Raising My Rainbow

And Now A Message From C.J.’s Dad, The Ex-Bully

Raising My Rainbow is written by the mother of a slightly effeminate, possibly gay, totally fabulous son. She’s chronicling their journey on Queerty right here. Read up on RMR‘s cast of characters.

C.J. and his Dad on the first day of school.

People often ask me how C.J.’s Dad feels about raising a slightly effeminate, possibly gay, totally fabulous son. Here’s the answer in his own words. Muah, C.J.’s Mom

As I walked through the door after a long day at work dealing with the worst society has to offer, I stood at the threshold of my home and stared at C.J. Then I snapped a glance at my wife. A “what the hell” glance. She gave me the “settle down” glance that only she is allowed to give me. I watched my son as he sat cross-legged on the floor trying his best to put clothes on a naked Barbie. That was my introduction to C.J.’s newfound friends and the toys that would cause many late night discussions between me and my wife.

The first time I saw him playing with a doll it definitely brought some uncomfortable feelings to the surface. I had to determine how I was going to handle the situation and I have learned — with age and fatherhood — that my first reaction isn’t always the best one to show to my children. Instead of making the smart ass comment that immediately came to mind, I sat with C.J. on the floor.

“What do ya’ got there buddy?” I said.

The look he gave me as he held up Barbie for me to see was priceless and I will never forget it. His eyes lit up and a huge smile crossed his face. He was so excited as he described the doll to me and his brain was traveling so fast that his mouth couldn’t keep up. I couldn’t understand a word that he said, but I got the drift.

“This is the best toy ever, Dad. I have been waiting for something like this forever. Thank you, thank you, thank you.” Of course he said none of that, but, as his father, I knew what he meant.

Since that day my son has loved dolls, princesses and anything pink or purple. Although I will admit at times it has been frustrating, I would not change my son in any way. I know that if this continues he will be forced into uncomfortable situations and have to deal with bullies and taunts. It scares me but I also know that I will protect my son better than anyone else (not including my wife, she is a lioness). If I don’t protect my children who will? My job is not to fight their fights for them, but to protect them and give them weapons to defend themselves.

C.J. and his Dad getting their Summertime on in Laguna

I am well aware of the adversities and obstacles they will face from bullies — because I used to be one. I fear that punishment for my past sins is going to have to be endured by my son. As an adolescent, I was the captain of my high school’s baseball and football teams. A role I took on proudly as a leader in athletic ability and aggressive, dominating attitude. Unfortunately, these attributes don’t make you a great leader and I failed in many aspects. I can remember taunting and doing my best to dominate others on the field to show my superiority. I look back now and I am scared and embarrassed of how I would have treated a teammate like C.J. My goal now is to protect my sons from people like me.

As they get older this may become more difficult, but as my children grow and mature I will change and adapt to their interests. I’m not going to lie and say this has been easy for me. Isn’t it the goal of any father to give their children the carefree happy childhood they’ve only seen on TV? The toys C.J. plays with and the TV shows he likes to watch don’t define him. His character defines him and it is my job to mold and shape his character into a strong, courageous individual.

People have asked me if I treat C.J. differently than his brother. If they are friends, I always ask them if they think I do. They always say that I don’t. Truth is, if they said that I did, I would feel like a failure to my son. No, I don’t treat my children any differently. They are into different things, so I get excited about their differences and unique behaviors. I don’t play favorites and both of my boys know that. I play baseball and basketball with my 7-year-old and sit on the floor and fumble my fingers putting dresses on dolls with my 4-year-old.