My son is gay

November 4 2010 | Guest post by Sarah Manley

…Or he's not. I don't care. He is still my son. And he is 5. And I am his mother. And if you have a problem with anything mentioned above, I don't want to know you.

I have gone back and forth on whether I wanted to post something more in-depth about my sweet boy and his choice of Halloween costume. Or more specifically, the reactions to it. I figure if I'm still irked by it a few days later, I may as well go ahead and post my thoughts.

Here are the facts that lead up to my story:

  • My son is 5 and goes to a church preschool.
  • He has loved Scooby Doo since developing the ability and attention span to sit still long enough to watch it.
  • Halloween is a holiday and its main focus is wearing a costume.
  • My son's school had the kids dress up, do a little parade, and then change out of costumes for the rest of the party.
  • Boo's best friend is a little girl
  • Boo has an older sister
  • Boo spends most of his time with me.
  • I am a woman.
  • I am Boo's mother, not you.

So a few weeks before Halloween, Boo decides he wants to be Daphne from Scooby Doo, along with his best friend E. He had dressed as Scooby a couple of years ago. I was hesitant to make the purchase, not because it was a cross gendered situation, but because 5 year olds have a tendency to change their minds. After requesting a couple of more times, I said sure and placed the order. He flipped out when it arrived. It was perfect.

As we got closer to the actual day, he started to hem and haw about it. After some discussion it comes out that he is afraid people will laugh at him. I pointed out that some people will because it is a cute and clever costume. He insists their laughter would be of the 'making fun' kind. I blow it off. Seriously, who would make fun of a child in costume?

Then the big day arrived. We get dressed up. We drop Squirt at his preschool and head over to my five-year-old's school. Boo doesn't want to get out of the car. He's afraid of what people will say and do to him. I convince him to go inside. He halts at the door. He's visibly nervous. I chalk it up to him being a bit of a worrier in general. Seriously, WHO WOULD MAKE FUN OF A CHILD IN A COSTUME ON HALLOWEEN? So he walks in. And there were several friends of mine that knew what he was wearing that smiled and waved and gave him high-fives. We walk down the hall to where his classroom is.

That's where things went wrong. Two mothers went wide-eyed and made faces as if they smelled decomp. I realize that my son is seeing the same thing I am. So I say, "Doesn't he look great?"

Mom A says in disgust, "Did he ask to be that?!" I say that he sure did as Halloween is the time of year that you can be whatever it is that you want to be. They continue with their nosy, probing questions as to how that was an option and didn't I try to talk him out of it. Mom B mostly just stood there in shock and dismay.

Mom C approaches. She had been in the main room, saw us walk in, and followed us down the hall to let me know her thoughts. And they were that I should never have 'allowed' this and thank God it wasn't next year when he was in Kindergarten since I would have had to put my foot down and 'forbidden' it. To which I calmly replied that I would do no such thing and couldn't imagine what she was talking about. She continued on and on about how mean children could be and how he would be ridiculed.

My response to that: The only people that seem to have a problem with it is their mothers.

Another mom pointed out that high schools often have Spirit Days where girls dress like boys and vice versa. I mentioned Powderpuff Games where football players dress like cheerleaders and vice versa. Or every frat boy ever in college (Mom A said that her husband was a frat boy and NEVER dressed like a woman.)

But here's the point, it is none of your damn business.

If you think that me allowing my son to be a female character for Halloween is somehow going to 'make' him gay then you are an idiot. Firstly, what a ridiculous concept. Secondly, if my son is gay, OK. I will love him no less. Thirdly, I am not worried that your son will grow up to be an actual ninja so back off.

If my daughter had dressed as Batman, no one would have thought twice about it. No one.

But it also was heartbreaking to me that my sweet, kind-hearted five year old was right to be worried. He knew that there were people like A, B, and C. And he, at 5, was concerned about how they would perceive him and what would happen to him.

Just as it was heartbreaking to those parents that have lost their children recently due to bullying. IT IS NOT OK TO BULLY. Even if you wrap it up in a bow and call it 'concern.' Those women were trying to bully me. And my son. MY son.

It is obvious that I neither abuse nor neglect my children. They are not perfect, but they are learning how to navigate this big, and sometimes cruel, world. I hate that my son had to learn this lesson while standing in front of allegedly Christian women. I hate that those women thought those thoughts, and worse felt comfortable saying them out loud. I hate that 'pink' is still called a girl color and that my baby has to be so brave if he wants to be Daphne for Halloween.

And all I hope for my kids, and yours, and those of Moms ABC, are that they are happy. If a set of purple sparkly tights and a velvety dress is what makes my baby happy one night, then so be it. If he wants to carry a purse, or marry a man, or paint fingernails with his best girlfriend, then ok. My job as his mother is not to stifle that man that he will be, but to help him along his way. Mine is not to dictate what is 'normal' and what is not, but to help him become a good person.

I hope I am doing that.

And my little man worked that costume like no other. He rocked that wig, and I wouldn't want it any other way.

    • Way to go mom! Support your son! Everyday there is something in the media about bullying! Stop the madness! These parents need to mind there own business and get life! For goodness sake! He's a child! Get over it people!

    • Its hard to be TRAILBLAZER. If you find that life for him is getting harder and harder dont make it him tuff it out, hold his hand and keep him safe.

  1. I can't believe those moms were so judgmental! Ugh! Children can be reported for bullying, then why not report those moms for bullying you two, eh? Cheers to you and your son for sticking to your guns in the face of absolute madness!

  2. Thanks for sharing. There are so many people that need to read these kinds of posts to help expand their horizons and stretch their definition of what's 'right' or 'normal'. I hope your son will grow to be more confident with his decisions in spite of what others may think. I'm so grateful you're his mom!

  3. Best line of the whole damn thing: "I am not worried that your son will grow up to be an actual ninja so back off."

    Your little boy is ADORABLE and very lucky to have a mom like you.

    PS- I SO want that wig!

  4. Go mama, GO!

    Stay strong and your son will, too. Come back to this if you ever need support in your convictions- we gotcher back!

  5. I JUST saw this on my WordPress Freshpress bulletin board!

    It's heartbreaking that your son had to experience that reaction from the MOMS, not even so much his classmates. He's very lucky to have a mom like you and I'm sure he'll grow up with the confidence to be comfortable with who he is.

    Brava to you, Sarah, and even more, bravo to your son! He looks great in that costume! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. As a lesbian, I just want to say THANK YOU for this post! My parents raised me the way you're raising your son (only I went to a Jewish preK) and I'm sure they probably encountered the same opinions. But because of how they raised me and SUPPORTED me, I grew up happy, healthy, and proud of who I am. I'm sure your son will turn out the same because of how you treat him and support him. Loved this post!

  7. That is hands down the best costume I've seen this year and I know someone who made a huge sock monkey costume so that's saying a lot. Your kid-o looks awesome and those moms need to mind their own damn business. I have "concern" for their children and their stifled imaginations. Not yours. your kid will grow up to be confident and happy with who he is.

  8. I was just seeing this for the thousandth time on facebook and thought, "I will check and see if it is on OffbeatMama…." ๐Ÿ™‚ Our son is super gentle, dancery, long-haired, and many other things that make him different from our friends' boys, which people often point out with comments like "He's so ___X____ for a boy." I hate that things I generally value– like cooperation instead of competition, or nurturing play– are put in a gender category. So then my choices are: 1. Instill values at cost of making my family "weird" or 2. Encourage bits of "boyness" that make me cringe.

  9. First off, your son looks BRILLIANT in that outfit – and check out that smile on his face! I feel very sorry for the children of those vile mothers – I just hope their narrow-minded views don't get passed down to their kids. If he hasn't already, your son will soon realise how truly lucky he is to have a mum like you. I hope those who bullied you are thoroughly ashamed of themselves. Keep on loving your boy the way you do – he looks and sounds like a wonderfully happy, well-adjusted kid.

  10. I'm a long time lurker but I just had to post when I read this. I think it is fantastic that your son chose to be Daphne and that you supported him in his decision. You rock! My only wish is that you or someone else tells moms ABC that their reactions are teaching their kids that judging someone they way they did is okay. Down with bullying!

  11. Fantastic; thank you for sharing your experience!

    Your poor little boy; I'm glad he was able to rock his costume, and that you were able to let him do that without shame. ๐Ÿ˜€

  12. Love this! Thank you for sharing. Everything you said was right on. Your kids are so blessed to have an awesome and accepting Mom!

  13. Being the emotional (pregnant) person that I am, this post made me cry. Initially because of the intolerance for anything or anyone "different" in this world. And secondly, because as kiss ass as it sounds, because moms like Sarah are the ones who literally change the world by small small increments every day by simply being a great mom. I strive everyday to be the same kind of mom and shit – its hard already. My youngest is still being grown and my oldest is 19 months. But honestly this post kind of scares me. I mean I thought I had to grade school to start dealing with "grown up issues" such as bullying and stressing self-esteem and identity and here this mom and beautiful little boy is going through this at 5. FIVE! This post is going to be one that stays with me. Great post from a phenomenal mom!

  14. Excellent – he was totally adorable. However, people do get judgmental about women "pretending to be men," especially where money is concerned. Ask any female engineer or mechanic how often she's been told she's a lesbian. But back to your son – if he had dressed as something evil or scary, would the other moms have been worried he will grow up to be evil? Is being gay supposed to be worse than being evil? Kids dress up and pretend at that age. It doesn't mean anything. Duh.

    • It's a different kind of judgment, though, I think. If you look at the way tomboys are treated compared to feminine boys, it's a world of difference, and it is much more acceptable. (I say this as a somewhat androgynous woman who is in a relationship with a woman who tends to the masculine side of androgynous, for what it's worth.)

      Men in traditionally female roles cop a whole lot more crap, from what I've seen. It's like the quote in that Madonna song – it's okay to look like a boy, but for a boy to look like a girl is degrading. Men are strong (according to the thoughts of the small-minded), so it makes some sort of sense that women would want to be like men (although really, we should know our place). On the other hand, a man wanting to be like a weak, weak woman? There must be something WRONG with him.

      Really, like so many other things, it all comes back to misogyny.

      • Karen & Dina, I agree with both of you! I think that after the women's lib movement, it became PC to allow women to step into less "feminine" roles. However, men haven't really had an equivalent "movement," and so I agree that people come down harder on them. So often I feel like people think it is the end of the world if a boy plays with dolls, but if a girl plays with Tonka trucks she is just independent and "not into the princess thing" and that's fine. It is awful.

        However, I still think girls face these issues. It may be 'PC' for women to seek out "men's roles," but plenty of people still don't know how to deal with it. I am straight and was a tomboy growing up (and I have since become an engineer), and it prompted a lot of harassment from fellow students and even teachers.

        Here is an interesting example from my past. I auditioned for the school play in 4th grade, and though there were many girl parts that I tried out for, I was actually cast in a boy's part. When I asked my music teacher why I had been cast as a boy, she said "I couldn't cast you in any of the girl parts, because I just couldn't picture wearing a dress with curls in your hair." I was crushed and told her that I didn't mind wearing dresses at all…they were just not practical for the playground, so that's why I didn't wear them to school. She then basically told me that I could take the part I'd been cast in, or not be in the play at all.

        So, basically, her actions sent the message that: Wearing a dress == being a girl. You don't wear a dress, therefore, you are not a girl.

        So, I guess what I'm trying to say is, I agree that things are more rough for boys, but its still a hard road for little girls who are tomboys.

  15. Are other Mom's really so blunt & rude? I don't have kids in school yet but this kind of freaks me out. What the heck happened to social skills? Thank God there are people out there like Sarah!

    • I would like to say no moms are not really that blunt and rude, but there are a lot of them that are. It seems people are broken into three camps (1. voice judgment, 2. judge but don't voice, and 3. don't judgment) It sucks that people who voice their judgment do it in the presence of young ones who are still learning from their own parents. It just sucks!

  16. Sarah,

    I think you should show your son just how many people on the web think he looks great, in these comments and anywhere else on the web this article has ended up. Show him just how many people who've never met him already think he's amazing, brave and so cool just for being him.
    Three mums may have criticised his costume but infinitely more love it

  17. I wholeheartedly agree that those moms were in the wrong when they discussed this with you in front of your son. That certainly doesn't help matters! Furthermore, I agree that it was none of their business, and they all should have kept their opinions to themselves.

    The only thing I'm left wondering at the end of your post is, though: Why does dressing as Daphne make him gay? Was the title of this post purely for shock value, or do you genuinely think he's gay?

      • I agree this was a way to grab eyeballs, but I also think it brilliantly plays on the two things that are wrong with the reactions of the bullying moms (which are too typical): 1) People automatically assume that a boy who wants to wear a girl costume must be gay–which is just not true; 2) on the other hand, some little boys who are very interested in girl's clothes might be gay or transgender–and that should not be a cause for concern anyway! Anyway, I love this post–Sarah is making the world a better place.

        • But isn't this perpetuating the problem, though? Her argument is that dressing up on Halloween is an innocent thing, but she's gone an extrapolated his sexual preference from it, and trumpeted it across the Internet.

          • That might be an issue if that was what she had done, but I don't think it is. The very first line is "Or heโ€™s not. I donโ€™t care." I think the title is a commentary on what others are thinking, not what she herself believes.

      • If it was just a grab for eyeballs, am I the only one who thinks it's wrong she did it at her child's expense? Thousands of people across the world, who have never even met him, are seeing his face with the words "My Son Is Gay" written above them.

        Even if we ignore the fact that he's 5 and probably doesn't even have sexual preferences yet, shouldn't it be his choice to out himself?

  18. There is nothing wrong with a boy dressing like a girl character for Halloween and you're right when you point out that no one would have thought twice if he had been a girl dressing like a male character.

    My two year old son has shoulder length hair. He is constantly mistaken for a girl and people criticize me for not cutting his beautiful hair, so I can definitely empathize.

    I feel like the outcome of this story was unfortunate, but not unexpected.
    IMHO, I think you should be both supportive of your children's choices, but also realistic with them about the potential consequences of those choices so they are prepared. School kids can be horrible bullies and it requires bravery and courage to ignore them and do your own thing.

  19. thank you for sharing this, my husband and I sat here and cried with sadness that your son already knows the kinds of people there are in the world, and with happiness that he has a mother who will champion his happiness. Thank you thank you.

  20. What a heroic and inspiring mom. I wish my mom had been more like you, Sarah. You know what being a parent is supposed to be all about. I'm inspired by your son's bravery as well. Here's hoping your wisdom and common sense rub off on others.

  21. Thank you so much for writing this article. There needs to be more parents like you in the world. It's disgusting how people feel the need to shove their opinions down everyone's throats. Your son looks so cute and so happy in the picture. I can't believe people would act like that, especially towards a little guy.

  22. Please pardon my language, but I FUCKING LOVE THIS. It mystifies me, how people don't see other children like they see their own. As tender, vulnerable little humans who learn about the world by how you treat them Most of us, I think, can remember something a grown up did that was very, very hurtful to us as a child. And I remember my mama standing up for me when it did. Maybe we can't get rid of bullies, but if we have more mamas like this, our children have a fighting chance against the ugliness in the world. Sarah, I love you!

  23. I just saw this on Facebook! I can't say much that hasn't already been said better by someone else but that is definitely the most adorable Daphne I've ever seen!

  24. I saw this on facebook and immediately reposted it. My wonderful friend, who happens to be gay, reposted it as well. This is what he had to say, "I teared up reading it. We've got so much further to go." I think what is wonderful about this story is that it illustrates how much further we have to go, but it also shows us how to help these causes along the way. If everyone was as honest and straightforward towards bigots as Sarah was, we would be a lot closer to putting these issues behind us.

    Thanks for sharing, Sarah. You and your son are both amazing.

  25. One of my gay male pals linked to your blog post on Facebook and said this article made him tear up a bit. It makes us both sad that the world still has a long way to go to become the kind of fair and decent place we want it to be, but, like I told him, one thing that will make it a better place is parents letting their kids know they have their backs. You go, Mama (and little Boo)!

  26. Personally I think this makes you one of the most awesome moms ever! We should let our kids be what they want or dress how they want to dress. People need to worry about their own kids – as long as our kids are healthy and happy – thats what matters!

  27. My girlfriend sent me this, and I love it. I'm not a regular visitor to this site unless my girlfriend sends me a link, which has become quite often in recent days.

    I just wanted to let you know that your unconditional support and love for your son will make your relationship together extremely fulfilling and powerful. You've made the right choices and I'm glad that you weren't afraid to defend your son's decisions to other "Christian" women (which incidentally bothers me more than you know, being a Christian myself, although probably a more liberal one).

    I feel that I should let you know that in third grade I dressed up as a girl for Halloween at school. I was a little shy, but I knew I'd get a few laughs from other people. It ended up being hilarious and my best costume to date, even being a mere month away from being 22. Whether or not it means anything or is relevant, I am 21-years-old, straight, not effeminate, and have been happily dating my girlfriend for four years now.

    Be proud of yourself, and even more proud of your son. It takes some serious guts to do that at such a young age, and I think that makes him more of a man than any "ninja".

  28. I teared up while reading this. I'm due next month with a little boy and I have been going over in my head how one day I might have to deal with situations like these. I love the fact that he was confident enough to walk into that school dressed as a female character, more people need to be more like him! However, it's sad that once the day actually came he realized that people might make fun of him, and in the world will live in its true, that people are always going to question you or put you down.
    I like the fact that you pointed out that it was the mother's who were doing the bullying. Everything your children learn start at your own home, the kids of those mothers are going to learn how to bully those who are different and become closed minded. Hopefully, though they will rise above their parents and realize that there is so many different people in the world and that we are all human and deserve the right to be who we want to be, when ever we want to be! And not be put down or questioned because of it!

  29. She had it nailed: the MOM'S were the ones with the problem. Kids are born without hate in their hearts, it's ignorant parents who instill it in their children. Sorry you have to live in the Bible Belt…I live in Connecticut and I thank the universe I do!

  30. What a great post, I agree with it all! I really like when you said "I am not worried that your son will grow up to be an actual ninja so back off." It's just a costume, it's no more ridiculous than all these girls running around as a priness. I mean, what are the odds that a little girl will grow up to be swept off her feet by a handsome prince?
    I sure hope the kids of those moms don't grow up to be gay, I can't imagin how unaccepted they would be in their own families.
    I think it's wonderful that you are so supportive and accepting of what your son wants, I wish all parents would raise their kids with those same values.

  31. I would like to give you a high five and a hug. You inspire me! Like someone said earlier, it's people like you who make this world a better place!

    I dressed my 5 month old daughter as a bat for this halloween and I kept being told (mostly by my mother : /) to put a bow on her! She's 5 months old! She has about as much gender as a Q-tip! People just need to calm down!

  32. As a waitress I see all the sides of people they only show when they think no one is watching. I can say for a fact all the nightmare children that have ever come into any establishment i have worked at have equally nightmare parents. Love, respect, empathy these are things taught…or not taught at home .

  33. Thank you for sharing this precious photo and expressing the unconditional love you have for your son. He is a very lucky boy.

  34. As a trans person, I just wanted to point out that perhaps your child is trans and not gay. Or not. But it's an important thing to be aware of, especially since at the crux of all this is gender and gender attributes, not sexuality.

    Just a thought. Carry on!

    • totally respect this distinction! so many people miss/don't care about that aspect.

      that said, i feel like in this case the crux is parents imposing prejudices on others' (and their own) kids and setting the stage for passing down bigotry, no matter what perceived difference they are focusing on. as parents, we are potentially in a position to positively change prevailing behaviors of this sort for at least the generation we are giving rise to.

  35. I just went for our 20 week ultrasound today and found out we are having a boy. And then I got home and read this, and I cried. I cried because I was prepared to raise a daughter (somehow I had an instinct it was a girl from day one), and I started prepping for all the ways I would combat her injustice. I know that many of the ways are similar — exposing the child to role models of both genders (and trans) that defy traditional stereotypes and encouraging the kid to be whom s/he wants to be. However, I do think that it is easier to dress a girl in hand-me-down boy's clothes than the opposite. Similarly, you are correct that it is easier for a girl to dress as Superman than a boy to dress as Wonder Woman.

    At the end of the day, I cry not because I have doubts that we will try our darndest to raise a great son who loves himself despite how he fits into society's expectations, but because the world still isn't fair. Shoot — I thought I had gotten over that by now! But I am realizing that the world not being fair meant one thing when it was just me and my husband and trying to address causes that impacted the general society, but now it means something entirely different because it is the society we are bringing this lovely new person into, and I want it to be perfect, and loving, and equal for him. Double shoot. Well, we will love him and others will love him, and we will hope for the best.

    Thank you for your blog post.

    • I am 19 weeks pregnant and had an instinct that we would have a boy. I knew I would want to raise my son knowing that its okay to wear pink or dresses or play with dolls, however my husbands family (although amazing wonderful kind ppl) are still quite old fashioned when it comes to gender roles.

      Their huge suprise at the idea that my husband could stay at home instead of me just goes to show how much they still believe in boys/girls things.

      I worried that I wouldnt be strong enough to allow my sons to be whatever they wanted to be when their extended family, (while I'm sure they wouldnt say anything aloud) would be embarrased by a boy acting/dressing "like a girl".

      We found out last week we are having a girl, so I guess I'm lucky that I wont have to deal with that yet. But I'm so glad that there are ppl like this poster already changing the world.

  36. My 7 year old daughter dressed as a boy for Halloween (complete with a fake mustache!) and no one batted an eye. So there ya go.

    Good for you for accepting your son for exactly who he is. If only more parents could do that, this world would be a much less screwed up place.

    You're an awesome mom. Bravo.

  37. I worked at a preschool for a few years. I was always so surprised when would ridicule their young boys for playing with "girl things". I had one father get extremely upset with his son and then proceeded to yell at me for letting him carry around a pink purse. Even the other teachers would tell the boys that they could not dress up in a girl out fit because boys can't be princesses. It made me so sad to see these boys being so discouraged for just playing dressup.

  38. That is a great picture and your son looks wonderful in his costume. It's sad that full grown adults would think its okay to act like that about something a simple and innocent as a child's Halloween costume.

  39. My younger brother used to wear my old skirts and crowns to dress up in when he was five. He loved it! He's an adult now and he's not gay (not that it would be a problem if he was). He is still more into clothes than I am but now that translates into ironing his jeans, shining his shoes a lot and wearing T-shirts with really cool art on them.

  40. My dad (now 70) told me of the time when he dressed as a girl for Halloween at age 14. He went to his Uncle's house and no one recognized him!!

  41. I vaguely remember reading something that it's only in this century that gender-specific colors became prominent. And even then, pink used to be for boys – a more manly color because it was related to red. And blue was considered more airy and feminine. Somehow it flip-flopped. If you think back a few centuries ago, men used to wear all sorts of jewelry, wigs, and colorful outfits, or at least the kings and nobility did…

  42. Thank you so much for this–I too have a wonderful little boy who is as sweet and creative as the day is long. He is 5 and about a week ago he asked me if I would be happy if he married another boy (we had just gone to a HETROSEXUAL wedding and were talking about weddings and things in general). I told him I would be happy if he ever found someone to love who loved him back and that any person he married, boy or girl, "better be very nice to him or Mama will be angry with them." He then got really quiet in that you can tell the kid is thinking way.

    I love my son with all my heart and I have raised him basically on my own (my husband died unexpectedly when my son was 3 weeks). I am pretty sure–even at this young age–that my baby is gay (Mothers CAN tell). Regardless, I will love him with my wholeheart. It makes me sick when I hear of parents shaming their children or casting them off.

    I've gotten some shit from other parents because I don't "correct" my son when he says he wants to marry a boy (for the record, I know some people have worried about the gay vs. trans. confusion. My son is pretty clear he is a boy he just "likes some stuff girls like.") or when he wants to go to dance classes. I say, "He's my kid; you're some random bigot."

  43. I think all this has been blown out of proportion. The kids 5 years old for goodness sakes. I'm a male, 49 years old. It was nothing for little kids to dress as a witch when I was a kid….. I do think that the costume is a bit too realistic though. Also to consider is this is about the age where 'parents and society' start 'programming' little Johnny that he can't play dolls with his friend Sarah anymore, nor can he hold Billy's hand anymore in Sunday school…. Of course, it's totally OKAY to play with male action figures with Billy and pretend to kill massive amounts of 'people.'

  44. I just want to tell you that I think you are a very courageous and loving Mother. I to had a situation with my Son when he was in grade school. They were having a 'Hero's' play at school and the kids were to pick a character to portray in this play. Where most of the other boys in class picked sports figures (what kind of hero are they?) my son picked Molly Brown, the herione who helped to save life's while the Titanic was sinking. The teacher had called me and told that he picked a female as his character and would I have a problem with that. What kind of problem would I have with my son picking a true heroine, I would have more problems with him picking a sports figure. So we went to the DAV and picked him out a nice dress and fur type jacket to wear. Needless to say when we got to the play there were several families who didn't understand how we could allow this to happen. My husband and I chose to ignore them. He was not teased at school for this since most of his friends were girls and they had no problem with his choice. Then 2 years later he entered Junior High School. The Bullying and death threats started. We complained to the School and the Principal did nothing to help solve the problem. When we got the death threat on our front door at home I made the decision that this is going to stop and I called the police. Since my son knew the boys that were bullying him we knew exactly who to send the police to. The boys and their Parents were talked to by the police and told that if it didn't stop we could press charges. Another thing we did at this time is we pressured the school into putting our son into the gifted program. It was a contained program where those kids did not have classes with the mainstreamed kids. Our son flourished beyond belief in this environment. All the kids and the teacher excepted him for the person that he was and helped protect him from any further harassment that he would receive. That just because he didn't like sports or the normal boy things that didn't bother any of them. My son did not tell us he was gay until he came out his Junior year of High School. My husband and I supported him and like you, I loved him more then anything else because he was my son. My son is 24 years old now and is a very open and happy Gay individual. I feel like the love and support we have shown him as a family, with open communication, and our willingness to allow him to grow up to be anybody he wanted to be has helped this. Him finding a circle of friends, even though they are mostly female, who except him has also help. I am appalled by the Mother who asked if you worried about the other kids teasing your son. Those kids learn that behavior from narrowed minded adults like her. The parents of the kids that do the bullying need to look at themselves and see what intolerance they are teaching. I commend as a Mother for allowing your Son to be who he wants to be no matter what other narrow minded people say. Please keep the communication open between you and your son and just show him your love and acceptance for him. Stand up for him while he is to young to stand up for himself. Help him find ways to be with the good people that are out there that don't think bullying is a normal lifestyle. Good luck to you and your family and stay strong.

  45. Great story! I would totally let my son dress up as a girl if that's what he wanted. It's about promoting acceptance! And of course the kids were fine, it's always the parents! That's where these kids learn it!

  46. RIGHT. ON. Your Boo DOES rock the eff out of that outfit and a big bravo to you for letting him do what he wants. It's so sad though, that it has to be a Big Deal in this world. I hope one day every little boy and girl can dress up as whatever gender they identify with that year. Maybe next year your Boo will want to be a fireman, but who cares? Shame on those women for judging such a sweet little boy.

  47. M'am. You are a victim of geography. I live in Montreal, Canada. We don't live with the kind of crap you and you family are living. I watched the CNN feed of your discussion this morning and I was just sad to think that we live next door to a country as amazing as the USA is and still watch a daily dose of mindless, heartless drivel as it spills North to the land of sensibility. I have two sons and a daughter. My eldest, who is now an extremely boy-ish 8 year old, insisted on dressing up as a princess during his older sister's Princess birthday party. He was between 3 and 4 at the time. Counting him, there were about 10 Princesses at the party as well as all the mothers and maybe a dad or two. Not one older girl poked fun at him, and every parent thought he was adorable, gorgeous, sweet and funny. Not one adult thought it inappropriate and it never even occurred to us that it might be a sign that he could be gay. Not that there's anything wrong with that! He wanted to dress up and have fun. He was and remains a child! Call it a coincidence, but last night I watched a documentary about the origin of the Intelligent Design "Controversy" in your country…and, yep, KC is the epicentre. I am now beginning to think that KC is the epicentre of idiocy in the USA. If I lived in that state I would hang my head in shame. Your children deserve better people. Grow up, y'all!

      • i agree lawrence location def does play a part!
        "'The OP is from Canada. People who make blanket judgements live everywhere."
        uh the bible belt is not in canada. & yes of course they do.. but often more so in the bb than other places – ie. montreal. i mean would you rather go out in drag in NYC or misissipi?

      • Um, not to argue but according to the blog that clicking on her name links to, the OP lives in "Live in the Midwest by way of Colorado by way of Columbia, MO by way of Southern California by way of St. Louis" sounds awfully like the US to me.

        There are more liberal parts of every country- Montreal is one of the most liberal cities in Canada- the reaction there would be very dfferent than say rural Saskachetwan. While I am proud to be Canadian, our country is far from perfect too (but we do have a kick*ss healthcare system)

  48. LOVE this post!! I also have such a hard time with small minded people. My husband is a stay at home dad and we get it all the time!! So I'm sorry for your Halloween experience. But AMEN! And thank you for making a point to not just nod and smile, but to open your mouth and let them know their comments aren't OK. ๐Ÿ™‚ LOVE IT! We all need to be a bit more outspoken when people speak out of turn- ESPECIALLY when its harmful to our kids.

  49. I think he looks great, and I happen to know first hand that this boy has fantastic taste in women. Let him be a child

  50. Good for you! This is what being a mom is all about; supporting our kids no matter what! If all moms were as supportive and loving as you the world would be such a peaceful place to live.

  51. Please don't hate me for saying this- but I think a better heading would be "my son might be gay". Kids experiment with different identities, and experimenting with different gender identities/sexual orientations is part of that. He's got many years of exploring before he decides how he wants to identify himself in his adult life.

    • I agree. I know, I know – the next few sentences clarify. However, that *first* sentence stands alone and stands out. Adding 'might' makes the same point and grans the same eyeballs without being so decisive.

      That said, I love this post otherwise! And I am so disgusted by the moms who felt that your son's costume was any of their business.

  52. I love this – even though I don't celebrate Halloween, I love that you've used the event to show that ou can be who ever you want to be. Also, I don't know if it's been pointed out to you but when the Daily Mail (a UK right of centre newspaper)covered the story with their usual "OMG look at this bad mum" outlook, THEIR readers commented on the story saying how positive your outlook for you son is.

  53. Yay for Sarah, your common sense, clever responses can show others that acceptance is a beautiful thing! ๐Ÿ™‚

  54. So, this is a fantastic post, and I enjoyed reading it. I can even identify. When my son was 4, he wanted to dress up as Periwinkle from Blues Clues. Periwinkle is even a boy cat, but people didn't recognize him, I guess (to be fair, I made the costume, and my poor skills may be at least partially to blame, but how many purple cats are there??). He got a lot of comments based on the commenter assuming he was a girl like "Oh, isn't she cute?" It grated. Because it was a cat, and purple, people assumed he was a girl. Totally didn't phase him, though. I don't think he realized they were talking about him, or when they were addressed directly to him, I think he just mentally discarded the parts that didn't make sense to him. He had a blast.

    I do have to wonder, though, how the OP and all of these amazingly supportive commenters would feel if this wasn't a Halloween thing, but an every day thing. Is it as kosher for your boy to go to school on regular days dressed in girl's clothes? Every day? This is an issue I have dealt with from day one. When he was a toddler, I didn't let him wear girls' clothes, because I was afraid for him, and I thought he was too young to understand the possible consequences. I thought when he got older, and had the ability to think ahead, and experience with other people and the kind of cruelty they can produce, then he could decide for himself what he was able to put up with. For a while, I regretted that decision, because I feared I had killed a part of him, because for a long time, he was very rigid about "This is what boys wear, and this is what girls wear!" But just recently, we have made a few forays into the girls' section for some socks, slippers and pajamas. And this is with him fully aware of general opinion and the way they can be. I think, maybe he'll be ok. He's a pretty self-directed, strong-willed individual, and I'm glad for that.

  55. LOVE this post!!!! u are an awesome mom, i can tell. and that is the kind of mom i strive to be. I want my kids to know that i will love them no matter what and always have their back. it did sadden me that ur 5 yr old was aware of how ppl would be…and it wasnt even the kids!!! how dare adults think they have the right….bcuz ur correct in saying that if a little girl wanted to be batman or spiderman, no one would say boo. sounds to me like u are raising, a strong, brave lil boy who will grow into a wonderful man!

  56. Thank you for writing this, and thank you for being an awesome, open-minded, supportive mom. You rock my socks something fierce!

  57. I love this blog and thank you so much for writing it. It angers me to no end the way the mothers reacted. If I were in your shoes, it would've taken all I have not to slap them or lash out. Good for you!

  58. What a cutie!
    Great for you and him. You are doing what every other parent should. Your son wanted to be a character he loves for Halloween. And you supported him.

  59. I read this story and it gave me the "you go girl" shivers. You know the shivers that radiate through your body when you hear truth. I experience similar things with my son, who is only 2.5 yo. Whats worse… I get it from family. I first heard it from my husbands grandmother when she first saw that we did not circumcise him. She said to me "what will his wife think? He's going to have problems…" Hopefully his wife will think that his penis is great (weird thought) and I went on to explain to her that not circumcising is becoming more normal. My oldest child is a girl who is about 2 years older than my son. They adore each other and do everything together. He plays with dolls, dresses up in heels, paints his nails and loves it. My dad is the one who questions it all the time. When he saw that my son got his finger and toenails painted he couldn't believe it. "But he's a boy!". Yes, with great nails! I try my best to brush off the comments but I've noticed they are getting worse. If we go over for dinner and the kids want to play with dolls, my dad will say "that's for girls. lets play with something for boys". It's almost like he's brainwashing my son and I hate it. When my third child, a girl, was born he said "good, he's boy enough to be the only boy" First, who said we weren't done having kids. Secondly,what is that even suppose to mean.

    My husband and I love our children and will always love them; No matter who they are attracted to and who they choose to love.

    My son reminds me of Eddie Izzard. "I want to jump, run, climb trees. I just want to look fabulous doing it"!

  60. This is AWESOME and you are AWESOME! My nephew when he was five wanted to be snow white, so he was and we took pictures and told him he looked great. We had some family that freaked out that his dad (my brother) would flip out, um no, my brother said he could care less as long as his son was happy and healthy (of course, no one says anything directly in front of my brother because if you put down his kids in any way, he will put you in your place). His son is now 12 and your typical boy, loves video games and Legos and wanted to be a pirate this last Halloween. Why does it matter what kids want to be? As long as they are happy and healthy, shouldn't you be happy? And I don't understand why people worry/talk/whatever about kids sexual orientation, I mean, they are kids, they probably aren't really thinking about it, so why are people? Are they pervs? Your son is lucky to have a role model like you.

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