kill themselves. This is why some of them sink into depression, turn to drugs, drop out of school and participate in unsafe sexual situations. This is why some mothers with children like mine find their arms empty one day.

I worry that C.J. can’t take this kind of pain and rejection for years on end. He can’t have nights like this multiplied by seven more years of school and an infinite number of classmates who will hate him for who he loves and what he wears.

We got him into the bath, telling him that a good soak would soothe him. Matt lay on the floor next to the bathtub so that C.J. would feel his presence and protection. Matt wiped away his own slow, silent tears when C.J. wasn’t looking.

“You’re not going to be alone, buddy. You’re still going to have friends,” Matt said before listing all of C.J. friends – excluding Allie.

Matt and I didn’t think Allie could persuade all of C.J.’s friends to turn their back on him. Until now, all of his girl friends have always been fiercely loyal and protective. But, she’d planted a seed of fear in our hearts we had never felt before. If Allie, who had once been one of C.J.’s most loyal friends and protectors, could change her view of him seemingly overnight, I worried it might be possible that others could do the same. I suddenly found myself spiraling as I imagined Allie and her parents texting, emailing, facebooking, tweeting, snapchatting and facetiming every family in the school directory to turn them against our son because he might love a boy one day. Gossip and hate spread fast in the suburbs.

I caught myself before the terrifying daydream could unravel any further. Rather than dwelling on worst-case scenarios, Matt and I decided to try to use the experience as a teachable moment. We reminded C.J. to treat others the way he wants to be treated and that the easiest way to rob haters of their power is to act like their actions don’t bother you.

C.J. asked if we could just go to bed and wake up tomorrow. I agreed without hesitation. Sleep is often the answer.

His mention of the next day was a reminder that it would be the first day when he’d have no friends at school, sit by himself at lunch and play by himself at recess. He pictured every day of the rest of his days being spent alone and hated, because Allie’s family doesn’t hang out with gay people, so Allie doesn’t, so no one else will.

“It won’t hurt this bad forever. It’s going to get better. I know that’s hard to believe right now, but I promise,” I said to C.J. in bed. “You have lots of friends. You are amazing and if people don’t see that, they are the ones with the problem, not you. Kids should be lining up to have a unique friend like you.”

The next morning I drove C.J. to school slowly, in no hurry for him to leave the safety of my car.

“I love you. Have a good day,” I said to him, as I do every morning.

I watched him walk away from my car with his head hung low. It felt like my heart was walking off with him.

I drove teary-eyed to work, thinking of the parents of rainbows who felt this pain before me and those who will feel it after me. I thought of the LGBTQ and gender expansive youth who have or will experience C.J.’s pain and rejection without unconditional love and support at home.

When I arrived at work, I looked in the rear-view mirror and wiped my eyes. I took a deep breath and walked into my office, ready to start the countdown to when I found out how C.J.’s day at school went. Who would be friends with C.J.?


About raisingmyrainbow is a blog about the adventures in raising a fabulous, gender creative son.
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147 Responses to My 11 Year Old Was Just Dumped By His Best Friend Because He’s Gay

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  4. Precious says:

    Great read. Give C.J a hug from me 🙂

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  6. Sandra says:

    I was so sorry to read this and you’ve been in my thoughts for a long time. I come here almost daily to check for updates. And I’ve been discussing this with friends too. So one of my friends made a point about Allie and Allie’s parents and it made me very thoughtful. By the way, I hope you are changing their names… It’s lovely that you have such a public life and all your family is on board, but not every family wants to have their personal choices and life stories told…
    My friend said: Maybe CJ being a boy liking girl things was “sort of” ok with this family before Allie reached her tweens. Maybe CJ saying he/she thought he/she was gay was a scary thing for Allie (and parents). Because, as you say, maybe they are still young to know what are their sexual and love preferences (and parents might be afraid that CJ’s decisions or thoughts will speed her into sexuality), if he hasn’t identified if he’s a boy or a girl in a boy’s body, what does gay mean? is he interested in girls? Is he interested in boys? In both? So, when they hang out or maybe change their clothes together (if they do) is he starting to have desires for Allie? As CJ has been gender creative since he was quite young, it’s a natural ongoing conversation in your home: gender, sexuality, etc. and it’s great. But maybe Allie’s parents just want her to be a regular kid for now (with fewer gender questions) and not have to deal with all the sexuality matters just yet (and of course, they clearly have homophobic issues). I guess they are allowed to that.
    As there are many parents who won’t let their 11-year-old girls experiment with makeup, high heels, or dress up as tv stars, or pop stars (even at Halloween) because they don’t want an over-sexualization before time. My parents never let me near a lipstick before the age of 16 and I don’t blame them. I had friends who were using since slightly before their tweens and I thought it was cool, but I don’t regret not being used to using it before 16. I think they were entitled to make that choice, as the parents who allowed their kids to use make up and play with make up were also entitled to do that. There was no “right or wrong”, just different choices. But I think my parents weren’t too happy when on my playdates, they ‘ve heard we used make-up, tried someone else’s mom dresses and high heels. I am not trying to defend Allies’ parents, but what I am trying to say, is that maybe they were on the wall for a while, questioning what was appropriate for her for a while and his ” coming out” which neither CJ, neither anyone can really be sure what it means, just made them choose to stop it. Of course, they could have and should have made it in another way and I am sure that even for Allie they weren’t able to explain better than ” we don’t hang out with gay people”. It’s all terrible and heartbreaking.
    The fact that she has become a bully it’s also heartbreaking and those other kids joined in. It says a lot about character building and the short-coming of the parents’ action and ignorance. But as other people here, I still have hope that this can become a teachable moment for all involved.
    People are allowed to stop friendships as soon as they are uncomfortable, or feel unsafe or aren’t fine with one’s values and choices. Kids tend to follow the parents’ lead also. But you can do it with kindness, you can do it without becoming a bully or trying to isolate someone. You don’t have to love and appreciate everyone, not even those you loved before, but we all have a moral duty of being respectful and kind to one another.

  7. Leonard says:

    I was reading a book to my kid another day and I thought that maybe it could be read at CJ’s school. It’s a presentation of Martin Luther King Jr for kids. Maybe you could offer it to the kids who have been bullying him too. I know it’s about the civil rights fight, but here is the thing: it talks about labeling and being unjust to people because of skin color and white people feeling wrongly superior. It applies to the LGBTQ family too. It starts with Martin Luther King having a nice white friend and when they reach a certain age, the white parents say that the kid can’t hang with Matin anymore….because he is black. It has all the reflection these kids need, but talking about race. A good teacher could talk about it and spin in on to other differences. ; )

  8. Ally says:

    It breaks my heart that CJ is going through this. I got dumped by my best friend around the same age, decades later, it can still make me cry sometimes. One of my best friends in junior high was pretty obviously gay and got picked on relentlessly in school but he went on to be a successful performer in Vegas, met the man of his dreams. They bought a hotel in Galveston after he retired from performing and have the kind of marriage where they still hold hands after decades together. CJ is amazing and has such a wonderful life ahead of him, I’m sure, with all that personality and talent. It might be hard for him to see it when he is going through this heartbreak but there are so many of us that love following your family’s story who can see it. He is something very special. Hugs, CJ. Hang in there!

  9. Matt Harwood says:

    Hey CJ – I’m sorry that your friend left you. It’s been a couple of weeks and I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s back already (or she comes back soon!) If she dumps you permanently, she’s the one that is losing out. My guess is that she knows that already too! For real. I’m sure others have told you that but I’m an old Gay and time has proven that to be true! It doesn’t make it feel any better, I know. My guess is your really cool friends will stick with you because they know you’re good people and we Gays are tons of fun. The most important thing is to remember when you are hurt to let yourself feel sad. We Gays can feel real big. We laugh big, we cry big and most importantly, we LOVE big. The huge amount of sadness you have felt shows that you love in that huge amount too. She was so lucky to have a friend love her that big. I know it may feel like loving someone caused it to to hurt so much but NEVER EVER let that stop you from loving people. For all the love we give out, we get soooo much back It FAR out weighs the hurt! Now get back out there and show em’ what you’ve got! Signed – Old Gay Matt (PS – Tell your amazing Mom what I told you so maybe she won’t worry so much. You got this!)

  10. MM says:

    Hi again Lori, I know you’ll write more about this when it’s the right time. And I know that may take time. And still, I think about CJ often, and check back here often, wondering how things are going, and feeling all over again my helplessness in the face of this hurt.
    For me, and I think for many of us, what happens in your family is news……it affects us, and informs our sense of the world.
    For so very long you and CJ have managed to make the very best of an often-unwelcoming or even hostile environment. You both have so much strength, along with all your other supporters near and far. And yet the barriers and challenges go on. As you said, this situation is so personal, so close to the heart.

    I know you have great strength, and great resources. I know you’ll make the best of this that can be made. And still, it’s all so worrisome.

    • MM says:

      I finally figured out to go look at instagram. So I’ve read lots of updates there, and as I figured it is complicated……with both very painful parts and wonderful inspiring parts.

      Sending along lots of hugs and love.

  11. douglasmom says:

    Wow, thank you for sharing this, for your honesty. CJ has great parents advocating and loving him.

  12. elaine brady says:

    This is heartbreaking. My beautiful nephew passed in January at the age of 46. He was the most loving, kind and awsome man I have ever met, and he went through rough years because of his sexuality. In the end he had hundreds of true friends who loved him and whose lives he changed. Go to the “Loving Pie” Facebook page to read the tributes and know that your son will survive and flourish with your love and support. I pray for your son and family. God bless your wonderful son and may he learn that not all people are mean and narrow-minded. He will be in my thoughts and prayers daily.

  13. Mike says:

    Love to have an Update, I really hope all things are going well. I know it is a hard time, but i think most of us here do care a lot.

    • MM says:

      Mike, you can go to
      Click on individual photo to read comments about it.
      Lots of updates there.

      • Mike says:

        MM, Thanks. Its seams he is experiencing what I had had to go through at that age. It’s a good thing he has lots of love and support at home, which I did not have. Not saying that they did not love me or supported me, but I had to hide who I am with them. It was a different time and those issues was not one was open about.

  14. Kim says:

    Kids can be cruel and I totally get wanting to lash out in full mamma bear mode. My son was accepted into OCSA this year and it has been a game changer for him. Being at a school with other creative kids is great. No one cares if a boy wears a dress or a girl shaves their head. These kids are cut from all types of cloth to form one big creative quilt. I saw that you live in OC as well so if OCSA is at all a possibility for C.J. I say go for it. I don’t think he would regret it. If he has any questions about the school you can contact me and I’ll pass on my son’s info to you.

  15. I’m sorry this happened to C.J. It’s hard how bigotry of all kinds affects people in this world. Brave of you to write about this, so finely as well. I hope things for you and C.J. have been getting better.

  16. Kathleen D Moore says:

    Having read on Instagram about the clique forming around Allie, leaving C.J. in the cold, here are my thoughts:
    1. Request now a six grade class that doesn’t have Allie in it. Seriously. If they make up, they can see each other after school. He needs to be out of her zone of influence.
    2. If at all possible, get him involved in a GLSEN or similar group that meets after school. He needs to know there will be some safe period of time for him with friendly people his age. If there is no GLSEN-like group for kids his age, can you form one? I know, I know, in your copious spare time. When I was a kid there was a gay bar that held a “juice bar” night weekly for gay kids. I am way too old for that scene now, so I don’t know if that still exists, but you might call around. Trust me, if you call a gay bar and say, “My gay son is being treated horribly by kids at school, do you know of a safe place for him to socialize?” they WILL try to help!!!
    3. To us, school is just 6.5 hours and mostly classwork so how bad could it be? But to kids, it is THEIR WHOLE WORLD. I mean it. This is why kids kill themselves. They just can’t bear to go into that environment, day after day. You are your husband are doing an amazing job, but you can’t be there all day. So, there are 3 months left in the school year. Do not hesitate to pull him out for the rest of the year if things don’t get better soon. I know that seems crazy, but it’s not. My freshman year of high school, I came home from school and thought about killing myself every day.

  17. Alex says:

    I am so sorry for what you’ve been going through.
    But I am also sorry for Allie because she is just doing what her parents told her to and that’s what most kids do at this age…they follow blindly the “wisdom” or “moral rules” of their parents. The fact that she said their friends will become only her friends probably means that she must have expressed fear to her parents about loosing her other friends, if she stopped her friendship with CJ. They might have tried to reassure her saying that she wouldn’t loose the other friends too. I know that some mature and critical thinking kids could have maybe said “no” to their parents and disobeyed them. But most kids wouldn’t dare.
    I feel sorry for her family’s ignorance and fear also, but in their twisted and very ignorant way, they were trying to “protect” her and teach their values… mostly before she becomes a teen. I guess that it says much more about their ignorance and fear than bout them being “mean and cruel”.
    I thought that you may try to talk to her parents, not in the fighting mode, but in the compassionate -for their fear and ignorance- mode.
    But I also thought that this could be a nice thing to discuss with the principal and the history or civics (do you have this in the US?) teacher. It’s not about forcing people to embrace values or views they don’t share, but recall the kids that what s acceptable today hasn’t always been: may it be boys playing with girls, white people and black people, being a jew or christian, being a catholic or protestant, etc. And that was seem unacceptable today to some people might change over the years. Tell how historically, we have had prejudice and division and that it wasn’t ok. You don’t have to love someone’s color skin, or religion beliefs, sexual preference or gender to be kind and be friends with them.
    They could also talk about what friendship is about and it’s not about the color of you eyes, how you dress, how you speak, if you fall for boys or girls, if you like blonds or brown haired people. It’s about the experiences you share, the thoughts, feelings, hopes, etc.
    This could be educational to everyone, because even if CJ was abandoned because he might be gay, there are other kids that are being abandoned because of other less than valid things: being fat, being poor, being less than popular, having zits, not having sex, having sex, etc. So a real work on what friendship means could be important too.
    And Allie having not been exposed to the LGBTQ community might have felt awkward and confused by CJ after all these years… and maybe in her confusion and her parent’s lack of understanding, they found it better to terminate the relationship. I am not defending them at all. But if we want this discussion to move forward, we have to start where they are.
    I also thought that CJ could write her parents a letter, and to Allie also, and maybe an open letter to the school…on his take of what is friendship and the respect of differences.
    But here is the thing: it also means respecting their fears, and limits and choices. Even when it doesn’t please us or feel senseless to us.
    It’s a very tough teaching for CJ and he will hurt, but he will keep growing stronger and more compassionate about it.
    Please tell us how it is going, we are all with you and hoping for the best.

  18. C.J. might have lost her as a friend but he has you as a wonderful mother and us as his emotional support. Please tell C.J. we love him and support him. Blessings to you and your family, you’re an inspiration.

  19. Jennifer says:

    My daughter would love C.J. to bits! And frankly would want to swap ideas on Halloween costumes for sure! Let C.J. know she said “C.J. is perfect just the way he is. We can’t stop bad behavior from others but we always can be kind” – that’s my 9 soon to be 10yr old Bella.

    I named her Bella (beautiful in Italian) because I told her that when she was in my belly I wanted her to always remember and carry with her that beauty comes from inside and it’s based on your mind and behaviors.

  20. This blog was the first I followed when I got WordPress, when I was in high school and, while no stranger to queerness, a stranger to true gender nonconformity. I have loved reading about you and C.J. and it hurts my heart to think that something that traumatic and sudden happened to him. I hope that he can feel all of our love, and I hope he knows I will definitely be his friend! One day, he’ll realize it wasn’t his fault.

  21. Carson Hunter says:

    We need an update, Mama Bear. I know I’m not alone in anxiously waiting to hear how school went after that last post.
    For myself, I’ve been thinking of you and CJ constantly (even though we never met, it’s amazing how your writing can connect with so many “strangers” out here who read and are moved by your words.). I’m hoping school wasn’t a nightmare and that CJ did find that his other friends would still sit with him at lunch and play with him. But we are anxious to hear it from you…

    I will continue to watch your site for updates and to hold you and CJ in the light.

    Remember, it really does get better.

  22. My mother Billie used to say that “Normal is just a setting on the dryer”.
    She taught us to decide for ourselves who we felt close enough with to call a friend -based on our OWN interaction with them, not someone else’s . She was the most loving and supportive person I ever knew ( much like YOUR Mom C.J…..) You are a gift to those who love you. Focus on that Honey, & always be true to yourself & all wil turn out fine. LOVE & HUGS precious! YOU are just exactly who you are meant to be!

  23. Cyndi Mendez says:

    I’m so sorry that you’re son and family is going through this. You and your husband are the best parents for him. Unfortunately, we can’t tell others how to feel. As difficult as it is now, hopefully he can move forward and be able to have good memories from his time as her friend. She will be the knee missing out on being his friend. She’s also young and things change. She may miss him and decide that being his friend is more important than worrying about his sexual preferences. I hope, at least!
    How has school been since that day?

  24. Anna alster says:

    Thank you Lori, I’ve read your blog by huffington post (Italy), you made me cry…
    It’s very hard growing up when you are different, every kind of diversity.
    But with parents like you and Matt your son Will ne happy and safe, i am absolutely sure of It.
    A great kiss to your special kid!!!

  25. Kelli Haughawout says:

    If I could squeeze this kid and hug him so tight right now, I would. Believe me if it wasn’t about your gender folks will find something else to try to destroy you with. Your pain is felt by every middle schooler. Everyone trying to be the most popular, or the prettiest, most athletic, the smartest and coming up short. Believe it or not Allie is hurting inside as well.
    Please stay well and strong. By the way mom and dad you ROCK!!!!!💗

  26. Sam says:

    I hurt for your son. This rejection was one of my biggest fears as a child. I wish I could say something to make things better for him, I wish anyone could. Right now though…this feels like his whole world. How can it not? Here’s the deal: you’re doing great. The hardest perspective to gain is how to accept the hurt and not lash out at the one who caused it. This girl is a victim as much as your son, a victim of her family’s bigotry and hatred. As she gets older, hopefully she will remember her good friend and be able to break free from her family prejudice.
    Living a genuine life is hard for any person, it’s especially hard for a queer child. If I can pass on anything, as a queer kid from a small town, it’s this. He is not alone, as much as he may feel it. There are others in his class or his school who look at him and recognize something in themselves. My friend Seth was your son, unapologetically himself as early as 6th grade. Through him, every single LGBTQ friend found their voice. Through him, we found our strength. Let him feel, let him process, and encourage him to be himself. His resilience may surprise you.

  27. West says:

    Wait… so what happen? I’m new and uninformed as this is my first blog read here. Can we get a head count or something in here?!

    TEAM C.J.!!!!!

  28. My heart aches for C.J. and for all your family. The pain of rejection, especially sudden, unwarranted, out-of-the-blue-sky rejection is devastating, and I know it seems like the hurt will never end. But you are strong and the love you have as a family is amazing. But now C.J. will always have that bit of fear that even his closest friend may turn against him, which is sad that he had to learn so young. But there is another sad thing going on. That young woman is being taught to hate, and for no better reason than for who someone loves. What a sad, horrible thing to teach your child. How could you twist her to hate her former best friend? How confusing it must be for her. I hope someday she will find someone who will help her free herself from the teachings of her parents and that she can be free to love someone wonderful like C.J. just for who they are again.

  29. What happened? I came looking for a light. A sparkle an amazing friend who said I don’t care if you’re gay…lets eat ice cream. What happened that day back at school!?

  30. Christie says:

    I cannot wait to find out what happened at school.

  31. mislin says:

    What happened at school? Did CJ find his other friends were more accepting?

  32. Not only are you an amazing writer (I can visualize and feel your pain as you wrote it), but an even better mom. I know CJ feels your love and will continue to become a strong man that is comfortable in his own skin, regardless of who he loves, because if the comfort you and your husband have provided him. Much love from Atlanta, Georgia. I hopeful you’ll share with us how that day was and how his school friends enveloped him in their arms and love to help him through this tough loss of a dear friend.

  33. Rakhi Elahi says:

    My heart hurts for you guys. I hope that he still had friends that remained loyal. Please tell him he has friends in MD. My 9 and 10 year old would love to have him as a friend! I love your compassion and unconditional love. More children need that kind of openness and stability in their lives.

  34. Barry says:

    I hope it all went well. *hugs

  35. Katie says:

    This is heartbreaking. I hope the next day was maybe bearable. I hope the days to come are a little bit better. I echo everyone elses support to C.J. and your family and I also admire to compassion you and your commenters have shown to Allie. I know I always followed the crowd and while I would like to think I would have had more strength i’m not sure that in a similar situation my 11 year old self would have done any better. Love to all the parents and kids going through this.

  36. Karen Freeman says:

    My heart hurts for CJ, tears are rolling down my face. I’m hoping his other friends are sticking by him and he’s doing ok. One thing for sure, you are your husband are awesome parents.

  37. Michelle says:

    Put him in theatre classes PRONTO! Theatre people are some of the warmest, most inclusive people you will ever find. Not only will they not care about his orientation, he will likely find other kids (and even adults who can be role models) like himself. He’ll also meet a lot of people who are different (different religions, different races, different ages) which will help open up his own world view. Perhaps he’ll discover a new talent, and even if he doesn’t want to be on stage or in the orchestra pit, there are all kinds of backstage jobs, like stage crew, set building and painting, costume design (which includes making new costumes or buying or borrowing them from somewhere else or pulling from a theater’s existing stock), wig master, make-up designer, getting or making props, directing, stage managing, light or sound designing, marketing, house managing, box office, theater administration, grant writing, etc. There’s a place for everyone, and in addition to inclusiveness, theater teaches team work and confidence. It also teaches humility, because you won’t always get the lead or sometimes any part at all, or if you get a small part, you learn that that’s important to the overall show as well. It also teaches hard work. There are no end to the benefits. But I’m not kidding. CJ sounds like a wonderful young man who would benefit from drama classes or a drama club. I’ve been working in all aspects of theatre for over 30 years and I can tell you, theatre saves lives. Do it and good luck. Your beautiful son deserves to find people who love him.

  38. Tears in my eyes reading this. No child should go through that kind of pain. I only hope that his other friends stuck by him and made sure he knew that they weren’t going to abandon him. All my love to him

  39. Sara T. says:

    Poor CJ… I’ve been reading your blog for several years, as I discovered my son is also gender curious and I was looking for resources. If you haven’t seen it yet, we’ve been using the ‘This is Me’ song as a mantra at home recently: I suspect CJ might also appreciate it 😉 I mentioned CJ and his friend to my son – he said he wished CJ lived closer to us, because ‘he gets me!’ and he thinks that he and CJ could be awesome friends because they have so much in common. I hope CJ discovered that the rest of his friends didn’t follow Allie’s lead, and that they choose to continue being CJ’s friend because he’s an awesome kid.

  40. Hilde Remmelzwaal says:

    My heart broke while reading this plus tears rolling down my cheek. What a terrible thing to happen for (anybody dor that matter) (but especially for) an elven year old! I cannot understand why people raise their childerenwith hate! Evey person in this world is worth being loved and accepted. Please stay positive and update us all how CJ’s day went after this horrible breakup.


    Children can be so cruel and fickle and the adolescent years are the hardest that a child who is different (like your son and I myself was) will have to face yet as a parent there is so much that you can do to support your son through this trial that he must face.

    Here in the great wide web there are support groups designed to be a safe place for your son to be in contact with other children like himself and see that not everybody is as narrow minded and judgemental as a young girl who he probably won’t remember by the time he hits his thirties.

    Often one true friend is worth a thousand false or toxic friends that only drag us down, you as a parent can help him find that true friendship with the right kind of child with parent that will guide and teach them to accept people for who they are and what they do and not a preconceived stereotype.

    Some of the greatest people throughout history were different from the main populous for one reason or another yet they achieved things that Allie could never even imagine… help your son to be a butterfly and to soar above the perceptions of those too caught up in societies restrictions because it is those people with colourful personalities and flair that make life worth living and a child should be able to grow into their true selves without fear or restrictions.

  42. ​Ayyyy, love for both of you<3. HE'LL BE JUST FINE- he sounds like that one amazing kid who will have seven million eight hundred and sixty-four thousand seven hundred and ninety-one best friends. And to all those slightly off their head people, who think being gay is not 'normal'- Natural Selection is a thing. If gay people are still not extinct- there's a reason. And it's time you all bloody well start accepting that. Two quotes for y'all: 'But we paraphrase a book written thirty-five-hundred years ago. I don't know.'- Same Love by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. And of course, by Troye-'Have you seen their butts?Exactly!'

  43. Lauri Lamge says:

    I am crying reading this
    My granddaughter is transgender and I fear what your beautiful child is experiencing. Please tell CJ that he is loved by so many. I hope is day went well. Please let us know how it is going.

  44. Mother Blogger says:

    I cried reading this piece, & have shed a tear for your boy. I truly hope that he has found a friend that LOVES him for him, and will embrace his individuality. I moved my eldest schools last year due to homophobic bullying, watching his character, and who he was change into someone else was upsetting.
    Stay strong CJ, there is nothing wrong with you. It’s the narrow minded bullies in the world that need to change, its the simple minded ugliness like that that will one day destroy their futures while yours shines bright.

  45. Amleth says:

    That is some heavy spite from a little girl, I really feel bad for her too. What sort of family life must she have behind closed doors?

    CJ’s pain is too real (I was the kid with no friends because I was different, but don’t worry CJ I’m older now and there’s plenty of real friends in my life), but he’s got parents who love him and have his back. That’s better than anything in the world.

  46. winged says:

    Oh, man. I lost a friend abruptly — not for this same reason, in fact not for ANY reason, she just stopped talking to me, I suspect because I wasn’t one of the popular kids — around this same age and it hurt for years. My heart hurts so much for CJ. You’re being a wonderful parent right now. He WILL find other, better friends — including those who don’t care what their parents’ viewpoints are or who the ‘popular’ kids are. Remind him that, also, he is certainly not the only gay kid at his school, even if he’s one of the few to have realized and accepted it, and people who admire him for his creativity, openness and trend setting will flock to him as they get older. It hurts right now, and it will hurt, but people who are willing to drop a friend like that are not true friends.

    But for now, send him some love from this genderfluid adult (??? Sorta) on the internet who has been here before – if I could give him a big hug I would 💜

  47. Tara says:

    Oh my, this made me feel an onslaught of emotions. Kids can be so cruel, and I just can’t wrap my brain around the fact that it happens everywhere, and can happen to any kid regardless of gender, race, culture, sexual identity and orientation, economic status…. and it makes me so angry that we are STILL having these conversations in the 21st century. My heart is breaking for CJ and all of you, and I wish there was something I could do or say to ease the pain. I hope CJ knows that there are so many people out there who will be his friend and love him for who he is.

  48. dmd1014 says:

    How is he today? How are you hanging in there mama bear? Thinking of you and your amazing family and while it’s not the same know that you have people who carry you in their hearts and think of you with love.

  49. Denise says:

    Love to All of you ❤️ C.J. “this to shall pass “ This is the saying my friend(who is now a heavenly angel) would always say to her girls-this saying got us through many difficult years of her battling cancer . I hope you can remember these words and they bring you peace throughout your life- which I believe is going to be EXTRAORDINARY.

  50. Isabelle says:

    Oh, this is just heartbreaking. I am so sorry this happened to CJ (and for the impacts it has on you, and Matt, and his brother). It is terrible that a family would teach child to do something so hurtful to another child. I hope that CJ finds better friends to spend time with and that he heals from this pain. Please tell CJ he is inspiring, helps many kids and families, and that many of us would be thrilled if he was friends with our children. He is smart, kind, brave, and creative.

  51. Mike says:

    This is Heartbreaking to hear this, no matter what type of relationship it is a break up is always hard and can be devastating. CJ is a strong and out going kid, with a very strong supportive family that most of us wish we all had growing up. This is part of life and I do believe CJ well over come this and well be even stronger. As for his friend, it is her big loss and sad. I hope she comes around and treat people well no matter what her family teaches her. I do hope you keep us informed and he has 1000s of people who do care for him and his family.

  52. Teresa says:

    My heart hurts for CJ and you. I send my love and warm thoughts for healing and moving forward.

  53. leavingweakness says:

    I was on WordPress checking my stats for my blog and just happened to click on this article.
    I very rarely read other bloggers articles, and almost never comment.
    I usually just worry about me and mine.

    I haven’t read any of your previous posts but I have to tell you that this article was very tough to read. As a father of two young girls, I dread the day they feel heartbreak like this.

    I grew up in a small rural community and we had a guy in high school named Eric that was obviously gay, primary hung out with just girls, and occasionally wore a few articles of women’s clothing or makeup.
    I had absolutely no problem talking to Eric and was around him frequently because I dated a couple of the girls he was close with. He was given such a hard time in high school for not being “normal”.
    And ya know this same folks gave me a hell of a time too because I had long hair, played in metal bands, and wanted to be a bodybuilder. Because I wasn’t a redneck or a jock they made fun of me. And me and Eric deeply respected each other because we knew that we weren’t clones of everyone else. He was one of the nicest people I have ever known.

    Years later, I married my wife (married since 2012). And I now have a gay brother in law.

    From what my wife has told me, my brother in law went through some extremely harsh emotional battles in during high school, because coming out of the closet 15 years ago was considered weird and messed up to most folks.
    His parents even tried to change him and…

    Humans are prejudice against things that they are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with. It is a sad flaw within our genetic makeup.

    Honestly, I could care less what gender a person is attracted to or what kind of clothing they want to wear. As long as they are a good person it shouldn’t matter. Seriously! As much horrible shit that goes on in the world and people are still hung up over petty crap like sexual orientation?????

    Tell your son that a complete stranger admires him for being a genuine person and not a fake clone who just want to impress everyone so he can be more popular. That crap doesn’t matter in the real world and your son has already figured out something most adults haven’t.

    And even though it doesn’t help the hurt, a genuine friend won’t ditch another over something like this and hopefully he will eventually come to see some sort of positive in this disgusting situation.

    You are a hell of a person to support your son instead of trying to suppress who he really is.

  54. Lisa Richardson says:

    My heart has been breaking for CJ and your family. I have no words that can really console you or CJ, but you are in my heart and I am sending healing energy and prayers for peace and joy to return to you. All I can do is to keep working to educate people. All of this pain is caused by ignorance and needless fear. Blessings to your family and especially CJ!

  55. Lance says:

    Sending hugs and good vibes. You’re awesome, CJ, and other awesome people will know that and not care what anyone says.

  56. Victoria Leavitt says:

    So cruel and though I am in my 60’s now I can still remember the intense pain that CJ must be feeling now – hearts and souls are so tender when young. Dan Savage and others know that it does get better. But that is little consolation for CJ now. Like you, I wish i could take his pain away. He is amazing and he will live through this – though I so wish that it were not so for him. Extra bit of cruelty bu Allie pertaining to the comment about friends abandoning him for her. Makes me want to shake her.

  57. My heart absolutely breaks for CJ and for you as a fellow mother. I hope CJ is able to find his balance again, and that the rest of his friends stick with him. Just keep telling him that if someone has a problem with him, they close their heart not only to him but to themselves. Having a closed heart is a painful and scary place to be. I know you’ll handle this situation with as much strength and grace as you’ve handled others.

  58. obviouslymom says:

    That is so hard. Being a parent and having to watch your child be in pain because of other children is such a hard thing. I feel for you and your son. I pray that he has some great friends who will stand by him no matter his sexuality. Thankfully he has strong, supportive parents who love him unconditionally.

  59. Kristen says:

    CJ, this is such a hard time, buddy! I’m so sorry that not everyone “gets” it! Love yourself enough to know that they really are uncomfortable with who they are…it’s really NOT YOU AT ALL! Keep that big heart, we need more great kids like you, who will grow up to be big-hearted, loving humans! Things will get better. They did for me. Hang tight to mom and dad. 💕✌️

  60. AlphaMom says:

    My little boy was ghosted by his best friend as he became more self expressive over the past year. I am certain it was the parents creating the distance. Thankfully new friends have come along to fill the hole in his heart. New friends who like him the way he is, ribbons and all.

    • AlphaMom says:

      I decided to share this story with my GNC today. I had finished helping him with his makeup and we were walking to the car to drive to school. He was feeling good and tells me that he knows he is an unusual boy and he likes different things than other boys, like dancing and makeup, but it’s okay because he has lots of friends.

      I had a swift internal debate and decided to share CJ’s story with him. He has seen a few posts from this blog, like the Halloween costume evolution, so he knows about CJ. I’m not sure it was the right decision because he was genuinely crushed for CJ. He said when he heard the story it felt like it had happened to him. But I can’t fault his understanding. He said “I don’t understand her. What’s so dangerous about gay people?” and “It’s no different than saying you won’t be friends with somebody because they are black.” I reassured him of how much he is loved and how he will always find friends who appreciate him. We talked about Adam Rippon which cheered him up some, but he was subdued.

      I dropped him off at his very small charter school where he has lots of friends. Today, for better or worse, he may be a little more guarded with them.

  61. lsawyer713 says:

    I hope the day didn’t go as he thought with no one now liking him. I hope everyone sees how mean Allie is for turning her back on CJ.

  62. Debbie Thomas-Munn says:

    Note to C.J. and your family;
    I am sorry that you have experienced the rejection of a friend and being made to feel like you did something wrong.
    Please know that you will find new friends who will love and openly accept you for the beautiful person that you are. I have lost people in my life that I thought were forever friends because of my advocacy of my son and the LGTBTQ community. My son is Charlie Craig, he was rejected in a bakery and now the case is in the Supreme Court. I love my son, just like your parents love you. And I want you to know that things will get better and you will make New forever friends 💕

  63. kencuth says:

    I tried posting yesterday, but somehow it apparently never went through…. Anyway, like so many my heart broke for CJ and all of you as I read this. There’s not much to say to CJ besides “You are a wonderful person!” and “You are loved!” Please keep us posted on how things went at school, etc.

  64. Caroline says:

    How utterly horrible, for you all but especially for CJ. Allie and her parents just need to read this and they will see and understand the impact of Allies words. I’m so saddened that our children have to contend with so many hurdles at such a tender age, especially our kids who stand out from the non conventional – they have had to find so much strength already just to be who they are, I wonder how more they will have to find. C.J. seems to be finding out. Xxx

  65. Ryan Hayden says:

    Wow. Does CJ have a favorite TV show (well a couple favorite shows?) Or movie? I want to see if maybe some of my friends and colleagues might do a favor that would brighten his day. No promises, but I am pretty sure colleagues will be touched by this story like I was.

  66. Carson Hunter says:

    My heart breaks for you and CJ as you ride the storm of this powerful hurt. I’m so sorry this happened to you and to CJ.

    One thing that struck me though, as someone who has worked with middle school kids for years and as a former “freak” myself…is that this is more about being “different” than it is about being gay/homophobic. Kids at this age are uncomfortable with anyone or anything that is different. Not all kids, sure. But for many, who are learning for themselves how to get along in the world, being different is just too scary. Think of all the cliches about, “I just HAVE to have a red backpack! NO ONE has a yellow one.” Or some such nonsense. Kids get ostracised for a lot less than being gay or gender non-conforming; that’s just the sad fact of the matter. And kids are cruel. They can be very very cruel. This is more about CJ’s friend than it is about CJ. She obviously isn’t strong enough to love a friend who is as different as CJ is. There will be more like her in the years to come because kids who aren’t very sure of themselves are usually the first to cast off anyone who threatens their little status quo. That’s a sad fact in the life of most kids and CJ is right in that age range when kids are so busy struggling with their own insecurities, “I don’t have boobs yet/my boobs are getting so big…I’m so short and everyone is taller/I’m so tall I look like a freak!…Mom everyone is shaving their legs you HAVE to let me do it, too!” that it can be hard for them to empathise with anyone else’s struggles.

    CJ is lucky to have such supportive parents in his life. I can tell by reading your entry that you’re probably hurting more than CJ right. I’m so sorry. You are right however, in reminding him that this will pass. When I think of the kids who tortured me in 5th and 6th grade, I am reminded that I am an entirely different person now than I was way back then. And those kids who didn’t want to be my friends? I made new ones. Each school year is a chance to make new friends. Each time CJ graduates to a new school, middle school, high school, college, he will pick up and lose more friends along the way. That’s how it happens; you grow, you learn, you move on. And know that this will probably happen again, not because of anything CJ has done wrong and not because of anything the other kids have done wrong either, but because kids grow and change constantly. They shed friendships much as they do their baby teeth. You wouldn’t want baby teeth in a grown up mouth and you wouldn’t necessarily need the kid you met in third grade to become your adult business partner.

    What I’m trying to say is that as much as it hurts, and I KNOW it hurts, it isn’t forever. And it isn’t personal, though it feels VERY personal.

    I wish you strength, courage, and many many blessings.

  67. I want to pick up on what scopeypdx said, What if indeed. I’m disabled and bisexual adult I’m dealing with exactly that situation. The “what if she does it again?” has happened to me in the last few months and a woman who bullied me 20 years ago when I was just out of college, who told me that since I was disabled I wasn’t good enough for him, sidled back years later with no apology and like a fool I accepted temporary good behaviour as a guarantee of good faith. Then she got divorced and the destructive rumours about me started up again with the added complications of online harrassment through third parties. Sadly I have now lost many of the friends she hadn’t driven away when she first tried to ostracise me. Less sadly, I have a stunningly supportive LGBT ally husband and a few wonderful IRL friends who have rallied round and shown their great qualities. I also have some completely incredible, once in a lifetime freinds from the LGBT community online and allies I have met along the road of coming out who have taught me so much to get me through this.

    But….I want to look at the most troubling question and the bit I wish people had discussed with me and what I wish they were discussing with me now from an LGBT perspective and the perpective of social justice and the rights and ‘isms’ we all work so hard on. Someone who betrays you comes back and you trust them unquestioningly, you make a decision in their favour without considering the possible consequences for yourself. Well? How did I learn that was OK? Why does society sometimes teach us that these situations ‘happen to everyone’ and we just have to roll with the punches and get on with it, ‘just ignore it’ ‘don’t react’, ‘don’t engage’. Some of this may be very good advice but we don’t say “do nothing” about social injustice, about facing homophobia about gender violence, or not in the same ways. So why did I learn to lie down under social betrayals based on who I was? When did I learn I could be betrayed and be treated as less than by friends? When do any of us and why do we allow these patterns to continue in our communities as fallings out and backstabbings or unaccountability? And what do we do about what we learn in these situations, how can we get better at supporting LGBT people who are betrayed by friends or family?

    When I came back from having a tendon-lengthening operation when I was 14 the first thing my “best friend” said was, “My mum says I’m not allowed to be your friend any more. She thinks you’re holding me back.” It turned out that this child, who was not doing well academically was being told to ditch me because her mother believed I must be the reason she was struggling. I went on to get a degree and a Masters but I remember that day still and I didn’t have another friend at school for the next year or so. Isolation is horrible. I think probably amongst the many betrayals (I was badly bullied all through school, even being bullied for being a lesbian though I identified as gay and had no idea what one was) I wished with that one above all the others that my mother would ring her mother to tell her off for being ignorant and wrong because here was blatant discriminatyiuion and disablism. Of course she didn’t, and maybe even the best parent knows it is impossible to resolve things that way where prejudice is a factor. The only time she stepped in was because i was being called a lesbian and that it was my sister who started that rumour because sghe was ashamed to have a disabled sister, I never ever disclosed to her even though I have come out.

    At 40, in many ways I haven’t lost the urge for the restitution that never comes and maybe that is why I took that woman back as a close friend with no real guarantees of future good behaviour. Not because that friend in my teens had ever come back or asked for my forgiveness, but because on some level if someone wounds you in the same way, a chance to repair that old wound seems hopeful and adult. Sometimes it may be. Sometimes it won’t. What do we do? How do we choose? Unawareness, unpreparedness for being betrayed twice is only accidentally redemptive. It’s not the same quality as facing your demons, interrogating the situation, finding a solution, making your choices and deciding what to do with your feelings. I made a mistake rather than making an informed decision to forgive that person generously while making sure I also asked for restitution and some sort of recognition of what the past had cost me. I think this is partly because I did not have particularly understanding parents and I was not taught to have self-esteem or self-value in the face of injustice. I have always sought validation outside myself. The next few weeks and the next few years for you guys can be a building block for deciding as the immediate shock and pain ebbs how do aware, open and questioning people best handle this one? The answer has to be with what you are giving your son. Validation. Support. Unconditional love. Things i had to build up in my 30s from nothing much.

    Unconditional love cannot take the pain away but what it can do as you already know and as you are demonstrating here is give a person a baseline and a core belief that they are worthy of love no matter what. Your son is worthy of love and thank God, he also knows this to be true. He is also surrounded by the love of a whole community far, far greater than the passing friendship of a few teenagers. Pride is coming up and he already has a pride IN Pride that led him to be brave enough to recommend it to friends who may remember that one day or even need it themselves one day. I’m not saying it doesn’t hurt and the possibility of a parental whispering campaign is real and like my own folk who supported me through this, if that became reality I’d say you have to cut ties, change schools, Facebook accounts, whatever it takes while _still_ striving to figure out a way your truth can come through and come up fighting. Use Pride, use Facebook, use Instagram to show who you are and what your reality is. Not to lash out or blame – though that’s hard not to do but to build community, ask questions, ask and ask again for more and a better faier society and good conduct and kindness. We have to fight and be accountable but we have to help build a word where we are not just held to account but hold the world accountable. We can do this through Pride and campaigning and self growth. And questioning the staus quo wherever we meet it.

    An old lie my generation were taught is that ‘bullying goes away when people grow up.” CJ is already learning that this is not always true, that that easy answer isn’t always there. Adults are infinitely harder to please and harder than kids in the present world so the odds are it was the adults being narrow minded and homophobic. That’s a hard lesson aytime and a horrible lessonm to learn age 11. But CJ is demonstrating a maturity and bravery many non-minority adults will never have to show. At 11 he knows his truth even when it hurts. And he is going that way with parents who love and support and respect his choices. He knows you love him, a far, far greater anchor to hope than friends alone could be. I know that doesn’t entirely obviate the risks of hurt and harm but these words are from one of BiNet USA’s founders: “We need you today. We need you tomorrow. We need you ten years from now”. Gay or bi, half gay and half bi 😉 we will _always_ need you, CJ always, always be here for you. It’s reciprocal and its unconditional. We’ve got your back! And you are our future, so don’t lose hope. You’re going to make friends and be loved by people you’ll never see IRL. You’re going to reach out across the miles one day to someone just as hurt and upset as you are now and tell them it’s going to be tough but OK. It is so tough, it hurts, sometimes over and over but in lots of ways it also gets better and easier. You’ve got a head start on so many of us at 11 that you know who you are even a bit. This is who you are _already_ becoming: CJ, this brave strong activist for truth and love and humanity and gender identity! Just by being honest with a friend. Imagine that. That’s a superpower if you like! You did your very very best and WE are so very proud of you! ❤ We’re one big rainbow family and there’s always someone to reach out. We reach around the world (this is coming from the North of England).

    It might be cheesy but: we in the LGBT love a cheesy song! Here's one for the MP3!

    No matter what they tell us
    No matter what they do
    No matter what they teach us
    What we believe is true
    No matter what they call us
    However they attack
    No matter where they take us
    We'll find our own way back
    I can't deny what I believe
    I can't be what I'm not
    I know I'll love forever
    I know no matter what
    If only tears were laughter
    If only night was day
    If only prayers were answered
    Then we would hear God say
    No matter what they tell us
    No matter what they do
    No matter what they teach us
    What we believe is true
    And I will keep you safe and strong
    And shelter from the storm
    No matter where it's barren
    A dream is being born
    No matter who they follow
    No matter where they lead
    No matter what they tell us
    No matter what they do
    No matter what they teach us
    What we believe is true
    No matter what they call us
    However they attack
    No matter where they take us
    We'll find our own way back
    I can't deny what I believe
    I can't be what I'm not
    I know I'll love forever
    I know no matter what.

    Too long, and if it helps, I don't care!

  68. MM says:

    Oh Lori, this is so heartbreaking to read. I feel devastated. I think you are very wise about social things, and at the same time I wonder if it could be helpful to talk to Allie’s parents.
    Also at some points the school could be having some training for the kids about sexual orientation and how to be nice about it. All these kids will grow up and need to live in a world with GLBTQ people.
    Whether or not Allies parents put her up to this spcificly, I think they are the source of the issue. What she said about that her FAMILY doesn’t hang out with gay people speaks volumes.

    I am so so sorry this has happened, and that this hurt will be part of CJs developing understandings.

    • MM says:

      p.s. Please let us know if there is support we can offer to CJ. If I could send a card to CJ I think I’d send something that says how much love and joy gay men have brought into my life, and that my associations with gay men are nice ones.
      I don’t think I can do anything to lessen the pain of losing Allie.
      But maybe we can reinforce that gay is wonderful to many people.

  69. Maria says:

    Sending ((((BIG HUGS)))) for CJ and your whole family!!! I’m so sorry he’s hurting. We would love to be CJ’s friends!

  70. bestpi says:

    This is heart wrenching. I am curious to find out how it goes at school. Will the others go with Allie or will they tell her where the bear . . .
    CJ, you are becoming too amazing for Allie. She’s afraid you will upstage her at school. Just try and be your smiling self. Those worth keeping as friends will see you for who you are. Hugs.
    Please tell us what happened next Lori.

  71. Hannah says:

    He said “But you can’t take away the gay”. I would tell him “why would I want to? It’s just as much a beautiful part of you as your _____ eyes, your talent for ____, your kindness, your ability to ——, etc. Just because some people can’t see that doesn’t make you any less beautiful. It says more about THEIR shortcomings.” In the meantime, I hope you can find a local pride center with youth activities, and a PFLAG chapter in your area. Sending much love and support, a “mama bear” PFLAG mom.

  72. missrosie77 says:

    I was up until 4AM last night because of a similar situation with my own child. He’s 8 and identical to CJ in many, many ways. As I put him to bed last night I asked him who he played with at recess. He started crying and told me that no one plays with him. He said that he always tries to be happy, but that he’s lonely and it hurts. He is “a boy who likes girl stuff” so the boys will not play with him because he likes girl stuff, but the girls won’t play with him because he’s a boy. He’s at a huge school, which I thought would be better because it would allow him to find a group of friends, but in reality, I think it’s making friendships harder because all of the other kids can find other kids to play with too. My son is in 2nd grade, so his 3rd year at this school, and he has never been invited to a friendship house to play or to a birthday party. We have had classmates over, and invite lots of kids to his birthdays. Everyone is friendly with him, so kids do show up, but when it’s time to pick people to play with, no one will play with him. I have the same worries about that level of loniliess can lead to depression and suicide. I tell him everyday how proud I am of him, how amazing he is, and how much I love him, but I worry that one day a mother’s love might not be enough. I wish we lived closer so my son could meet CJ and would know that he’s not so alone. Sending lots of love and support from one mom to another. – Melissa

  73. CJ, there are more people who will love you than the ones out there who don’t understand. More good than bad. You will always be loved by those who know you and by so many of us who are in this together. When you feel lonely, know that you aren’t alone. Sending you love and hoping you find tremendous joy in knowing you are brave and strong. It’s amazing to be yourself in life. So many adults don’t know how to do that. You make us proud.

  74. dawnautom says:

    Im so sorry CJ, Lori, Mate, I know this story all to well i’v spent many hrs on-line consoling other LGBT+ teens over things like this. It’s sad that this still is happening in this day and age that parents are putting their ignorance on to the kids of today.

    My heart go’s out to you all !!!


  75. Alicia says:

    I simply cannot find the words to express my heartfelt sadness for CJ’s pain. Please let him know that his love and kindness will be a blessing in his life and an example to others. But I am so sorry his tender young heart has been so hurt because of ignorance. Sending love and hugs to your wonderful family.

  76. Colleen says:

    It breaks my heart on your behalf to read this. I just want to send your family love and hugs from my family.

  77. lilsass says:

    Lori, I have been reading along for years and this post has completely ripped at my heart. I am just weeping for CJs pain. I am so sorry he’s going through this. I cannot imagine how hard this is for you and Matt. Thank you for rising above this and going high when others go low. CJ, it does get better, I promise. You have lots of virtual friends here and I know that love will conquer hate. Please stay strong little buddy and find your joy again. Hugs from DC ♥️

  78. Anne says:

    I wish I could reach out through the computer and give you super big hugs C.J. and Mom. C.J., I hope you know that you have a bunch of people out there who are rooting for you wishing the best for you. And because of all the great things your mama does to educate us about gender non-conforming children, I’m making sure my son knows to love and accept everyone. The saying in our house is that the only thing that matters is your heart. And you’ve got a great one C.J. you truly do.

  79. HeatherTill says:

    Oh, CJ, I am so sorry. I wish we could get all
    of the Allies of the world to see the error of their ways, and I hope you understand someday very soon that the loss is all hers. My 11 year old daughter would be glad to replace Allie in a heartbeat. Stay strong. ❤️


    CJ, you are AWESOME!

  81. Blanchita says:

    Awwww this is so sad. Sending virtual hugs to you, CJ.

  82. SWS says:

    Ignorance drives fear. Fear drives hate. He’s better off without deliberately ignorant, and mean people. My heart breaks for CJ. Please tell him that life won’t always be so hard and awful. People will see what a terrific person and sensitive person he is. Please tell him to be strong and be brave, There are lots of people out here who don’t care what he is, as long as he is kind. Hugs to you all.


  83. drronardo says:

    Please let CJ know that it is true, that “It gets better.” I’m sure you will get plenty of notes like this, but still, I’m writing this to CJ…

    When I was 11, I told my mother I thought I was gay, actually, “a homosexual.” She freaked. She shouted at me, “Who told you that? That’s not true! Don’t ever say that again! That’s impossible!” She said many more hurtful things, really telling me that what I had said was unacceptable to her—that I was unacceptable to her—until I ran out of the room crying.

    I can forgive her now. As a grown up, I understand how afraid for me she was. But I didn’t try to tell anyone else for a long time. I cried a lot back then.

    For all those years, I was so scared someone would find out my secret, until at 25, I finally was brave enough to do what you have done at 11, tell someone else that I was different from a lot of other boys. And I’m so glad I did. Because some people live their entire lives afraid to be who they are.

    It was a gift to your friend that you shared your thoughts with her. I’m sorry that she wasn’t able to see that. Maybe someday she will. Until then, she is the one who lost out on being friends with you, someone who takes the word ‘friend’ seriously.

    Today I am married to a wonderful man. We love each other very much, and we’ve been together 30 years this year. I cried so much before deciding to be who I was meant to be. I would never have believed back then that I could be so happy.

    CJ, you are deciding/discovering who you are, whoever that is, and to love who you love. You are being honest with yourself, your friend, and the world. No matter who you figure out you are, you will always be my hero. Thank you for showing us all what it means to be honest and to be a friend.

    From up the coast and with admiration and great respect,

  84. Cody says:

    Firstly, i want to say hello to you and CJ. You sound like the kind of mum i wish i had. Im a 14 year old boy from Australia who is gay, and i read about what happen to CJ. on Tumblr. Im only out to a few close friends, two teachers at my school and three of my cousins. I had no idea i was gay until i turned 12 and started grade 7 and got a crush on a boy who was in grade 8. I dont have the kind of support that you give CJ. My step dad calls me faggot or fag all the time but dosent know im gay. My mum has threatened to kick me out of my home if she ever found out that i am gay. Ive been bullied and picked on at school for two years, since i started grade 7. And i have a little brother who is 10 that i love and protect. Sometimes i think that i dont wanna live any more and get tired of life. But for all the nasty people i know i also have met some very nice and loving people and it makes life worth living. I dont have many friends at school but i have two friends that i love a lot. So i understand in a way, because were all different, what CJ is going through. Thankfully he has you and his dad to support him. Please say hello to him for me. Thankyou.

    • Jason says:

      Cody, be safe out there. *hugs*

    • bestpi says:

      Hugs Cody. I’m so sorry you don’t have an understanding and supportive family. BUT! You are not alone. Check the big cities near you for LGBTQ centers. If it gets too bad, they can help you to find a better situation. The world needs more special people like you. Just know that it gets better. It really does. Hugs

      • Just dropping by to say hang on in there, Cody! You’re being so brave. Don’t let it pull you down. It’s tough we have to be so brave and sometimes so alone but we’re a big community even if sometimes we only meet over the internet. We have very very wide arms. We’re all holding on. We need you today. We need you tomorrow. we need you ten years for now. Don’t forget; family are the people you are born with , we’re the LGBTQIA+ and WE are your #rainbowfamily

    • Clare Herbert says:

      Cody, these are beautiful, thoughtful words you have written to someone in need. They show just how strong, beautiful and caring you are! I am sorry that your family are being so negative and hurtful, with time and your gentle words I hope they will come to accept who you are. When things are bad you should read back through what you have written to CJ to remind yourself of those good friends you have. There will be many more true friends in your life who will lessen the pain caused by those who are thoughtless and fearful. There are also a lot of people in the virtual world who you can reach out to in times of need and who will respond with support and love – just as you have done for CJ. Check out the different facebook pages for LGBTQ+ and choose the ones that fit your values, on them you will find support 24 hours a day. Being 14 is a crap age, neither a child nor an adult, but in the next few years you will gain control over what you want to do and how you want to live. Keep the compassion that you have shown to CJ and allow yourself some of that love as well. Stay safe Cody, you are just what the World needs in order to be more compassionate and accepting!!

    • smuslimah says:

      Hello Cody. Its indeed sad to know that your family is not really supportive however God has given you two special friends who love you enjoy being with you and whom you love too and believe me its best to have one true friend than fake friends right!! Just cherish your moments with those few people that you have and they would become the most loveable and memorable moments of your life.. Big hug n kisses Muslimah ^^

  85. David A Morse says:

    Wow, I’m so upset for CJ and your family. So either Allie’s parents didn’t understand CJ as he is or they were fine with him as long as it went only to choice of toys & clothes.

    But seriously what’s the big difference between gay and gender creative at 11 years old? Its not like kids at CJ’s age are interested in having sex. I remember being 11 and I was too shy to even think about it. Beyond what every boy or girl does at that age. Enough said.

    What’s worse is CJ is being punished for his attempt to be honest with a best friend. He’s figuring himself out and trying different labels to find his truth. He has time to decide what he wants and where he fits in the world.

    I send you all my love. CJ is a great kid.

  86. Miriam Joy says:

    This nearly made me cry. I’m so glad C.J. has you guys to support him like this — but it sucks that he still has to face up to this.

    (Unrelated, but I’ve meaning to ask this for a while: does he know the song “Expressing Yourself” from Billy Elliot the musical? It makes me think of him every time I hear it.)

  87. Pingback: Representation Matters | Life On The B Side

  88. Hufflestitch says:

    I just want to reach through the screen and give you a giant hug CJ. You will have friends. There will be people who love you for you, for your empathetic and loving nature.

    I would love to have you as my son’s friend. You are a amazing CJ.

    Also, maybe Allie is hurting too, her parents may have made her cut off friendship with CJ. Hate is horrible. We respond with love and compassion. People who hate, miss out on so many experiences and friendships, it makes me sad.

  89. Kathleen D Moore says:

    Dear C.J.,
    When I was 14, my bestest girl friend – my very first real friend ever, who had been my friend for FOREVER, told me I was probably a lesbian. She was right. I thought about it for months and finally one day told her I thought she was right. Her immediate answer: “I can’t be friends with you anymore. But I won’t tell anyone, because then they won’t be friends with you either. Stay away from me and I won’t tell them.”
    I still remember every word.
    Back then, I didn’t tell my parents and I had no one to talk to about it. I stayed in my bedroom as much as I could and cried and cried and thought about killing myself.
    But eventually I did tell my other friends and NONE OF THEM LEFT. And, months later, my bestest ever friend apologized.
    We have never been quite as good of friends as we were before.
    But it was a few months of hell – it was not forever.
    I am writing this to you because I wish someone had told me it wouldn’t be forever.
    The next year at school, I dated my first girlfriend, and it was AMAZING. There were hard parts too. But we persevered (well, also we eventually broke up, which happens with first relationships, but even that was not as bad as when my friend stopped being my friend).
    Now I am married to a wonderful woman and we have a lovely 3-year-old and life is immeasurably better than I could ever have imagined during those long, lonely days.
    It gets better. I promise.

  90. Dawn says:

    My heart breaks for CJ, but even more so for you. We try to do everything as a parent to shield our kids from anything that will hurt them. For the most part, we are able to do this until they hit that age and then we realize how powerless we are over so much of it. He’s lucky to have such a wonderful family and you will be in my thoughts.

  91. scopeypdx says:

    What if she comes back?
    What if she apologizes?
    What if she just sidles up and acts like, Sometimes you just have a mean girl day, bygones?
    The what if she does it again?
    Childhood is so awful.

  92. Ellen Bekier says:

    I am sitting here with tears streaking down my face. I am so sorry that C.J. has to endure this pain. Thankful that he has you and Matt there for him. I know this is a setback and I am hoping that he had a much better day and will be waiting for your next blog. I also hope that Allie sees how wrong she is and comes to understand that she can have her own feelings and not just mirror those of her parents. I hope that this painful day and night are in the past….

  93. mdaniels4 says:

    I am so sorry he had to experience this. And of course that you had to bear witness to it. This culture, today, is an ugly one. I want to specifically keep politics out of this, because both sides are just as bad. Please let CJ know that there are tons of good people out there that would NEVER dream of treating another person, for any reason like what Allie did. It’s clear she was under family pressure and for God’s sake she’s 11 as well. You cannot really expect her to sort through her family’s mess of themselves at her age. I wish I could tell you how many hours I’ve spent on FB, and yahoo postings arguing with people just like Allie’s family, hoping to get through to at least one person. It’s daunting, but can be done. And I’m a now almost senior citizen, conservative, straight white guy. So I can handle myself, and my arguments quite well. That CJ has been able to hold up being himself at that young of an age is quite extraordinary. But keep on please reminding him that he will also experience people just like me, who will never reject him or anybody else just because of some idea that is based on ignorance.

  94. The B Side says:

    This was heart breaking. I know there’s nothing anyone can say that will make it better but I do hope you all feel the love and good energy that is being sent your way from those of us who understand what’s really important when choosing friends. I hope his day went better than he was expecting and that his other friends rallied around him.

  95. Stephanie Longden says:

    I too cried at the devastation CJ is suffering. Thank God he has you both to love and support him in the best way possible.
    My gut feeling is that Allie’s parents have forced her to break CJ’s heart. You mention she was in trouble when her parents caught her reading your blog. There is a good chance that she too is upset by what she has been made to do but is not able to show how she feels in front of her parents. I feel for her too, especially as she has shitty parents. Sadly, I’m also quite sure her parents couldn’t care less about CJ or anyone else who is LGBTQI. They and others like them have hardened their hearts to the extent they are unaffected by our tears, self harm, suicide or murder. Last year I read that a grown man threatened to rape a 4 year old trans girl so that she would want to be a boy. Many young transgender activists receive daily death threats. The depravity of these people’s hate is difficult to fathom and impossible to stomach.
    I’ve started to look into ancient healing practices as they may be the best therapies to heal such terrible harms. Left untreated they often have a negative effect for the rest of our lives.

  96. Jolene says:

    This is terrifying and devastating for him and I hope and pray he had friends to play with that day. I also hope his ‘friend’ misses him and apologizes. I’m so sorry. Please tell him he had a friend in Hawaii…

  97. Michael Byrne says:

    Thank u for being a great mom & thank your husband too – I wish I had the unconditional love your giving your child.
    I am longing to know what happened – please share – Michael

  98. homogenius says:

    Thank you for sharing this and love to CJ and your family. You were wise not to lash out at Allie’s parents. But you need to monitor whether she, in any way, tries to get CJ ostracized at school. That would constitute bullying and should be dealt with. Also, I think her parents should know about her threat to “take all their friends”. Have you ever had conversations with the parents of any of CJ’s other friends who you think are supportive? While you can’t manage this situation behind the scenes, you might at least be able to help establish a bit of a buffer and ensure that CJ still has play dates and social opportunities. Best of luck on the journey.

  99. bluerosegirl08 says:

    Wow. Poor guy. That is awful, big hugs to all of you.11 can be tough but hang in there and know that for every person who tries to dim your shine there are ten who will magnify it, it just takes time to find them.

  100. Laura McCarthy says:

    Fear drives hate. How very sad that this young girl’s family has let fear destroy this friendship. I hope the families of CJ’s other friends stand up to fear and take the time to listen, learn, understand and love.
    My heart breaks for CJ. Allie is a pawn in the adult world of fear, and she is a victim as much as CJ. I hope CJ can find strength in the multitude of friends of all ages he has acquired as we follow these blogs. We’ve got your back, CJ.

  101. Anne says:

    I am so so sorry, and I hope other friends will help fill in the void. My own teen has gone from gender-non-conforming to gay to trans, and has lost friends at every step. It’s heart wrenching.

  102. Dedra Scherer says:

    Your pain is my pain mama. My baby that happens to be transgender is CJ’s age almost exactly. I want to tear down houses and blow up texts when my kid is rejected for being themselves. It never ever ever gets easier for either of us when it happens. I’d like to say that it doesn’t surprise me anymore but that would be a lie.
    I don’t understand how you can instruct a child to hate another child. It has to be explicitly done because it is not in their nature to do so… The whimpering and tears…I know them well. That helpless feeling that turns to rage…I know it too. My heart is with you….and CJ and your husband…and your eldest son too. The whole family gets hit when someone throws that depth of hateful at you.
    My hope is that the pain turns into action…work…and real resilience from our kids and communities. My hope is that we (as a people) never have to walk this path again …

  103. Stephanie says:

    Yep, been there. Our “friends” of 15 years became way more involved in religion right around the time my daughter came out to me at 17. This family included three girls whom my daughters had known almost their whole lives. It was very difficult for my daughter who was struggling so much with herself at the time.

    My love to CJ, and to you because I know how hard it is to see your child hurting. He will find friends. Better friends. And I’m glad that CJ has such a wonderful, loving family to help him through.

  104. samatwitch says:

    This hurts my heart. How could anyone who knows CJ and been close to him do that to him?

    I’m sure CJ has friends who will stand by him and he’s lucky he has a family who not only stands with him but helps him through him deciding who he is.

  105. JK says:

    Please tell CJ I wish we lived close so he could be friends with my daughter.
    Someday when she is older, Allie will realize what’s she’s done. It sounds like for now, she’s doing what she’s been told directly or indirectly, which is to be mean to a loyal friend. She deserves better parenting. Has the school addressed the bullying? Hugs to you and his dad too.

  106. Sally Williams says:

    Breaks my heart. My son is trans. He’s 22 now and still struggles with friendships. Meaning he has few. We need to teach our children to live the golden rule

  107. mactavish14 says:

    UGHHHHH I get this. I was 8 when my guy best friend broke up with me because I was a girl. (Newsflash: vagina does not equal female.) I cried ugly tears for a while. I’m not going to say I got better immediately, especially since I only realized I am trans male at about age 34, but it will eventually. As difficult as it is, ignoring the haters is where to start.

  108. Lori Globerman says:

    Please please please post an update so we can hear how his day went???

  109. Ash says:

    I don’t know what to say and if I did, I don’t know if the words I would use could accurately depict how my heart has been torn open by this experience your family is having to endure. How unfair it is that any child (or adult) has to live in a world that rips them to pieces because of it’s own fear and hate. I wish I could hug your family and relay how much love and appreciation and support there is for you. You and your husband are raising CJ in the most beautiful ways.

  110. Ed says:

    This is so sad and my heart weeps for CJ. I just want CJ to know, he is a better person than others feel he is and he has to remain strong and remain himself, as he has all these years. I’m in your corner CJ and I am sure there are many people with me. You have a huge support system, you are loved and cared about.

  111. curioussteph says:

    So sorry that CJ is experiencing this, and so glad that he has you and Matt for his parents. I live my life believing that love is the only way through, and as difficult as it is, I am bolstered that you are challenging your family to live this way as well. Love to you all!

  112. gtrac says:

    Maybe we are here to absorb hate and show people how to love. . .

  113. Rikke-Mari says:

    Oh my god! Poor kid… please tell him, that this Norwegian has his back, I’ll be his friend.. also we have a king who talks about that we have to end bulling and he has no problem with anyone… check it out on YouTube… all of your family, and remember that one friend that will stand by him in the good and bad times won’t be persuaded by anyone to abandon sweet C.J.

    Much love to you all
    From a dear friend in Norway

  114. Allyson Blanchette says:

    My heart breaks for C.J. and your family. We have been there too, so I understand the pain. Some people don’t deserve to be friends with us. Hate is never nice and does not win in the end. My thoughts go out to C.J.

  115. Dan Woog says:

    Wow. Just wow. I hope CJ finds a pile of “It Gets Better” videos to watch. Though, of course, when you’re 11 you think the world as it is is the world as it always will be. And it may not do any good, but I’m guessing Allie will come around pretty quickly. She needs CJ a lot more than he needs her!

  116. Jan Basa says:

    My heart breaks for C.J. These years can be so cruel for every child, but particularly painful when we are rejected in exchange because of who we are, or in exchange for a different social status. I did that once to a friend when I was l2. 50 years later, I am still filled with regret over the pain I caused her. I hope C.J. and family finds peace.

  117. Diana Kindall says:

    I was called to school when my son was in the 5 th grade, when I turned the corner, he was sitting on one side of the hall, and half the boys in his class on the other, they had been teasing him for being gay. My son had never said he was, but something happened ( I never knew what) that caused them to pick on him. I’ll never forget how broken my heart was seeing him sitting there alone. Thankfully his school ( a Catholic school) encouraged the kids to all get along. My son went on to keep and make many friends. Most of the grade school went to the same High School together, my son was popular and to this day, still has friends from then. There are still times when people say or do something to hurt him because of who he is, a gay man, and it still breaks my heart when he hurts.

  118. My heart breaks for CJ. And I know it’s hard to see the big picture when you’re so young, but life won’t always be so hard and awful. People will see what a terrific person CJ is and flock to him.

  119. Jennifer says:

    I have no words. I am so sorry CJ is hurting. I want to shake some sense into families like Allie’s.

  120. MR says:


    I usually don’t comment on posts but this time I wanted to in order to show support on CJ. 🙂

    I’ve had an almost similar experience less than 3 years ago. My best friend dumbed me and it really hurt for a while. It was like I lost my sister. But now, it doesn’t really matter and I’m glad this person is out of my life since she didn’t truly appreciate me.

    CJ is an incredible kid and I’m sure he will find a new best friend, maybe not tomorrow but he will (in a few months?).

    Perhaps it’s a good thing she dumbed him? She sounds mean. :p “She says that all of our friends will be her friends now because she is more popular than I am.”

    I’m really sorry this happened to CJ but things WILL get better!

  121. Lisa Donigian says:

    My heart breaks for CJ. I recently found out that one of my 14 year old son’s is gay. My first reaction was shock because this young man isn’t gender creative at all and I didn’t have a clue. My second thought was that I hoped my son and other mutual friends would still be his friends. Thankfully they are. Such relief! Whatever made them friends (video games, bike rides) is still there. Hopefully it stays that way.

  122. This breaks my heart. I’m so sorry CJ has to experience this, and as a mom of a boy like CJ, I feel for you too. My son is 9 and not very open at school because he’s too scared of how kids will react. He looks up to CJ’s bravery so much. He’s lucky to have parents like you guys in his corner…stay strong!

  123. bcato3000 says:

    OMG. You just broke my heart. Poor little guy!!! I think about our 4-year old and worry about him and his future with pain like this. No matter what you say, there’s nothing that will fix it but time and experience. People are oblivious jerks. We’re sending the biggest and warmest of hugs to CJ (Mom and Dad too) ~

  124. Monica says:

    My heart brakes for all of you. I love ALL people – except mean people.

  125. Stacey says:

    Oh wow, my heart is breaking for him. I remember the pain of the middle school years with friends turning into enemies overnight. I didn’t have the extra layer of bigotry to deal with so I can only imagine how you must be feeling. I hope the rest of CJ’s friends are kind just like you teach him to be.

  126. This post brings on the tears…my hope is that Allie’s parents will read this terribly sad story and realize they are inserting hate, where there should be love. Squeeze CJ tight for us and tell him there are millions of people who love him just the way he is! With Love, The Whittington Family

  127. I was about that age when the people in my class decided I was gay (I was not gay: I was 11). Being allegedly-gay in a Catholic school in 1985 was about the worst thing to be. Of course, the teachers did nothing, and I was bullied every day from that point for three years.

    On the other hand, the friend I did have at the time is still my best friend 30 years on: we were each others’ best men and the godparents to each other’s children. Give CJ a hug from me. He is brave and he is strong and he has his family behind him. I pray that his tears will dry soon.


  128. Oh Lori! Oh C.J! I should really not have read this at work, because it’s made me sad and ache for his little heart. Kids (and their parents) can be so cruel, I just hope that he had a good day and the other friends were there for C.J.

    He really is an amazing kid, sending him love from my tiny corner of England. Xx

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