My Princess Boy

Five-year-old Dyson Kilodavis is a little boy who loves sparkly things: princess gowns, hot pink socks, glittery jewelry. Deal with it.

Richard Metzger over at Dangerous Minds points to a lovely children's book by Dyson's mom, titled My Princess Boy, and shares a surprisingly non-exploitative television interview with the boy's mom, dad, and older brother.

Richard says:

This child, I think it's clear, is going to be who and what he'll be. But unlike many kids like him, he's not going to grow up thinking there is anything wrong with who he is. This kid is FABULOUS and nothing less! With all of the gay bullying, suicides and the general anti-gay bigotry going on in rightwing circles, Cheryl, Dean and their older song Dkobe, deserve admiration and gratitude from the rest of us, for being such an amazing, wise examples for other people in their situation, with their loving parenting of their "Princess Boy."

You have to watch the video. Have some kleenex handy. I sure cried. It's right here: My Princess Boy: Meet the most awesome family in America
(Dangerous Minds, thanks Tara McGinley)

Amazon Link for the book.


  1. one of my son’s preschool classmates regularly has on the sparkley tu-tu from the dress-up box. No one even blinks an eye. I like my son’s preschool….

  2. This is bad parenting, isn’t it?

    I thought the right thing to do would be to push your personal moral and religious views on your children, rather than let them enjoy the things they find most naturally appealing?

    1. This is bad parenting, isn’t it?
      I thought the right thing to do would be to push your personal moral and religious views on your children, rather than let them enjoy the things they find most naturally appealing?

      Cute. You know, even nice, progressive, BoingBoing-reading parents — heck, all parents — push their own moral and religious views on their children. And this isn’t a bad thing.

  3. I find it pretty appalling that the assumption is that this kid is or will be gay, just because he enjoying the color pink and dressing up like cinderella. As awesome as his parents are for for accepting his behavior, they are still making assumptions about his identity. He’s five years old for crying out loud. There is nothing sexual about this behavior. Until he says he wants to kiss another boy, it is wrong to assume he is/will be gay.

    1. I kind of agree. The kid is 5, not gay. Princesses have all sorts of awesome stuff going on, and being some sort of well-loved royal might appeal more to his sensibilities than…I dunno…being some doof with a hardhat?

      Whatever. Kings wore velvet cloaks and bejeweled crowns and sparkling rings and, hell, pimps still dress like that. Liking the soft and sparkly doesn’t mean gay. It doesn’t mean not-a-boy.

      It is a little unusual, but, hell, most parents should be preparing their kids for confronting the ignorant fuckwits they’ll be dealing with all their lives.

    2. I wondered at the dresses=gay thing too.

      I don’t have time to watch the video right now, so I’m not sure if it’s only Metzger saying this or if it’s something the parents say too. Maybe there are other indicators, that aren’t related to dress-wearing, that we are unaware of.. Though I’m not sure what those would be before the kid has had the chance to fancy another kid.

      I think I was at least 8 before I dreamed about kissing a girl (never got to kiss her though).

      1. It’s more of a Metzger thing. The parents are mostly with the mantra “Whatever makes the kid happy.” The talk show compares it mostly to tomboys — girls who like to do “boy stuff”, and who don’t all turn out to be raging lesbians later in life. The Dad even gave the idea that it could just be a phase (and if it’s not, he’s cool with that, too).

  4. They “came to accept and embrace their son and his budding, authentic self” ? 5 year olds don’t have “authentic selves”, parents are there to help form a personality. Instead, by making it a “thing” the parents have now guaranteed cross dressing will be a permanent part of his personality by virtue of all the attention given it instead of, potentially, a phase.

      1. He has a point – the choice needs to be made about whether or not it’s in the best interest of the child to have his way. From a principled standpoint, yes he should, from a practical one, perhaps not. Lots of kids like to run around talking about their penises and buttholes, and there’s nothing wrong with penises and buttholes, and yet it is preferable to quell that kind of behavior purely in response to societies stance on such things, and in the interest of guiding the child to a less detrimental behavior set.

        Flip it around – if the parents were forcing the child to dress like that… would that be child abuse?

      2. What a carefully crafted and insightful rebuttal. I find your ideas fascinating, and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

      3. SciFiJazznik, if you would like to refute Forkboy’s assertion, please do it in a non-abusive manner.

        Speaking of which, Forkboy, pretty much everyone I know who’s spent a lot of time with lots of kids says that even at a very young age they have distinct personalities and preferences.

        1. I guess it depends on what you call “personality.” I’d say young children are like a diamond in the rough with traits still finding their final form and the parents role is to guide them to be what they can be. They are certainly a unique person but I believe forming a personality is an ongoing process which finally takes a more permanent form around adolescence. Based on these opinions I think “celebrating” what’s basically normal behavior by over-emphasizing it is potentially as harmful for the developing personality as violently repressing it is. If the little bugger turns out to be gay, transgender or just a cross-dresser all the more power to him (and his obviously open minded loving parents) but leave that until the time he actually has a real understanding of himself and gender in society. Until then maybe the cigar is just a cigar.

          1. leave that until the time he actually has a real understanding of himself and gender in society.

            Barn door; cow gone.

        2. I’ll stick with my original sentiment on Forkboy. Your second sentence pretty well covered everything that needs to be said.

    1. There is so much fail in this thread (hormones at 7, parents forcing kids to change their name, “if gender variant behaviour isn’t punished it turns into a life long thing”, etc.

      Kids go through phases. Some kids go through a phase where they exhibit gender variant behaviours, in the vast majority of cases it passes by itself.

      If your kid’s actions are persistent and it turns out that they aren’t straight or cissexual, abusing them verbally or physically in an effort to force them to conform is a great way to harm your relationship with your child and probably instill some really awesome internalized phobias.

      And I’m sorry, those who preach “love and support, but not really” are wrong. Even if you love the heck out of your kid, if you send them negative messages about who they are – whether directly (“stop acting like a fag”) or indirectly (“those gay people are so sick… we can’t let them marry”) – and they pick that up, it’s going to mess them up.
      You’ll end up with a kid who does everything normal, at least on the surface. While underneath, a whole lot of trouble is brewing. If you want a kid who thinks it’s a better idea to kill themself than talk to you about something so troubling in their life that they feel they can’t continue living, go right ahead.

  5. My son is four and up until a week ago wanted to be an aircraft carrier for Halloween. But then he saw a girl’s cat costume with a tutu and decided that’s what he wanted to be.

    He’s always had this strange dichotomy of affinities– he’s very into what are considered typical boy things like tractors, trains, bugs and dirt. But he’s also very interested in princesses and some typical girlie things. Recently, he saw a an ad with Scarlet Johansson in one of his mom’s fashion magazines. He tore it out and asked her to frame it for him. At least he’s got good taste.

    Anyway, we were talking about his choice of Halloween costume the other day. I told him that some of his schoolmates might make fun of him for wearing a girl’s costume. I asked him how he would feel if that happened. To which he said, “It’s just a costume.” Sometimes there’s no arguing with 4-year-old wisdom.

    Kudos to Dyson’s family for letting him express himself and a bigger kudos to everyone being supportive. Personally, I think when kids want to express themselves in ways that don’t harm anyone, they should be allowed. I’d so much rather see a hundred Dysons on any given day than that one kid who lays on the ground and throws a tantrum while his parents sweet talk him/her.

  6. I’m all for it, but this kid is going to come up against droves of ignorant, hateful little shits. I hope his parents are properly preparing him for the inevitable instead of perpetuating the illusion that other people are going to treat him in a respectful and mature manner. Hopefully in a manner that doesn’t resemble “they’re all gonna laugh at you! they’re all gonna laugh at you!”.

  7. I agree though that what we should be talking about is what is “boy stuff” and what is “girl stuff” and the stereotypes that come from that. (My daughter has to like Barbie? My son has to like G.I. Joe?)

    Taking the discussion to the sexuality level in my mind, only further ingrains those stereotypes. In short, just because he likes pink dresses, does that mean he could be gay?

  8. When should we start the gender reassignment treatments?

    Xeni, you’re conflating acceptance and tolerance with promoting the notion that this is normal behavior. That’s what the author is trying to do. I am 100% certain that this kid will be bullied more because of the book and the cross dressing encouragement of his parents. Who is anybody to say that this isn’t just a phase, or if it is normal, why are we drawing attention to it?

    The only way to make this normal is if the bullies start seeing their parents cross-dress, and we know that ain’t going to happen in this country. I’m not trying to be disrespectful of these people, but it’s pure hubris to think that if more people start ignoring norms, norms will go away. It took millions of years for our brains to be programmed this way, so it’s not going to go away overnight.

    All the love and support for the kid should remain. The book, the talk shows, and all the fantasy thinking about human nature need to go. I know the publicity helps parents love their child if they behave differently than what they expected, but I think a more generalized approach to parenting of unconditional love (until their about 18) is what should be preached in this instance, not making special arrangements to have the boy dress up as a princess for the rest of his life.

    1. why are you taking the bullying as normal and expected and the child’s choice as abnormal? Why not try to make sure that bullying is dealt with appropriately (that is, made unacceptable) instead of making it seem unacceptable that a 5 year old can wear a tutu or whatever?

      I really don’t understand the framing that makes it seem like society or children are harmed by letting them do what they want, when what they want is to wear an item of clothing, while when children want to bully other children, that desire is acceptable?

      why is the desire to bully more natural or acceptable than the desire for tutus?

      1. “why are you taking the bullying as normal and expected and the child’s choice as abnormal?”

        Because bullying IS normal and the child’s choice IS abnormal. We would be wise to take “reality” into account in this discussion. Pretending a problem doesn’t exist and that a rare choice is commonplace isn’t the greatest way to approach any subject. Unless you’re a politician, i guess.

        “To those of you who believe that encouraging this behavior should be replaced with “properly preparing him for the inevitable,” baffle me. How could a child hearing this “advice” not interpret it as a denouncement of who they are and view their parents as intolerant of them?”

        This is what I mean. The parents should say,

        “Hey, we love you, we’ll always love you, and we’ll always support you, but you should be aware that other people may not. In fact, many of them will judge you for this, because they are not compassionate, tolerant people like we are in this family. It has nothing to do with you, it is their problem and their loss that they are unappetizing of people who are different from them. They will try to upset you or antagonize you and the best thing you can do is give them no reaction whatsoever. People who provoke others are trying to solicit a reaction, they are trying to bring you down to their level, and if you give them a reaction, then they win. If you don’t react to them, you win. The best way to affirm that they have no power over you is to demonstrate their powerlessness by not giving them what they want from you.”

        That’s quality advice for any child, pink dress or otherwise.

  9. Wonderful. I fondly remember my Mum getting me the book “William’s Doll” by Charlotte Zolotow when I was a pre-k and was being bullied for playing with dolls. You can ask my two kids if all that practice paid off :-)

    I’ve ordered the book and will happily share both books with my kids.

    Take that, culture-of-shame!

  10. just a quick note. sexual orientation (i.e. – being gay) is distinct from gender identity. the note above didn’t mention the terms “transgender” or “gender variant” so i’m worried it might lead some to believe that if you’re a guy and you dress in girls clothes, you MUST be a homosexual.

    as this child demonstrates (wonderfully), you can have an alternate gender presentation independent of sexual activity.

    also, dyson, you rock!

  11. I’m just happy to see that the parents are still raising him as a boy, as opposed to the idiots who see any kind of gender-crossing tendencies in their children as an excuse to rename them Julia and start hormone therapy because their special snowflake is 7 years old and _obviously_ transgendered.

    Who cares if boys want to play with dolls? It doesn’t make them any less male.

  12. Hm. Count me among those who didn’t automatically link this with being gay. Couple of reasons:

    (1) He’s five. Kids do things for all kinds of reasons. And at that age, objects and behaviours are much less loaded with meaning. Pink is pink, and not a traditional colour representing homosexuality or breast cancer awareness.

    (2) There are plenty of adult straight male cross-dressers. Cross-dressing is not an exclusively gay behaviour, at all.

    That said, I think the underlying issue here isn’t so much homophobia as sexism (which, I think, feeds it). Tomboys are cute, but boys in skirts? Freak-out! That’s what I’m taking away from this: More acceptance for men and women to break free of social gender norms.

    @7: It might stick with him. Or he might bore with it and never pick it up again in his entire life.

    A different boy might never had any inkling he wanted to cross-dress, but end up one anyway as a man. Another boy who was discouraged all his life might end up a lifelong cross-dresser.

    My parents encouraged and discouraged all kinds of behaviour I had, and none of their actions reliably predicted which I adopted and avoided.

  13. PS. I wore a skirt at burningman last year all week and I wish I could get away with it IRL without drawing unwanted attention. It’s a trade off I lament, but people would misinterpret it as some sort of expression of who I am or as some sort of larger statement or conclude I was only doing it for attention. I’m all about self expression – which is exactly why I wouldn’t want to misrepresent myself.

    Sure, I shouldn’t care what other people think, but I would find being so conspicuous to be really annoying. For the same reason, I drive a really common white car with no bumper stickers, I only wear brown, black, and blue, I have no tattoos or piercings and I don’t style my hair. I prefer to be, as Mick put it, “a fart in the air conditioning”.

  14. Wow. This kid seems so sweet and he has awesome parents.

    In middle school — especially in 8th grade, when I really started wearing more masculine and less gender-neutral stuff (I’m a cisgender female) — I got a reputation as basically a psycho killer lesbian. All ’cause I wore board shorts and guy shirts. Now that I’m in highschool, it’s a lot better for me…
    But it’s the weirdest thing — up until I was 8 or 9, I was the girliest girl ever and until I was around 7, I would wear nothing but pink skirts and dresses and I wore my hair long, and down, and I was damn girly.

    My best hopes for Dyson if he sticks with princesses for the rest of his life, and my best hopes for him even if he doesn’t.

  15. This is perfectly normal behavior for kids this age and has no bearing on sexual orientation in the future. But now this kid’s been labeled “princess boy”. I’m not sure that’s all positive. How about no labels and just loving your kid until he starts needing deodorant and knowing who he wants to kiss and then continuing to love him?

  16. I have no reference to back this up, but during one of our clinical psychology training classes two years back on gender identity we were told that 70% of boys who display marked effeminate behaviour in childhood identify as heterosexual as adults. So I think the separation of sexual preference and gender identify is real, and no-one should be quick to label a child as gay or not until they’ve told you there are.

  17. Xeni, thanks so much for posting this. For the record, if you actually watch the video, there is no mention that anyone believes this child to be gay.

    Citing the connection with gender expression and homosexuality IS actually relevant, not because they are connected in a subjective way, but in an objective one. One’s own personal gender expression and sexuality are not necessarily connected, but others often conflate the two. The root of homophobia is not actually a fear of homosexuals, but an interpretation that the way an individual represents his or her gender is wrong or not fitting in the norm.

    To those of you who believe that encouraging this behavior should be replaced with “properly preparing him for the inevitable,” baffle me. How could a child hearing this “advice” not interpret it as a denouncement of who they are and view their parents as intolerant of them? Yes, bullying and torment from other children is likely if you are representing your gender in a way that most others do, but isn’t it obvious that encouraging your child to stand behind their actions, value who they are and believe in themselves is much better preparation for this than blatant scare-tactics that serve as a selfish expression of a parent’s own ignorance that would lead to depression and potentially even suicide in the future?

    There are a lot of people that have a tough time in life of because of their race, income, sexuality, gender, religion, intelligence, size, etc. It is far more useful to encourage self-worth and respect in ALL individuals than accept dangerous social trends as the rule.

    Why is this so hard for people to understand?

    Again, I direct you to an amazing organization that is helping more and more people do just that :

    1. thanks for this.

      it’s kinda breathtaking to watch the military’s rationale for Don’t Ask Don’t Tell crop up spontaneously in a boingboing thread, when nobody’s even mentioned Teh Ghey.

      as for everybody who’s so incredibly quick on the trigger that “nobody should assume this kid is gay just because he likes girly things,” –> i think (some of) your hearts are in the right place. but that shit goes both ways. which is to say nobody should assume his older brother’s straight, just because he dressed up as a ninja turtle for halloween.

      1. “This kid is FABULOUS and nothing less! With all of the gay bullying, suicides and the general anti-gay bigotry going on in rightwing circles, Cheryl, Dean and their older song Dkobe, deserve admiration and gratitude from the rest of us, for being such an amazing, wise examples for other people in their situation, with their loving parenting of their “Princess Boy.””

        Richard Metzger is the one who made the unfortunate association and brought up “Teh Ghey” (my bad for saying it was the parents) and even though it isn’t explicitly stated in the video, it is implied. So your comment is moot.

  18. All of this said, I’ve wanted a utilikilt for YEARS but haven’t bought one because of social expectation. I wish people would just let kids be kids. Sigh.

    1. I am kind of curious about wearing a utilikilt or Macabi, or even skirts in general. Not for any cross-dressing reason, but more of a “why not?” thing and because I imagine it’d be comfortable. But I live in the Midwest, and am not especially daring or attention-seeking.

      1. Oh my GOD skirts are so ridiculously comfortable. You won’t know what a prison your nethers have been in all your life til you give it a try.

  19. For a long time kids had unisex clothes. Also the colour pink was originally designated for boys and blue for girls and this was the case until at least WW1. Percentage of gay people i dare say remains the same. So i would not read too much into the boy’s preference of clothes.

    The parents are cool for not busting the kid’s balls but i don’t think that they should write a fkin book about it.

  20. If this were a 5-year-old girl acting like a tomboy, no one would give it a second thought; no one would assume that this implied anything whatsoever about her future sexual orientation; no one would worry that she might be bullied because of how she chose to dress or what toys she chose to play with; and no one would ever bother to write a book about it. It just goes to show you that, no matter how progressive we think we are, or how progressive we try to be, we can never quite get past the old double standards when it comes to the way we think about gender.

  21. This is a good example of perverted political correctness. I would like to know what happens in case the kid becomes a Rambo or nascar fan at age 6. Another book or detention until he goes back being fabulous?

    1. The parents will breathe a sigh of relief since they know their kid won’t have to deal with discrimination and hate in the future…
      The book was written because they saw what was in store for their kid and wanted to do what they can to make things better.

      But, yeah, it’s totally easier to believe that the liberal parents are going to punish their kid until they drag them to a place where their genitals will be mutilated or some other idiotic fantasy.

      1. I don’t know what a “liberal” is. My comment was about the circus aspect of the thing. Someone else expressed it better as a pageant. Good parents just do the best for their children without feeling the need to parade it.

  22. Girls who like boy things are called ‘Tomboys’ & often just expected to more or less grow out of it when puberty hits. Boys who like girl things are called ‘queer’ & ‘f****t’ & bullied mercilessly by their peers. I thought this was fsckd up bad when I was 5 or 6 way back in the late 60s. The fact that this is called newsworthy shows it hasn’t changed much. I’ve always liked the prettier things. Women generally have much nicer cloths, and many more clothing options, than men in our culture. All you guys up above me talking about your skirts, wear them! They are beautiful, comfortable, and when properly chosen quite attractive on a man. I have a closet full. I’d say the feedback runs about 99% positive from random strangers, both men & women. Most people intuitively get that I am not cross-dressing, I’m just wearing unusual clothing for a man. My mom was not allowed to wear pants until she was in college, I hope skirts will be accepted for men by the time my daughter is my age, or sooner!

  23. Maybe he’ll just grow up quick,
    Maybe he’ll grow up mean,
    perhaps his fists will get hard,
    or his my wits will get keen,
    Because, after all, this world is rough,
    And if a man’s gonna make it, he’s gotta be tough

  24. I think encouraging a boy to dress up like a princess if he wants to is fine. There’s a freedom to it that I didn’t have growing up, and it’s nice to see him getting the chance to explore.

    That said, some of this has a pageant-y feel to it. I’m glad that he has the freedom to be a princess boy, but before the book and interview came out, he also had a chance to not be “the” princess boy. Now, that choice has been made for him.

  25. My knee-jerk reaction is that it’s just play, and it says little about the future sexual identity of this kid.

    But truthfully, I was once a tomboy, dressing up in cowboy hats and always playing Adventure People. My first hint that I might not be exactly like my friends was when I cried with joy after getting my own tool box for my seventh birthday. I also got a Sabrina Barbie I loved because she had hair you could really curl.

    Anybody wanna hazard a guess as to where I fall on the Kinsey Scale?

  26. What bothered me a little about the video was how the grownups were talking about Dyson as if he wasn’t sitting right there.

    1. Exactly my point about the “pageant” aspect of this. They did try to include him in the interview, but he’s obviously not keen on that part of the experience. They’re doing all of this “for” Dyson, but as far as I can tell he doesn’t seem like he wants to be on TV. Playing in dresses and having fun is all him. The interview and the book are more about the idea of him, which can be inconvenient when there’s an actual child attached.

    2. I was going to post the same thing! 5-year-old kids may not be particularly eloquent, but they do know EXACTLY what’s being said around them.

      I wondered how Dyson felt when his mom said she was initially embarrassed about seeing him in a dress. And that the book itself says “it hurts us both” when others laugh at Dyson.

  27. I didn’t get the heartwarming feeling that some of the rest of the Boing-Boingers got. I think it is cool that the parents are permitting and perhaps even encouraging their son to dress in clothing deemed “for girls or women.”

    The response within the family’s community kind of bothers me for a couple of reasons:
    1) Many parents make decisions as to what their children are allowed to and not to wear for a myriad of reasons due to financial reasons, school dress codes, the expectations of a social event (such as weddings and religious services), or the parents ethical objections of the corporations selling the clothes (these clothes are made by abused children in third-world countries). It is a part of what growing up is.

    I am not saying that calling your kid a sissy or a homo is the way to go by any stretch of the imagination, but some of the things they let that boy wear, I wouldn’t let a girl of the same age wear. I wouldn’t be particularly keen on letting my daughter wear a skirt while playing basketball, for example.

    2) The teacher asked the men at the school not to do a ballet performance that would be interpreted as humorous. Why? It was Halloween. Some costumes are intended to be funny others serious, and sometimes… they are interpreted in ways that are contrary to the wishes of the person wearing the costume. It is life. It is also a part of the fun of Halloween and childhood itself.

    I know that Boing Boing has celebrated the Star Wars Kid Video in the past. I have heard in the past that that kid was utterly gutted that he became a source of public ridicule and an internet legend because of his akward, yet graceful Jedi performance was posted on the net by a bunch of bullies. I would like to believe that the Star Wars Kid ultimately got, or ultimately will get the last laugh when the scores of people who saw his performance meet him in the future and have that story to break the ice with just about anyone with. It will probably get him jobs and friends.

    I think it is healthy to react to things that fall outside of our norms. It is the incredible people, hopefully little Dyson will be one of them, who have social grace and a healthy amount of humility who can impress people beyond their strange first impressions.

    I don’t worry about allowing it, but I do worry about taking it so seriously. Should I cower in anything but mock fear if a 6 year old wearing a toy police uniform points a cap gun at me? Or am I doing him a disservice for not indulging that he is an officer of the law.

    Little Dyson is a princess in his imagination, but he is ultimately a child in a dress. Indulging him beyond that is giving him a little too much attention.

  28. I agree with everyone who says it’s a phase. I grew up playing with dinosaurs and Hot Wheels cars. I had no chick friends and only ran with the boys. As I got older however, I embraced femininity. And while I still have more guy friends than girl friends, go to the shooting range on a regular basis and longboard like there’s no tomorrow, I’m out of the phase I was in until I was about 10. What you do/like as a child isn’t permanent and certainly doesn’t foretell what you’ll be like as an adult.

  29. Is this really a conversation about sexuality? I don’t think it is, really. It’s a conversation about gender. Gender and sexuality are not one and the same.

    Nor is this story particularly unusual…
    (short story narrated by the mother of a young boy who is expressing a strong desire to be a girl. Perhaps she does the child a service by keeping it a bit more anonymous? I can’t help but support the idea that putting HIM out there because of this was a woeful mis-step.)

  30. And reading the rest of the comments about bullying: sure, it’s our job as parents to best protect our children. But disallowing this behavior because “he’ll be bullied” is not how the world will see change.

    Parents like this – even if they do seem to be doing it in an media-whorish, oversharing, USA-way – are actually helping push something that millions of families are affected by more and more into the mainstream, a normal zone, where it belongs.

    People seem to forget that just because it’s not typical, doesn’t mean its not normal, or uncommon. it’s just outside your frame of reference or exposure.

    If more people stood up instead of just accepting that unusual people will be bullied, we’d have a much better world. It’s upsetting to see so many Boingers not only accept it, but suggest behavioral modification to avoid it. Not cool.

  31. We’ve been raised with certain expectations, so seeing stuff like a guy in a skirt, a purse on a guy’s shoulder, yeah it’s different, and it makes you look twice. But I aways step back and think of it this way: unless you’re actually having sex with the particiular clothing or object, what does it have to do with your sexual orientation?

  32. A recent study by the Family Acceptance Project (published in the journal Pediatrics) documented the poor health and mental health outcomes of GLBT kids who were rejected by their families. Conversely, GLBT kids with strong family support fared as well as straight, gender-normative kids in objective measures of health and mental health. Parental support is key for kids who are different, when there is so much discrimination against them in the world.

    My son, like Dyson, was a princess boy in preschool. When he was two years old he started asking for pink clothes and shoes, and only wanted to dress up as a princess, while the other boys dressed up as firefighters and policemen and dinosaurs. He only wanted to play with girls. My husband and I could not fathom where these behaviors came from–we did not model them, the boys at preschool did not model them, nothing in our society modeled them, and yet here was our son, the princess.

    We have worked hard to educate ourselves and our community about gender, and to send a clear message to our son that we love, accept, and support him exactly as he is. The recent spate of teens who were bullied into suicide shows us that we have a long way to go, as a society, to support gay and gender-nonconforming young people.

    I’ve posted resources for parents of gender nonconforming kids on my website, (where I blog about raising my son). If your son is like Dyson, get support for yourselves and your son. It can make all the difference.

  33. Times change.

    I remember my dad getting very upset when he saw an interracial couple in the sixties. He silently got red-faced, white-lipped angry, and I just couldn’t understand it!

    Dad was the least racist white guy in town at that time, a man who insisted his children treat black people with respect – he made me call black men “sir” in a place and time where most whites called blacks of any age “boy”. I never saw him treat anyone any different for their color; he judged every man by his deeds alone, and he didn’t pass judgment on women at all.

    So I asked him why he was so upset, and he said, “Don’t they understand what their children will go through! How can they do that to their own children?”. His voice shook with the raw strength of his emotion, the pain he felt for those unborn kids.

    You should see the old man playing with his mixed-race grand-daughter these days. He can’t really walk much any more, and soon she’ll be a teenager and grand-dad won’t be “cool” any more, but right now they are inseparable buddies. It’s a beautiful thing.

    Times change. Because we make them change.

  34. Dyson you’re an amazing little boy, I commend your parents and sibling for the love and support that they have for you. I wish you all the best that life has to offer and remember always keep that love for yourself (LIVE YOUR LIFE AND BE HAPPY!!!!!). They say the greatest gift of all is children, and you are the greatest gift to let people know that it is ok to love yourself-just as you are. Cheryl and Dean you guys or AWESOME!!!! And a great example of what we as human beings should have and that’s UNCONDITIONAL LOVE….peace, love and blessing

  35. When i saw this it brought up several emotions, i am a 14 year old who left school due to bullying which found its roots in my behavior.
    I as a person believe that all this be a man and girls stuff is girls stuff needs to be refined, its like dug up jems you find them and they are not perfected, so you polish them and carve them to perfection.
    This is something that obviously hasn’t been done with alot of male expectations.

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