C.J.’s Brother Comes Out

photo 2C.J.’s Brother is 10 and he has come out. He is straight.

Months ago we had a family date night. The four of us went out for Chinese food and, then, I needed to walk next door to the grocery store to buy toilet paper. Fun date night, right?

I wasn’t familiar with that particular store and I couldn’t find the toilet paper. I was walking around looking for a needle in the haystack with C.J.’s Brother’s help while C.J. and his Dad were whispering and conspiring about convincing me to buy something great for dessert while we were there. C.J. wanted cupcakes. C.J. always wants cupcakes. My argument that a fortune cookie is dessert wasn’t going to hold up, I could tell.

“Mom, why don’t you just buy these lady toilet papers and let’s go,” C.J.’s Brother yelled at me. He was standing next to an enormous display of on-sale tampons. He was holding a mega box with a tampon for every flow over his head; like a champion racecar driver holding up a gold cup.

“No, baby, I need to find the toilet paper,” I said, trying to ignore the scene.

“Mooooooommmmmmm, just buy this lady toilet paper. We want to go,” C.J.’s Brother said louder, with a hint of nagging. Tampons still hoisted high.

photo 1
A woman nearby was stifling laughter. By this time, C.J.’s Dad saw what was happening. He quickly went over to C.J.’s Brother, took the box of tampons out of his hands, sat it back on the display, smiled at the lady witness, put his arm around our oldest son and distracted him. I found the toilet paper.

“I don’t see why you wouldn’t just buy that lady toilet paper that I found for you,” C.J.’s Brother said. His feelings were a little hurt.

“Because, baby, that isn’t exactly lady toilet paper and, besides, we all need toilet paper,” I said.

“Well, then what are those things anyway?  I see them in your bathroom.”

I looked at my husband and he looked at me. I explained what tampons are and what they are for as we paid for our toilet paper and cupcakes and walked back to the car.

C.J.’s Brother cried all the way home. He cried for all the ladies who have ever had their period and for all of the girls he knows who will get their period one day. He ran down the list.

“Do you get a period?”


“Did Nana?”

“Yeah, when she was younger.”

“What about Saige?”

“Not yet, but one day she will.”

“This is just so horrible.  I feel so sad for all of you girls,” he said through his tears.

photo 4
He slept on the news and woke up with more questions. Kids at school had been talking and he had had some puberty and sex-type questions in the past. We had the big, super-detailed sex talk with him.

As we ended our discussion he looked at his dad and me.

“I’m sorry, but I just don’t know how I’ll ever look at you two the same again.” With that, he walked out of our room and I went to Game Stop to buy him the video game he had been coveting. I felt like he deserved a gift for having his world rocked. And, I wanted him to have something to get his mind off of his dad and me having sex.

A few days later C.J.’s Brother was in my bedroom talking to me as I got ready for the day when he mentioned that one of his buddies and a girl from their class were dating. I asked if he was attracted to anyone at school. When I talk to my kids about their current or future attractions, I never assume that they are gay or straight.

“Mom, I’m straight. It’s time you faced the facts,” he said.

“What?” I was shocked by his directness.

“I know what you’re doing. You always leave it open, like I could be gay. But, I’m not,” he said.

I walked over to the bed where he was.

“Okay, but you know that if you were gay or are gay that is totally cool, too, right?” I said.

“Yes, of course, but I’m not.”

“Okay, but if your feelings change….”

“MOM! I’m straight!” he said with firmness, a smile and a shake of his head.

photo 3
I called my brother.

“C.J.’s Brother came out. He says he’s straight,” I told Uncle Uncle.

“What do you mean ‘he says he’s straight’?” Uncle Uncle said.

“Well, things could change….” I said.

“Babe, he just came out to you.  He told you that he is straight.  You have to listen to him and work from that for now and acknowledge it and believe it. That’s it. He’s straight. You have to honor that – just like you would if C.J. told you that he was gay. Both of your kids know that you love them and support them and accept them whether they are gay or straight. But, when they tell you like that you have to believe them.”

My brother was right. I want my kids to know that their sexuality would never change the way I feel about them. They can be anywhere on the spectrum of sexuality and still have my unconditional love, acceptance and support. But, when they stake a claim on the spectrum like C.J.’s Brother did, they have to know that I hear them and believe them.

So, my oldest son is going into the fifth grade at the school for gifted students. He has his sights set on becoming a doctor (although, probably not a gynecologist, given how menstruation brings him to tears). He starts a new season of flag football next month. And, he is straight. I am the proud mother of a straight son.

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  • Dakotahgeo

    This story is… ADORABLE! Best wishes to all the straight and gay kids and people in the world who don’t assume that one lifestyle is any better than the other. Hooray!!!

  • Jake357

    I won’t get into the whole nobody believes this argument. But I will point out that it’s odd this writer keeps referring to this other child as “C.J.’S Brother”. It’s like he has no other identity. Not even a pseudonym. “This is my child, C.J.–and his brother.”

  • DarkZephyr

    Oh my GOD I am tired of insulting, snarky, negative, hostile queens who make gay men look like unpleasant, bitter b*ches.

    I enjoyed this article, personally.

  • Kieran

    This may sound old fashioned, but at 10 years old shouldn’t this boy be focused on catching frogs and playing cowboys and indians rather than having to assure his Mom that he’s straight?

  • raymjm

    I thought this was so sweet…I liked it and I enjoy all of these stories.

  • Fitz

    Maybe for his 11th birthday C.J.’s brother will get a name.

  • hyhybt

    @Dakotahgeo: @DarkZephyr: Amen.

    @Jake357: Although there are other people in it, the ongoing story is (and especially began as) the story of CJ. To me, the way the other people are referenced makes sense. But to each his own.

  • WalterB

    Really, Queerty? All the negative comments just happened to vanish?

  • Polaro

    @Kieran: Seriously, kids are dealing with this stuff at 10. Being ignorant of what is really going on in their heads is part of the problem with being a good parent. And no one plays cowboys and Indians anymore. Sheesh.

  • openguy

    Children need to be seen and not heard

  • erikwm

    @Kieran: It did sound old fashioned. Most children are not still ignorant of sex and sexuality at age 10. People only pretend that they are to avoid uncomfortable conversations.

  • bigomega73

    @Jake357: So at first, Jake357 (also Dixie Rect) I thought that maybe you were just trying to make a point by posting, but now that you have made almost the same negative post on literally EVERY Raising My Rainbow entry, I’m really starting to wonder about the state of your mental health. Seriously. I’m not trying to be mean. You’re acting completely obsessive. Frighteningly so. If I were the author of Raising My Rainbow I’d be getting a restraining order. You should seriously stand back and take a long, hard look at your behavior and consider where this is leading for you because the way that it is going it looks like you should seek professional help.

  • mpwaite

    That was the cutest story, however, the Mom seems to be pushing for a gay son. Is she worried about her hair or her fashion sense??? Hmmmmmmmm

  • Dixie Rect


    Yup, especially when you don’t believe every single word this hack writes. Harry Potter is more real than this nonsense. This ‘woman’ is a fraud.

  • Dixie Rect


    Oy vey. Sit down amateur therapist. Sounds like your putting your own neurosis on me. I’m just fine, thank you for your concern. I read a blog and commented. If you want to believe this drivel, you can. I don’t. Move on.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    what a load

  • 1EqualityUSA

    Oh, Raising my rainbow didn’t censor my “what a load” this time. Have to say, this was a first for Queerty. What, is it a Mormon writer or something?

  • Jared MacBride

    Might be time for a call to child protective services.Assuming any of this nonsense is true, the woman is raising a train wreck.

  • kurt_t

    Yeah, I’m really not trying to piss on the glitter glue here, but a lot of this is sounding like the truth is getting stretched beyond the bounds of what I’m personally able to believe and relate to. A ten-year-old who thinks that tampons are lady toilet paper? OK, I can believe that. A ten-year-old who cries “all the way home” after learning about menstruation? I’ve known a lot of ten-year-olds in my life, and I can’t think of one who would have that kind of reaction.

    I feel the same way about this: “I’m sorry, but I just don’t know how I’ll ever look at you two the same again.” I can’t imagine a ten-year-old saying that. That sounds more like an adult’s understanding of what’s going on internally in the child’s mind. It’s sounds like what you were thinking he was thinking. It doesn’t sound like what he would have said.

    Now I know when you’re writing this kind of very personal first hand account, you have to do a certain amount of reconstructing dialog and reconstructing scenes, and you do need to do a certain amount of editing, and you’re never going to arrive at one hundred percent accuracy, but I think you need to be careful not to overstep the bounds of artistic license.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    Title of the next book, “C.P.S. Comes Out…To the House.”

  • kurt_t

    And if I may be allowed to append a qualification to my earlier comment, I think if C.J.’s brother really did say what we’re reading here, and react to menstruation with tearful empathy, then the author needs to tell us more about him, so we know why he’s behaving this way. If C.J.’s brother is one of these people who goes through life feeling so much more empathy than the average ten-year-old, then we need to know how he got that way. He can’t just suddenly turn into Paul Gaugin or St. Francis in Chapter 12 or wherever we are now.

    If you read Carol Burnett’s memoirs, she had all kinds of unusual experiences as a child that might seem– if they were presented in a different way– like tall tales. But if you read, for example, her anecdote about how she invented a Tarzan game with all sorts of elaborate rules and she played the Tarzan game in a vacant lot on Hollywood Boulevard with her friends, you say “Oh, OK, outlandish as this story sounds, I know enough about this child and her friends that I can believe that.”

  • Cam


    But….Vaginas are weird! ;)

  • hyhybt

    @Jared MacBride: Why?

    @Cam: At the risk of agreeing with you: yup.

  • Dixie Rect

    @Jared MacBride: Exactly Jared! Tell it!

  • HirsuteOne

    The worry about the name “CJ’s Brother” is much ado about nothing. If you are familiar with her blog and book, all the principals have similar character names: CJ, CJ’s Mom, CJ’s Dad, CJ’s Brother, UncleUncle, Nana Grabags, etc.

  • HirsuteOne

    The blog is about raising “CJ” her gender nonconforming child so it makes perfect sense that the principal’s names were created to focus on CJ as the central focus and to be anonymous.

  • Rusty

    Yes kurt_t scenes are hard to redo and then again you have to be careful about over stepping artistic license. You are not pissing the glitter glue, as the glitter glue and feather boas and the nails should come off when reality hits. I am m to f and I have raised four boys. I did not talk to them about sex and menstruation at 10 because I don’t have one and there wasn’t any woman toilet paper in my restroom what I did talk about to my older boys when they were ten was about pedophiles and just because a man is girly does not mean he’s a pedophile. The subject was raised about a teacher that boys thought was a girly man. We talked about sex around 12/13 my two older boys are the same age born in 1964 my younger ones are from l969 and 1999. Although they are all married with kids, I don’t know if they are in fact straight or bi-sexual as the subject has never been brought up. I know one of the boys from 1964 had a twinge with another boy at 15 for about three months, but left him and moved on to girls. The boy came over to tell me about it MAYBE thinking he would shock me and I’d throw my son out of the house: that was the norm in those days. The parents would yell and scream, the mother would cry, the father would yell, “No son of mine is going to be queer” and throw him out of the house. My son went and caused a scene at the boy’s house and they did throw him out. I would’ve taken the boy in but it is against the law to house a minor/runaway. I called CPS and the police about the boy getting thrown out and no one did anything about it. I went to his mother when his father wasn’t home and begged her for them to sign him over to me so I could keep the boy in school. She said she’d talk to her husband. He said no. In 1979 there were no organizations housing gay boys in my city and so the boy was left in the street and I don’t know where he went. My boy was upset about me trying to help him but in the end he understood after all I had taken him in when nobody cared. My boy born in 1969 was always watched over by those born in 1964. My youngest son is not gay or effeminate yet he was abused in school and I think she needs to talk about that. Twice they caught him on the way home from band practice in the evening and sent him home in his underwear. They took his phone and mp3 player with his clothes. He was beat up a couple of times and each time they took his phone and his belongings. After that I always dropped him off and picked him up. The police and the schools did nothing and I had to pull him out of high school at 16. I had to go to court four times to make myself be heard that he was not going back to school. He’s 18 now and trying to get his GED and work at the same time while holding up his end. His girlfriend and their two kids live with me. I hope she talks about abuse and rejection and everything that goes with it.

  • hyhybt

    @Rusty: Interesting story. I was thrown a bit by someone born in 1969 having an mp3 player in high school, but now see the difference.

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