The Gender Creative Child Book Giveaway

When people ask for resources to help raise and/or support a differently gendered child, at the top of my list has long been Dr. Diane Ehrensaft’s book Gender Born, Gender Made.

Gender-Creative-Child_cover_FIN-200x300I’ve officially added her latest book (released this month) to that list. The Gender Creative Child: Pathways for Nurturing and Supporting Children Who Live Outside Gender Boxes is another must-read from the person I’ve called the patron saint of kids who don’t conform to traditional gender norms.

Dr. Ehrensaft explains gender and children like no one can. And, in her new book, she equips adults to understand and support gender-expansive children the way they deserve to be.

I’m often asked how an adult can tell if a child is transgender or gender creative (gender nonconforming). Because I’m not an expert, I typically don’t know the child and giving the wrong answer could seriously impact the child’s life, I’m always hesitant to give my feedback.

I do say that when he was younger, C.J. would say “I wish I was a girl” and “I want to be a girl.” As many times as people told me that those phrases meant he was transgender, my mom-gut told me that wasn’t the case. There’s a difference between wanting to be something and genuinely feeling like you are something.

Of course Dr. Ehrensaft explains it better in what was, for me, the most impactful part of The Gender Creative Child.

“One simple verb will also be one of the signposts that can differentiate a young transgender child from other gender creative children. It is the verb to be. Children who are communicating to us their transgender self will often say, “I am a…(fill in opposite gender or some other gender)” rather than “I wish I were a…” or “I want to be a…” This is not universally true….but for those children who feel no necessity to hedge their bets to appease others or who have met with no confused or disapproving responses, the simple sentence “I am a…” is a very clear signpost identifying a child who is not the gender people they are.”

Want to read more? Dr. Ehrensaft will gift a copy of her book to one of my readers. To enter to win, leave a comment below. Any comment. A thought. A joke. A note. A quote. A question. Whatever.

A winner will be announced here around 5 p.m. PDT on Friday, April 29.
This giveaway has ended. The winner is Yumi! Yumi, please see my reply to your comment below. Thanks to all who entered.

Good luck!

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When My Son Does My Makeup

C.J. started dabbling in makeup like most of us started — with Lip Smackers and cheap, hand-me-down eyeshadow that was a free gift with purchase. A spritz of perfume here. A few coats of nail polish there.

Suddenly his makeup bag grew from a old small one I used to carry in my purse to a hard pink box the size of a briefcase with vanity lights inside.

He applied his makeup to himself. Then his Barbies. Then the mannequin head my mother-in-law bought him for Christmas. That head is, more often than not, eerily affixed to our kitchen island; staring at me as I watch TV long after C.J. has gone to bed and the night has grown dark. “You scared the shit out of me!” I say to it often while catching my breath.

IMG_1233 IMG_1234Once C.J. started doing my makeup, he begged to do it every night. With little regard for my skin’s rebellion. My adult acne is due in large part to my son’s heavy application of makeup night after night.

IMG_9789When we were young, my brother and I did our mom’s makeup and always aimed for a natural look. You know, lipstick on the lips, eyeliner on the lids, mascara on the lashes. I quickly learned that C.J. doesn’t care for a natural look.

The first time C.J. did my makeup, he turned me into a zombie.

IMG_8292IMG_8305Then I was a “Candy Girl” inspired by Katy Perry. With heart-shaped blush and candy swirls rising from my eyes.

IMG_9803Then, I was the girl from the Starbucks logo. When I saw myself in the mirror the only thought I had was “please, please, please let all of this come off for work tomorrow.”

IMG_8704IMG_8349A future fine artist who also does makeup to support himself, C.J. still does his own makeup from time to time. Here he gave himself a “Big Eyes” look based on the art of Margaret D. H. Keane.

IMG_9838Naturally, a new favorite pastime of C.J.’s is watching makeup tutorials on YouTube. Who do you recommend?

I’m not the only one in the family who gets their makeup done by C.J. Click here to read about him doing Matt’s makeup.

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Real Dads Let Their Sons Do Their Makeup

For years, my son has been using my wife’s makeup to give his Barbie dolls makeovers and put makeup on a life-size mannequin head he got for Christmas a while back. Then he started doing my wife’s makeup regularly, so I figured it was inevitable that I would be his next victim.

IMG_9811A couple of years ago, C.J. asked if I would allow him to do my makeup. Of course I said yes. Why wouldn’t I? Why wouldn’t I want to be a part of something that brings joy to my son’s life?

If I said no to something as trivial as allowing him to paint my face, what would I be teaching him?

I’d be teaching him that playing dress-up or giving his dad a makeover is something to be ashamed of or something to hide. I don’t want to teach him that.

I want to teach him that his dad wants to spend time with him no matter what we’re doing. I want him to know that even though I’m not interested in makeup or fashion, I will play along as long as I get to sit and talk with him.

IMG_9821While he’s doing my makeup, he talks about everything. From what’s going on at school to which eye shadow brings out my blue eyes.

When I agree wholeheartedly as he discusses what makeup colors go with my skin tone, I’m teaching him that his opinions and tastes matter to me. I’m teaching him that I’ll listen to him when he wants to talk and I will find time for him even when I’m busy.

My son doing my makeup is the same as a dad throwing a football with his son. It’s not about what you are doing together; it’s about doing it together. It’s about encouraging your children to engage with you. It’s about spending time with your child doing something they enjoy doing.

Allowing your children to be themselves is very important. There are activities I do with Chase that I don’t do with C.J. because they aren’t fun for him. There are activities I do with C.J. that Chase doesn’t want to do. And, there are activities we all do together. Spending quality time with each of my sons helps strengthen my relationship with them.

IMG_9822When C.J. does my makeup, it makes me feel like I’m experiencing something with him that he loves doing. It makes me feel like maybe I’m encouraging and empowering him to have fun with something that may end up being his career as an adult. Or, it’s just something we can do together that shows him that his dad loves spending time with him no matter what we are doing.

He loves doing my makeup because he can make me look silly or dramatic and it cracks him up. Sometimes he takes it very serious, like he is really trying to make me look good. Other times it’s more of a face painting exercise than anything. Either way, he loves doing it and I love being a part of some type of activity that my son loves doing.

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Raising My Rainbow In The Chicago Tribune

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

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

Click here to read the full story.

 

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Son of a Preacher Man

“I had planned to become a Catholic priest–I spent 18 months in seminary following college before I realized I was gay. I also attempted suicide when I was 13.” – Singer/Songwriter Tom Goss.

Stop everything you’re doing and watch this powerful music video. See if you can spot my three favorite people in the world. And, share!

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C.J.’s Oscars Red Carpet Reactions

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Mindy Kaling (Photo cred: E!)

On Giuliana Rancic: I’d wear that to a fancy Easter dinner.

On Mindy Kaling: It looks like she was a blueberry and then she got run over right up her middle and the blueberries squeezed out her armpits.

On Sam Smith and Jimmy Napes: Are they married? They should be.

On Alicia Vikander: Hello lemons! Now THAT looks like the Oscars!

On Sofia Vergara: It looks like a curtain that a grandma would have and a little too much of her boobs are out. But I love her earrings.

On Priyanka Chopra: That is way too much see through. Her belt looks like a lock for a diary.

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Olivia Wilde (Photo cred: VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)

On Olivia Wilde: She’s not a dog so she doesn’t need a collar. And she’s not Miley Cyrus so she doesn’t need that top. The bottom looks like a cupcake wrapper.

On Saoirse Ronan: I don’t see anything wrong with it, except the earrings.

On Naomi Watts: That’s my favorite so far! She looks like a mermaid. Favorite.

On Olivia Munn: I like it. It looks like she is wearing a side cape. Are Forevermark diamonds from Forever 21?

On Jennifer Jason Lee: It looks like an old timey hat. Is she drunk or something?

On Rooney Mara: Too much lace. She has lots of hair; she should have a big bun, not a tiny bun.

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Brie Larson (Photo cred: Getty/Jeff Kravitz)

On Brie Larson: I LOVE IT! I don’t even have any words! I LOVE IT!

On Heidi Klum: She can do better than that. It’s like Cinderella got in a fight with her stepsisters and they ripped off her sleeve and her boob line.

On Bryan Cranston: Snooze.

On Chrissy Teigen: Too bad someone squirted hot sauce all over her.

On Ashley Graham: She did her boobs all wrong. She needs to fix it a lot. She did it all wrong. All wrong.

On Cate Blanchett: That looks nice with her skin color. How does she get her skin to look like that?

On Jared Leto: He’s the funnest boy!

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Jared Leto (Photo cred: E!)

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