My Son Chooses to Be Alice (in Wonderland)

My Halloween post is up, but not here, at TheAtlantic.com. 

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“My son C.J. is going to be Alice, of Alice In Wonderland, for Halloween. More specifically, he will be Tim Burton’s Alice because, at nearly seven years old, he’s starting to outgrow his infatuation with the leading ladies of Disney.

While Disney represents the sweet innocence and make-believe aspects of early life, my son—even though he’s only in first grade—has found comfort and a sense of camaraderie in the dark, quirky fantasy worlds created by Tim Burton. They are worlds where being different is often celebrated. My son is different. He wants to be celebrated.”

Click here to read the full post.

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PSPride_logo_footer_transNext up on my appearance schedule is Palm Springs Pride.  It’s this weekend.  Who’s going?  I’ll be in the Author’s Village on Sunday, November 3, at 1 p.m., for a meet and greet and to sign books.

It’s my first Palm Springs Pride and only my second pride ever….so stop by and make me feel welcome.  Please.

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Star Of The Week

The first weeks of school are always a little rough for C.J. (and me).  There are a lot of new things.  New routines.  New classroom.  New teacher.  New classmates.

photo 3We’ve found that he self-edits more than ever in the first weeks of school.  He tries not to stand out as he gets his bearings.  He doesn’t wear his socks from the “pink section.”  He doesn’t wear his jewelry and accessories.  He doesn’t take his pink lunchbox with hearts on it.

And, just like that, October arrives.  That’s when my son can no longer dull his sparkle.

Last year it happened on National Coming Out Day.  I shit you not.

“I did it,” he said as he was getting in the car after school.

“You did what?” I asked.  Not at all sure what the answer might be.

“I told my friends that I like girl stuff,” he said.

“What did they say?”

“They said that they already knew and then they ran to the slide to play.”

photo 1This year, C.J. was selected to be Star of the Week the week of National Coming Out Day.  When you’re Star of the Week, the whole week is about you.  In kindergarten, C.J. hated being Star of the Week because he didn’t want the focus to be on him; he didn’t want to share himself with the whole class because he was afraid of what some of them might say.  Being Star of the Week is hard when you’re a rainbow.

First Grade C.J. was relieved to be Star of the Week.  He wanted to use it as the chance to come out to his classmates as a boy who like girl stuff and boy stuff.  The last three words of his claim aren’t truthful.  C.J. does not like “boy stuff.”  None of it.  I struggle to think of something characteristically “masculine” that he does like.  I would have to offer up that he likes riding his bike (which is Monster High themed) and doing gymnastics (which isn’t typically perceived as the most masculine sport, but it’s the only sport that my son will do).  He also likes laughing at farts and making up rhymes and jokes that include the word “poop.”  Is that behavior considered more “masculine” leaning?

But, if it makes him feel better to tell the kids at school that he likes girl stuff and boy stuff, that’s absolutely fine with me.

Monday: Star Of The Week Day 1:  C.J. had to bring in an “All About Me” poster.  We spent the weekend getting his poster just right.  He has very high standards.

Favorite Animal:  Turtle

Favorite Food:  Strawberries

Favorite Color:  Rainbow

Favorite Place:  Colorado

When I grow up, I want to be a:  Artist

Favorite thing to do is: Play with my friends

If I had one wish, I would wish for:  I wish that people would understand me and not tease me because my style is different.  I wish that colors and toys and clothes could be for everyone – not “just for boys” and “just for girls.”  I like boys stuff and girl stuff.

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When he dictated his wish to me, I was a mix of sadness and pride.  I was sad that his biggest wish is to be able to like what he wants to like and be himself without the negative reactions and judgments of others.  And, I was proud that he was brave enough to share all of that with his 28 classmates so that he wouldn’t have to self-edit as much while at school.

“What did the kids say about your wish?” I asked after school.

“Some kids already knew.  Some kids didn’t say anything.  Some kids laughed at me.  But, those are the kids who laugh at everything,” he replied matter-of-factly.  He was unfazed by the laughers, so I was too.

Tuesday: Star Of The Week Day 2:  C.J. had to share one of his most prized possessions with the class.  He was going to share one of his favorite books, Roland Humphrey Is Wearing A What?, which is about a gender nonconforming boy who wears girl clothes to school and overcomes teasing.

Instead, he decided to earn some major playground cred and envious admirers by showing off two autographed photos.  One of the cast of Jessie and one of the cast of Sam & Cat.  It worked like magic, just as he knew it would.  He can already read a crowd.  He was the coolest kid in first grade when he whipped out those autographed photos.

Wednesday: Star Of The Week Day 3:  He led the class in some math-guessing game.

Thursday: Star Of The Week Day 4:  Every student in the class wrote him a letter and drew him a picture.

Friday: Star Of The Week Day 5:  He got to bring home the letters and pictures that his classmates made for him.  And, this is what I saw that warmed my heart and spread my smile.  These are just five of 28.

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That’s C.J. as an artist when he grows up with one of his girl friends.

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This is C.J. walking under a rainbow with one of his very best girl friends (and protectors).

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This is C.J. with one of the boys in his class. C.J. is the one in the rainbow shirt, in case you weren’t sure.

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This is C.J. on an ice cream date with one of his girl friends.

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This is C.J. holding up a rainbow for one of his girl friends. This girl wrote “I think you’re amazing” in her letter to him.

Since his turn as Star of the Week, C.J. has started to wear his socks from the “pink section” to school.  Now, every day he wears his rainbow BFF necklace that he shares with his friend Twirl.  And, he took his pink lunchbox with the hearts on it school for a week.  Then he broke the zipper.  So, now he takes one in the shape of a sweet owl that is intended for girls, but loved by my son…..the Star of the Week.

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Friday Fodder: Good Day L.A. Edition

I’m tired.

On Wednesday morning, I appeared on Fox’s Good Day L.A., the top local morning show in Southern California.  Here’s my interview.  Please take a moment to admire my shoes, which were C.J.-picked-and-approved.

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My Good Day L.A. appearance came on the heels of a five-day-long trip to Atlanta to present at the Salon LGBTQ Conference — the first national LGBTQ social media conference.

I had a special travel buddy with me on this trip.  I took C.J. and he got some quality playtime with his BFF Twirl, who is the son of  fellow Salon LGBTQ panelist Kelly who blogs at  It’s a Bold Life.

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PSPride_logo_footer_transNext up on my appearance schedule is Palm Springs Pride.  Who’s going?  I’ll be in the Author’s Village on Sunday, November 3, at 1 p.m., to talk about my family’s experiences and sign books.

It’s my first Palm Springs Pride and only my second pride ever….so stop by and make me feel welcome.  My brother has informed me that many people may not be sober at 1 p.m. on Sunday.  That’s okay, you can stop by and say “hi” even if you are under the influence.  Just promise not to puke or otherwise soil me in any way.

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A reader sent me the link to an article about “New York-based photographer Leland Bobbé, (who) has put together a fascinating series of portraits that examine the idea of gender fluidity by showing New York City drag queens in half-drag.”

Miss Fame © Leland BobbéC.J. has asked to look the photos every night before bed.  He is completely enthralled.  He looks at each picture as a whole, then takes a piece of paper and covers up the queen side to see the man side first.  Then, he slides the paper to cover the man side and stare at the queen side.  Then, he looks at the photo as a whole again.  He notices all of the detail….and he wants colored contact lenses for Christmas.

With these images my intention is to capture both the male and the alter ego female side of these subjects in one image in order to explore the cross over between males and females and to break down the physical barriers that separate them.

This in turn questions the normative ideas about gender and gender fluidity. Through the power of hair and makeup these men are able to completely transform themselves and find their female side while showing their male side simultaneously. These are composed in camera and are not two separate images digitally composed.” — Leland Bobbé

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This week Mamalode published a BEAUTIFUL piece written by a mother of a gender nonconforming girl.  Read it.  I mean it.

“My feral girl steps across gender lines and has become to me her own species. Out on our farm in summer, she runs shirtless in little boy boxer briefs, climbs to the top of our rusty swing set and, to me, she is just Eliza. But when I see her in a room full of other six-year-old girls, I realize, again, she’s different. This is no news flash to her. Eliza cultivates this difference without meaning to…”

Read the full piece here:  http://mamalode.com/story/detail/half-half

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Monday Fodder: Atlanta, Chase and Football

 

Atlanta…I’m coming for you.  This Wednesday through Sunday, I’ll be in town for Salon LGBTQ, the first national LGBTQ social media conference.  

SalonLGBTQspeaking2_zps2b2d018dFriday, Oct. 18, at 2:15 p.m.: I’ll be part of a panel titled “Raising (and Writing About) the Next Generation of LGBTQ Kids.”  My co-panelists and fellow fierce mamas are none other than the super astounding Amelia (Huffington Post), Sarah Manley (Nerdy Apple) and Kelly Byrom (It’s a Bold Life).

Charis Books will be there selling books and I’ll be signing.  Will I see you there?

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In my post last week, I wrote about our family attending a high school football game to show Chase tackle football up close and personal because he has been begging to make the switch from flag football to full-contact football. I wrote plenty about C.J.’s reactions to the game – which ended up being the school’s Homecoming Game — but I didn’t write about Chase’s reactions.

And, you called me on it.  And, it touched my heart because it reminded me that you care about BOTH of my children equally.  Sometimes I foolishly think that your focus is more on C.J.  Mine isn’t – of course – I love both of my kids with all of my heart no matter what.

Any-who, Chase has decided that perhaps tackle football can wait a season or two.  😉  So, flag football it is for at least another six months to one year.  This mom is happy with his decision and doing a touchdown, end-zone-dance in her head because the longer I can keep him out of physical-harm’s way the better.   I’m not sure that I’ll ever be ready for Chase to start tackle football…not unless they let me get suited up and block him as he blocks for the runner guy with the ball (Whatever position that is called.  Receiver?  Running back?  Ball carrier?  Mr. Fastypants Runnerman?).

 

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My Son’s Thoughts On The Homecoming Queen

C.J.’s Brother Chase loves football.  He’s been playing flag football for the past four seasons and thinks that he’s ready to make the jump to tackle football with pads (and a much higher registration fee and time commitment).  Tackle football makes me nervous, but I’m being told on a weekly basis that it’s uncool for him to play flag football much longer.  Tackle football is where it’s at if you are serious about pigskin and/or your social status.

In preparation for this next phase of Chase’s athletic career, we decided that he needs to see tackle football live (not just on TV) so he can fully understand that he will be tackled and expected to tackle someone else.  He’s such a kind, gentle, loving soul and I’m afraid that the first time someone knocks him to the ground in an act of aggression it’s going to shock the shit out of him.

Matt found out that our high school alma mater was playing a football game five minutes from our house, so one recent Friday night we loaded in the car, grabbed hamburgers for dinner and headed to the stadium for the game.

“I don’t wanna watch football.  Football is soooooo boring,” C.J. complained, slumping his shoulders and walking with dread through the parking lot.

“There will be cheerleaders…” I said.

“I love cheerleaders!  Do we have to sit on the grass or is there a place for the audience to sit?” C.J. asked.

“When you watch sports you’re a fan, not an audience, and you sit in the stands or the bleachers.”  C.J. has a lot to learn to about sports, but isn’t the least bit interested in learning it.

We walked into the stadium and C.J. saw the cheerleaders instantly.  They were standing on boxes with their names written on them.

C.J.:  “What’s her name?”

Me:  “Hannah.”

C.J.:  “What’s that one’s name?”

Me:  “Hannah.”

C.J.:  “What’s the brown-haired girl’s name?”

Me:  “Hannah.”

C.J.:  “That’s so many Hannahs!  Do you have to be named Hannah to be a cheerleader?  Cause my name’s not Hannah.”

I agreed.  There were a lot of Hannahs.  There were a lot of cheerleaders, period.  There were a lot of people.  We had a hard time finding seats.  I looked around.  I leaned over to Matt.

“I think it’s Homecoming,” I said.  “Did you plan this as a romantic gesture for your high school sweetheart?”  He hadn’t.  Whatever.

C.J. watched the freshman, sophomore, junior varsity, varsity and alumni cheerleaders cheer.  By the middle of the second quarter he was getting bored.  (So was I.)

“Ewwww, what is that costume!?” he said while pointing.

“That’s the uniform that the band wears.  That girl is in the band,” I replied.

“Ewwww, that’s so not good.  That’s sad,” he said.

I quieted him down.  But, he was right.  The getups had obviously been selected from the Star Trek-themed pages of the band uniform catalogue.

“I wanna go home,” he complained.

“We can’t leave yet, there is a halftime show and they are going to crown the Homecoming Queen,” I said.

“THERES GOING TO BE A QUEEN!!!!  YOU DIDN’T TELL ME THERE WAS GOING TO BE A QUEEN!!!” he yelled, causing the two rows in front of us to turn and look.

“WHERE IS SHE?????” he said stretching his head out and around to look for her.

“We don’t know who the queen is yet.  They are going to bring out the princesses and then announce which one was picked to be the queen,” I whispered into his ear.

“THERE ARE PRINCESSES TOO!!!!!” he yelled.  Again the rows turned to look at us.  He was nearly shaking with excitement.

The Dr. Seuss halftime show started.  Apparently it was Homecoming in Whoville.  There were small skits, dance routines and then the five princesses were loaded into a horse-drawn carriage and were making their way on the track around the football field towards us.

“HERE THEY COME.  THEY’RE COMING!!!!”  C.J. was losing his freaking mind.

The princesses took to the stage one at a time as their long list of accomplishments was read.  One had, like, a 4.75 G.P.A.  Is that even possible?  I was always stoked to have above a 3.0.

Each princess was stationed in front of a gift-wrapped box.  Each box contained a helium balloon and whomever’s balloon had a red paper heart attached to it was the queen.  Simultaneously, the princesses started to slowly lift the lids off of their boxes.

C.J. had is hands clasped together and held up to his heart.  He was holding his breath.  There were princesses, gift boxes, balloons and hearts.  C.J. could not have been more in his element.

The girl on the far left won.  It was a beauty pageant moment.  She brought her hands to her mouth in shock.  She had a surprised-Taylor-Swift face.  The crown was placed atop her shiny dark hair and a cape was draped on her slender shoulders.

“SHE CAN’T WIN!!!!!!  SHE DOESN’T HAVE THE BEST DRESS!!!!  THE GIRL OVER THERE WITH THE PINK GLITTER DRESS SHOULD BE THE QUEEN!!!!!”

C.J. was on his feet pointing firmly to the girl who – in his humble opinion – should be the Homecoming Queen.  The two rows in front of us turned to look again.  I was hoping that a smile would hide my embarrassment.

I tried to explain to C.J. that the Homecoming Queen is supposed to win based on her achievements, not her dress.  He argued that that was stupid and that it should be based on her dress.

“Are you ready to go?” Matt asked me.

We started to make our way down the stadium steps.

“We’ll see you all in the gym for the 2013 Homecoming Dance!” the football announcer said over the loud speaker.

“YAAAAAAYYYYYYYY!!!!! WE GET TO GO TO A DANCE!!!!!! IS IT TONIGHT?  WHAT GYM?  LA FITNESS WHERE YOU WORK OUT, MOMMY?”

“No, baby, it’s at the high school gym and it’s only for the teenagers.”

“But that man just invited me and I can wear one of my dresses…”

“You can’t go until you’re in high school,” I said exhausted by the endless questions.

“I already know what dress I’ll wear,” he said.

“Of course you do.”

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Friday Fodder: Birthday Blogger Edition

As a birthday present to myself, I took the earlier part of the week off from blogging.  I spent the time fixated on the fact that I’m now closer to 40 than I am to 30.  The first email that I saw the morning of my birthday was a Groupon for Botox.  Well played, Groupon.  Well played.

I’m also a little wiped out from my book’s release four weeks ago.  I also get lazy periodically and may need some sort of rehab to get over my addiction to Candy Crush.  So, please excuse my absence.

Matt, Chase and C.J. made my birthday special as always.  Matt always buys me a present and takes the boys to Target so that each of them can gift me with something that I’ve always wanted.  Then, the boys made cards for me.

This if the front of my card from C.J.:

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This is the inside, that’s me opening up my presents.  I have really long legs like a supermodel, according to C.J.:

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This is C.J. and Chase falling down the stairs to watch me open my presents because I started opening them without them.  I think he just wanted to draw his hair in motion:

photo 3 This is the gift that C.J. picked out especially for me.  It may look like only a cute little cupcake tchotchke, but wait there’s more:

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Inside is this necklace that I am wearing now with pride:

photo 4 “Mom, how about you have the necklace and I have the cupcake?  That sounds like a good idea, doesn’t it?” C.J. said persuasively.

“Okay,” I agreed.

“And, then, when you die I can have the necklace,” he said.  That didn’t help me with my feeling old problem.

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This Tuesday, October 8, I’ll be at the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library.

misc-lori-duronAt 7 p.m., I will be in the Main Meeting Room.  The event is free and open to the public.  

Parents of gender nonconforming children are invited to a special visit with me at the library from 6 to 6:30 pm. This session is free but sign up is required; parents can email Robin Fosdick at robin.fosdick@corvallisoregon.gov to register.

An extra special thank you to the Friends of the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library and the Hilton Garden Inn for sponsoring this event.

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Raising My Rainbow: Adventures in Raising a Fabulous, Gender Creative Son is now available in the UK and Ireland in paperback and for your e-reader.  Spread the word.  #raisingmyrainbowworlddomination

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Friday Fodder: West Hollywood Book Fair Edition

This Sunday I’ll be at the West Hollywood Book Fair.  Will I see you there? 

Sunday, September 29, West Hollywood Book Fair 

bookfair_sidebar1The book fair runs from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.  At 3:30 p.m., I will be on a panel titled “Telling My Story: LGBT Memoir” and I will be signing books immediately afterwards.   Admission is free, so stop by and say hi! 

Here’s more event info:  The 2013 West Hollywood Book Fair is one of Southern California’s largest and most eclectic literary events.  Taking place at West Hollywood Park & West Hollywood Library, it will feature 13 stages, hundreds of acclaimed authors and artists, exhibitors, live performances, culinary demonstrations, children’s theater programming, and workshops for all ages.  The day will end with a very special in-the-park screening of Singin’ in the Rain with Debbie Reynolds.

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photo-21In their issue that hit newsstands today, People Magazine named Raising My Rainbow a “Good Read!”  It’s fun (and surreal) to see my book in a magazine like People, but more than anything it’s exciting that it introduces the topic of gender creative kids to such a large, mainstream audience.  

 

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Next up for me after this weekend’s West Hollywood Book Fair is… 

Tuesday, October 8, Corvallis-Benton County Public Library

misc-lori-duronAt 7 p.m., I will be speaking at the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library in the Main Meeting Room.  The event is free and open to the public.  

Parents of gender nonconforming children are invited to a special visit with me at the library from 6 to 6:30 pm. This session is free but sign up is required; parents can email Robin Fosdick at robin.fosdick@corvallisoregon.gov to register.

An extra special thank you to the Friends of the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library and the Hilton Garden Inn for sponsoring this event.

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