Raising My Rainbow is Lori Duron’s poignant, heart-breaking, and at times hysterical memoir of her and her family’s adventures of raising a gender creative child. Whereas her older son Chase is a Lego-loving, sports-playing boy’s boy, her youngest son C.J. would much rather twirl around in a pink sparkly tutu, with a Disney Princess in each hand, singing Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi.”
C.J. is gender variant or gender nonconforming, whichever you prefer. Whatever the term, Lori has a boy who likes girl stuff; really likes girl stuff. He floats on the gender variation spectrum from super-macho-masculine on the left all the way to super-girly-feminine on the right. He’s not all pink and not all blue. He’s a muddled mess or a rainbow creation. Lori and her family choose to see the rainbow.
Written in Lori’s uniquely witty and warm voice and launched by her incredibly popular blog of the same name, Raising My Rainbow is the unforgettable story of her wonderful family as they navigate the often challenging but never dull privilege of raising a slightly effeminate, possibly gay, totally fabulous son.
Now with Extra Libris material, including a reader’s guide and bonus content. Foreword by Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka.
Praise for Lori Duron’s Raising My Rainbow
“[A]n optimistic and delightful memoir… Duron’s call for compassion should be heeded by educators, caregivers, and neighbors—an open heart, a desire to listen and learn, and a willingness to accommodate go a long way in doing well by someone who differs from your expectations.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“A powerful book at the right time.” —Andy Cohen, author of Most Talkative
“Lori Duron, a writer of extraordinary generosity, has given us a guide to parenthood both gentle and revolutionary. Raising My Rainbow is a valuable resource not only for parents of gender-nonconforming children, but for readers everywhere who seek the courage to stand up for the ones they love. Fierce, wise, and illuminating.” —Jennifer Finney Boylan, author of She’s Not There and Stuck in the Middle with You.
“Laugh-out-loud funny, tug-at-the-heartstrings moving, and thoroughly thought provoking, Raising My Rainbow is a must-read for anyone who has ever worried that their child—or a child that they know—might be perceived as ‘different from’ or ‘other than.’” —Jody M. Huckaby, Executive Director, PFLAG National
“It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes a gender creative parent to create a gender creative child. Lori Duron is just one of those parents, and Raising My Rainbow is a must-read for the entire village. Beautifully written, humorous, and deeply open and self-reflective, this book, the first of its kind, gives us a window into a mother’s joys, pain, and courage raising a child who goes against the binary gender grain of our society. This is not only an outstanding book, it is a big step forward in making it a better world for all of us.” —Diane Ehrensaft, Author of Gender Born, Gender Made
“First drawn to Lori’s work as an educator and LGBT activist, it was my role as a father that provided the most poignant critical lens for Raising My Rainbow. While nobody has a blueprint for parenting, Lori’s compassionate, insightful, and yes, humorous take of raising a “gender creative” child should be required reading for anyone bringing up or working with children.” —Frank Bua, author of Lost and Found, and Board Member, Family Equality Council
“I fell in love with this. Lori Duron has written a very important book, and as an author she is extremely generous in sharing the story of her family and in particular her own journey which made her realize that her job regarding her son is to ‘not change him but to love him’. Duron and her husband and oldest son beautifully rise to every challenge C.J.’s gender creativity presents to them. As a reader, I felt privileged to witness their journey.” —Lesléa Newman, author The Boy Who Cried Fabulous, Heather Has Two Mommies, and October Mourning
“Because of Lori’s courage, there is now an answer when searching how to parent a child who is gender fluid, gender non-conforming, transgender, gay or whatever label you use. This book is a wonderfully authentic read that will bring depth, joy and understanding to parents, extended families and anyone seeking to learn how parents can and do love gender creative children. To acceptance!” —Cheryl Kilodavis, author of My Princess Boy
“Lori Duron has painted an exquisite picture of the complex journey that is raising a gender diverse child. In chronicling her family’s transformation from confusion, to fear, to acceptance and ultimately fierce pride, she has provided an unwavering celebration of her child’s gender self-determination. Not just a book for families with gender nonconforming children, Raising My Rainbow is wonderful resource for all parents committed to honoring children for who they are.” —Joel Baum, Director, Education and Training, Gender Spectrum
“A heartfelt examination of raising a boy who wants to be a girl.” —Kirkus
A friend of mine told me about your book. I am so excited to have found this. CJ reminds me so much of my son. He will be five this year but as I’m reading your journey with CJ, I find it parallels my journey with my own son. Thank you for writing this!
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Huh… Sounds interesting to read… Wanna read it for the sake of reading. Might be fun!
I am a mother with three children and all my life my greatest desire was to be, so I feel very fortunate of that blessing. So I will talk to you from mother to mother, thinking about the enormous love we have for our children. If I am in a situation where my child’s health is at risk, I do my best to help. I do not know if you had listened to experts on this subject since the 60s, from doctors who were the first to deal with patients who underwent a “sex change” operation.
For example, doctors like Paul R. McHugh who, seeing the propaganda that has been done with these issues, totally obviate what is science and health, decided to act especially in favor of children like yours. Dr. McHugh was the Director of the first hospital to practice sex-change surgery in the US.
Please give yourself the opportunity to see this information for the best well-being of the physical, mental and emotional health of your dear little one. This report is one of the most recent and extensive. Base is research across a variety of scientific fields, including epidemiology, genetics, endocrinology, psychiatry, neuroscience, embryology, and pediatrics. I also reviewed many of the academic empirical studies done in the social sciences including psychology, sociology, political science, economics, and gender studies.
With all my best wishes to you and your family!
This book sounds awesome! Really want to read it!
My sister had a baby about 9 months ago. She almost rejected a stroller because it had pink flowers on it, and has said she wouldn’t let her son wear girls clothing. s someone gender no conforming who’s attempted suicude I want to make sure he developes safely, is there a book to guide people though that kind of child development? I want him to feel safe and I want him to understand not to bully.
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Lori, I truly hope you see this. I want to first of all thank you for your deeply personal book. It takes a lot to let the world view your life through a microscope. You and Matt are a great team for your children. The world could truly use more parents like yourselves. Personally, I have been a member of the LGBTQ community at times (I have since figured out that I am heterosexual) and your book helped me during the tough times. Knowing people like you were out there made me feel less pressure to conform to the “norm”. You are an incredible human, and an incredible mom.
Your book has become my new number one (I work at a book store so that’s saying something)! Here is the review I gave on Instagram:
“This book has just become my new number one. It takes the reader on a powerful journey with C.J. (a gender non-conforming little guy, aged 3-5 in the book, though now age 8) and his family. We go through the ups and the downs, the trials and the triumphs the whole time hanging on to everyone of Lori’s words. Lori writes from a (sometimes too) honest standpoint allowing the reader to form their own judgements. Her and her husband, Matt’s, unconditional love for both C.J. and brother Chase is clear. This is an absolute MUST READ!” -@j.e.r_h (From Edmonton, Canada)
Great website. Loved the book
This book introduced me to gender non-conformity and I am so glad it did! Thank you for sharing your experiences and for being such a great mom! Having graduated from public high school just two years ago, it is so relieving to see parents who support their kids on their journey rather than try to ignore/change their individuality. I lost too many peers who couldn’t find the support they needed and it is so incredible that you and your family are providing that for CJ.
I found this book on display at our local library. I’ve never read a book on gender issues before, but this one interested me and got me thinking enough to inspire me to write a quick response. First of all, I appreciated the rawness of the book. I felt like I was walking in your shoes. Many ideas about gender and raising kids came to mind. I’d take time to share them all if I could, but the point is, your book encouraged me to examine my own viewpoint and clean out some of the junk. I loved, “toys are for everyone.” Thank you for that.
I too have a 6 year old gender non conforming son. He has a beautiful nature about him, and is a unique and amazing boy. He has an older brother who loves lego, tools, karate and anything dirty. He also has a younger sister who loves dancing, dolls, makeup and anything pink. It’s great to have a support network.
I am a consirned mother of a 11 year old son whos adopted I was wonder if its coused by the identity /name change id like to know how many boy are affected by this that are adopted is it higher in adopted boys dose it affect them more im confused because I have 4 biological sons and only this son acted this way but scence hes im his biological mother not his adopted parent scence I didn’t say that in the beging ive been concerned that this mite be linked or caused by adoption I was hoping it was so I could blame the foster .adopted parents for messing up my son as some curse to them for stealing my son from me to bring up as her own to show that thase women arnt normal them selfs that these children are exsposing things to make them feel look bad
I’m assuming English is your 2nd language and perhaps there lies the disconnect from what the book is about and your question looking to sue someone who “screwed” up your kid. These children are born this way, they are not broken in need of repair. Society needs to come to terms with the fact that it’s nature not nurture. This book was wonderful example of unconditional love and it opened my eyes to love my child more than worry about whether he fits perfectly into these tidy little classification the have developed through the years.
Love my children no matter what !
As a grown gay man I am loving this book, more than I possibly could have loved the easy bake oven from the pink aisle that I never received as a child.
Thank you Lori for writing this book!!! I came out in 1979 at the age of 28 (my youngest child was 1 year old, oldest was 8) and soon became the leader of a GLBT Youth group — actually in those days just GL. One member (16 years old) of the group wanted to have gender transition surgery — the hoops to jump through were almost impossible. He couldn’t do anything until he was 18 — age of consent. I also had to step back, so out of my comfort zone — I have to admit, I was not the best support person!!!. Fortunately we have remained friends and she has taught me so much — I feel so honored to have been a part of her transition
Now — as a lesbian grandmother of 13 (16 – 6 years of age) . . . I ask all parents to read your book. I don’t think any of the grandkids are going through this questionable/sensitive time, but . . . My children laugh at me when I ask — “Do your children understand about me and granny (even after 23 years)”– getting married for third time (legally, we hope)” and planning a reception. But . . . in my lifetime, that is a real question. I teach Sunday school at my synagogue and GLBT is a topic, . . . last 2 years, only T is topic and this year your book will be our discussion point. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you . . . you have given me a lens in which I can teach!!!
I have nothing in common with your story except that we both love our children and believe in fairness, acceptance and a good laugh. I cry and cheer with every new blog post. Your book is my xmas gift to all my friends this year. Waiting for publicity appearance in Westport, CT!
Hi should I be worried i have a daughter that is 8 years old and all she like to wear is boy clothes she has been dressing like a boy since preschool
No, you should not be worried… embrace her uniqueness.
Bravo! I read it in one sitting. I went thru so many things CJ deals with on a daily basis. When I was 5 yrs. old all I wanted was a cowboy outfit, cowboy boots, a toy gun with a holster, and a cowboy hat. When I opened my present it was a cowgirl skirt, cowgirl boots, and a sparkly cowgirl vest. Ewwww! I certainly was not as gracious as CJ. I had a major meltdown. We have it all on a home movie. Mom felt so bad, bless her heart, that she immediately returned it and I was ecstatic to get a complete cowboy outfit. I never wanted to be a boy, but I wanted to wear their sports clothes and shoes, compete against them in sports, and only hang out with them. To this day I have never worn an earring, make up, or heels, or carried a purse. I only own one dress (for funerals!). I’m all grown up now and I’m bi, engaged to an amazing man. Matt’s and your love and support for your son will give him the bravery he will need to be the different little self that he is for all of his life. Oh, and next time you come see Grandma and Grandpa Colorado, call me and get CJ and Chase in swim lessons with me. I teach at Healing Waters. CJ can wear the most fabulous swim suit he chooses and will not only be embraced by me, but by my assistant, a 13-yr. old boy, who loves pink kickboards, does ballerina pirouettes on the pool deck, and sings mock opera to the complete delight of all my little swimmers and their parents. Not everyone in our little town is out of touch with your daily reality.
Just finished your wonderful book! My thanks to you, Matt, Chase and especially CJ for teaching all who read the book and your blog that love and acceptance can make the world a better place! The book was sometimes hilariously funny, heart-wrenchingly difficult, never boring and very much needed. Thank you again for the book and the blog – it makes us all better people!
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sometimes grafic but…AWESOME SHOW !! LOVE DR TRAVIS FROM THE BACHLOR : )
Just finished. Loved it! But I do have a question for you or the LGBTQ community who reads here. Your book addresses how to support family and or friends who are raising a gender no conforming child, but how does one show support to a stranger? Is that even acceptable? For example, my family and I were in Disney World last month and we saw a family with a few kids dressed as various princesses, and Belle happened to be a boy. My husband and I commented to each other how disney memories as a child can really stick with you and how awesome that is, that he will have this memory of getting to dress as he wanted to at the most magical place on earth and hopefully grow up to know how much his parents rocked for supporting that. And I would have loved to say that to his parents, or even just smile at them, but I wouldn’t want to upset them, offend anyone or make the think my intentions are anything other than good. Is there a ” right” way to say ” I think you’re a fantastic parent and your kid is awesome” without freaking someone out? I would never want someone to feel like a zoo attraction ( as the mother of Infant twins I know that feeling) but I do believe that if you see something good in the world, only by acknowledging it can you hope that it grows bigger and greater. Suggestions anyone?
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I should’ve checked the mail room when I left work on Friday. The book did indeed arrive in time for my birthday (which was Saturday) and was waiting for me in my box this morning!
My 4 copies came today!!! WHOOO HOOOO & once again CONGRATS!!! Cathilee Sharretts
I absolutely cannot wait to read this book. I’m sure my local indie bookshop will have it. If not, I’ll make sure they order a few! I do live in the Bay Area & know how welcome your book will be.
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I’m a bookseller and I was able to get my hands on an advance read so we can let our customers know how we feel! It’s a type of book I’ve never read before (writing style wise) and I can’t seem to put it down! Still have half the book to go but I wanted to let you know how amazing it is! Thanks for sharing CJ’s life with the world! Your family is an inspiration to many!