Raising My Rainbow

C.J.’s Perfect Playdate With Another Princess-Loving Boy

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.

Two little boys at a park in South Orange County. One is five years old, the other four. Both, with Strawberry Shortcake in one hand, facing each other so that Ms. Shortcake can have a word with her clone. Both boys have a hand on the right hip, head cocked to the right, with total attitude. They are deep in play. I can’t tell what is transpiring between the two Strawberry Shortcakes, but I can tell that my son is in heaven, even though he is acting like a diva. I am pretty much inside the pearly gates too, because it is the first time ever that my son has played with little boy just like him.

I started this blog for three reasons, one of them being to connect with other primary caregivers who are raising a child like mine. John’s Mom found my blog and e-mailed me. And e-mailed me. And e-mailed me. I’m not exactly prompt in replying to e-mails; I get a lot of them. I’m so thankful that John’s Mom was persistent, because, she was right; our lives are so much the same.

John wants the “girl toy” with his Happy Meal at McDonald’s. He loves the Disney Princesses. He likes to slip into his Mary Janes after a long day at preschool. John walked up to us at the park hiding a stuffed animal kitty behind his back. He saw C.J.’s plush Rapunzel doll in full view and the Kitty quickly came out to play.

John is marvelous. He’s a bespectacled, long-lashed tender soul with a mop of long sandy brown hair. He wears the same shoes, but in different colors. He’s a magnet for wonder.

John’s Mom is equally as cool, bless her soul. She rocks worn cowboy boots and a cardigan with eclectic brooches that John plays with when he feels a little shy. She serves organic strawberries and is dead set, like me, on not changing her little boy, just loving him.

John and C.J. both have older brothers who are all boy and Dads who, though they may struggle from time to time, love them completely and now know every Disney Princess and her movie of origin. John and C.J. play Stawberry Shortcake and Rapunzel, nibble on Disney Princess fruit snacks and go on a discovery hike to look for roly-polys and lady bugs. They are oblivious to looks from other park goers. It’s a first for them, the first time that either boy has played with someone so much like himself.

“Can you believe that the Rapunzel dress at the Disney Store is $50?! I don’t even spend that much money on a dress for myself!” —John’s Mom

John’s Mom and I sit on a bench and talk. What are your feelings about your son wearing something girly outside of the house? What do you do when your son wants to have a Pinkalicious themed birthday party? Why is the Rapunzel dress at the Disney Store $50!?

We both struggle to protect our sons, while also trying to set them free. We have to get creative when it comes to birthday parties, judgmental friends and dressing our effeminate sons.

She has tips for me, because she is a year further along in the adventures in raising an effeminate, fabulous son. She also has warnings. C.J. may start to get embarrassed and withdrawn in the coming year because he may start to realize that he is different. Some of his innocence may fly away as the reality of life creeps in.

We lose track of time. Our two hours together felt like 10 minutes. We gather our things and our sons in a hurried panic. As they drove away, John says to his mom, “I can’t believe C.J. likes princesses! That is so great that he won’t even make fun of me!”

That’s right John. You’re safe with us.

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #gender #kids #parenting stories and more


  • Matthew

    I can’t help but smile when reading this. Words can’t express my emotions. I wish we could all maintain our innocence and live care free lives, doing the things we love to do. CJ and John have great moms who remind me much of my own mom. Loving. :)

  • Cam

    Ugh, the part at the end where her son is excited because he wasn’t made fun of. Poor thing.

    It’s a great story and I really feel for the balancing act the mothers do. Great job ladies!

  • Brian aka Heartbroken but Inspired...

    Everytime I read your blog, I cry. Not just think about crying, but full-on bawl. Not in a bad way, but in a really really good way. I AM your son, I wanted nothing more when I was a kid than to decorate in purple, play with dolls, play house, and just BE MYSELF. I am so touched by how hard you and your husband and friends are trying to make this young boy feel so completely normal. I struggled for years with a number of issues due to my family’s contant repression of my true identity. I really hope that you can break this cycle and also inspire other moms out there to do the same. I want to simply thank you for being soooo brave and for you to know that you are changing some adult lives as well as young ones in the process. Understanding how hard it is to face for a mother that WANTS to deal with her sons differences, let alone one that doesn’t have the support of her spouse or any resources, helps me understand where my family’s choices may have come from. Thank you.

  • PopSnap

    Am I the only gay who played with guy toys? I feel like I missed out on a gay childhood or something :/

  • Q

    @PopSnap: i played with “boy toys” like action figures, but I had the female GI Joes, X-Men, He-Man, etc ones. I had male ones too, but I liked to play with the female characters.

    I also had dolls, but I ONLY had Ken Dolls, and my BFF down the street (a girl) had Barbies and we played together.

    This blog is very sweet and though I am very thankful for my family, I kind of wish mine was just a little more like CJ’s when i was growing up.

  • zeb

    Popsnap: nothing against liking pink & princesses but i liked guy toys too. Best of all we had like all these soldiers with a plastic jeep and they would get to go on pretend dates together, plus lots of camping out together in a tent I made for them!!. All my stuffed toys had guys names too. Alex and Sam were pretty much a couple HA!

    Mom or Dad never said a word about it but it didnt bother them. I was very shy but had a big imagination and they were glad I never got into any trouble,

  • Ronnie R

    You know, call me traditional, but I don’t think it’s a good idea for boys to play with “girl toys.” Why can’t gay boys be interested in masculine things?

    Unfortunately, the real world is harsh and what will this boy do when he goes to elementary school? How do you think kids in Orange County will react to a boy who likes Disney princesses, doing women’s hair, makeup, purple toe rings, and Strawberry Shortcake? He will be bullied at worst, and ostracized from almost all other boys at best.

    Also, I take issue with this whole “be my children’s best friend” form of parenting. Parents should be strict, and set strict rules for their children to follow. Asian parents are really good in this regard. Have you read the article in the WSJ, “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior”? That’s how good parents should be.


  • zeb

    Ronnie R: get some help. You should stop reading gay blogs because this will put gay ideas into your head and you will soon think only gay thoughts and have oy gay feelings. you will desire only gay sex. we don’t want you to be gay because you have an ugly mind and you never saw the inside of a gym. what will your wife think when she realizes you prefer gay blogs?

  • GetBalance

    This is an interesting polarity: protect the child’s rights that can bring harm, and protect him from harm. Seems the best way might be play it out at home but not in public. Tho every kid is different as to how they respond to negs. Some may be hard clad wayshowers that demand not to be ztiffled regardless of public opinion, and then there may be the ones who need to stand up for themselves. Then there are tbose that may find keeping it at home just fine as long as they are not railroaded. Just curious, are there str8 boys that like girl toys? I would think so.

  • Pitou

    Awww… Johns last line really made me tear up.
    Its sooo sad that a main concern of a 5 year old, a FIVE year old, is that a new kid at the playground just might be out to make fun of him. So sad.
    I dont recall life having been so miserble for me at five (kindergarten), but I assure you it was by second grade (7) the latest. Reading about things that kids go through at such young ages always brings me back to the hell that was my childhood/school years. Was literally a living hell from grade 2 to 11.
    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Thank you C.J.’s mom (and John’s too for that matter) for being the awesome woman (women) she (they) truely is (are). Gives me hope that all is not lost for the future.

  • Ronnie R

    @zeb: In response to what your remarks about me, I am a conservative gay man & a Republican. I have been to Ronald Reagan’s presidential library dozens of times. He is my favorite president.

    I do love Fox News. Sean Hannity’s evening show is my favorite. Although Megyn Kelly is attractive. Maybe I’m bi? lol

  • Ernest

    Children are born pure and innocent, alarmingly it’s the parents and our society that corrupts the children. A child is not born with a set mind of how things should be or whom or what to dislike or hate. If a child picks on another child because that child is different, it’s quite obvious that childs parent did a “spectacular” job raising their child! As parents we must be responsible adults and be careful of how we act or talk around children, because they look up to us. Teach your children equality and acceptance, it’s a much more attractive feature than that of an ignorant one.

  • justiceontherocks

    @Ronnie R: I don’t care if you’re bi or straight. I just hope you don’t have children.

  • john

    @Ronnie R:
    I get where you’re coming from, but I think you’re wrong. You ask why gay boys can’t like masculine things. Some do, but some don’t, why does it matter? As far as a parent “not being a child’s best friend”, I think there is a difference between raising your child to be disciplined and hardworking, and enforcing a personality on them. I read that article about Amy Chou about a month ago, there’s a difference between not accepting failure and not accepting your kid.

  • PopSnap

    @Ronnie R

    It’s a matter of accepting people as they truly are. Yes, there are some gay guys I know who could take on six fully-grown men and walk away without a scratch. There are also gays I know who were two seconds away from being chicks.
    There’s no need to label people. It’s stereotyping. Individuality is the greatest gift God gave us. Without it, we’d all be exactly the same.

  • Chris

    I’m always weirded out by this blog. I’m glad that there’s a mother out there who loves her son the way he is but the whole let him do whatever he wants type of raising rubs me the wrong way. It’s great that if he wants toys that are geared for girls and the parents are okay with that, but it feels like the mom kind of pushes these preferences and enforces a more effeminate personality deeper than the kid wants them to be.

  • Mike

    @Chris: I agree. This blog should be renamed from Raising My Rainbow to Parenting By Projecting.

  • Oli

    @Ronnie R: Its not traditional. Its just stupid to say that. Why can’t they? They can. Some are, some aren’t. It isn’t good or bad. Don’t be so silly.

  • McMike

    @Pitou: 2nd grade, age 7, for me too. Things were fine until my parents moved out to the beach and enrolled me into a new school.

    btw, it’s complete crap we have people coming in here saying CJ shouldn’t be playing with dolls and stuff. They’re most definitely the “GOProud” type of guys who think they’re the most masculine but, in reality, are the queerest of the bunch.

  • McMike

    @Ronnie R: Yeah, Ronnie, we know your type. You look up to people that want nothing more than to roast you in an oven. You love to go on and on about how ‘straight acting’ you are but, as I’ve just stated, you’re the biggest queens in the LGBT community. You know, who gives a damn about having equal rights as long as you can be fiscally conservative?

  • JT

    @Chris I agree!

    It does seem as though this mom wants her kid to be the gay best friend she never had and she pushes him to act femmey/girly or like she thinks most gay men are.

    I doubt that her son is Trans or even gay.

  • justiceontherocks

    @Chris: @Chris: You are both absolutely . . . . . . . . . 1000 per cent . . . . . . . .correct. This poor kid is a train wreck waiting to happen.


    @Chris: There’s no way to tell that your assumption is accurate -that the mother is pushing this “more than the child wants” — Based on my reading of the blog – if the boy wants a GI JOE – I would guess the mom would go out and get him a GI JOE. Perhaps the discomfort in watching a parent raise a son this way is more related to witnessing parenting that is outside the norm —

  • Shannon1981

    All I can say this time is I hope this lady reads these comments and takes some of what those of us who think this whole thing is a bad idea to heart and stop this nonsense.

  • Tom

    From the time I was old enough to want toys, I had play stoves and pots and pans and washing machines and aquariums, frogs, hamsters, books and a few dolls. Helen Keller would have known I am gay, but there was not anything anyone could do about it. I remember my father going to the toy store with me when I was 4 and buying the stoves for both my brother and me and discussing with the salesman whether we really needed stoves that plugged in and lit up. They are for his sons, for heaven’s sake. And I specified which set of plastic cookware I wanted because the one I wanted had a pressure cooker in it and I wanted one like mom’s. Is that a loving parent? Must that have been shocking? Yes. Later, the interests were discouraged, but they never stopped, just grew up. What’s it they say? The difference between men and boys is the size and price of their toys. Believe it. The Creator sent many wonderful people into my life who listened to my interests and helped me realize dreams in many ways.

  • Ian

    @PopSnap: I had mostly “boy” action figures but in my mind my Lynda Carter Wonder Woman action figure ruled the roost ;)

  • Ian

    @Shannon1981: “Nonsense”? You may think your a progressive member of the community but your type is actually a homophobic ***ch that wants to enforce gender stereotypes. I hope no child ever has to suffer you as a parent.

  • Tanner W.

    This almost made me cry. Just remembering.

  • Shannon1981

    @Ian: You misunderstand me. She needs to stop pushing her own agenda/fantasies on this kid, quit blogging it, let go of her ego, and just let CJ and her other kid be. Its nothing to do with the dolls or any of that. I just think she’s trying to turn her kid into the walking epitome of every gay stereotype imaginable before he is out of preschool. He and his brother are what they are. She doesn’t need to force him to be her idea of what a fabulous gay man is, and that is what this blog feels like. A woman feeding her ego at the expense of her kids.

    And don’t call me names. I’m gay, I identify genderqueer, and I am an activist. Homophobic? I don’t think so. Don’t say anything else to me until you apologize for calling me a bitch and especially for calling me homophobic.

  • Ian

    @Shannon1981: Often the most insufferable form of bigot is the one that attempts to hide behind supposed good works. I read your and some others comments and they come across as uncomfortable that this GREAT mom is choosing to allow her son to be raised in a non-gender conforming way. Well tough doodie on you.

    All I read in your comments was someone trying to enforce what THEY see as appropriate and that makes you a gender conformist, and worse you try to come across as an ‘expert’ because your some supposed ‘activist’. Why not keep your nose out of this mom’s and son’s life if you have nothing positive to say or contribute instead? Somehow I doubt you will though as your an ‘expert’ at telling others how to live. Shame on you.

    My hope for those like you is that in the years to come you will come face to face with legions of little boys & girls that got to be raised by GREAT parents that allowed them to live as WHO THEY ARE, regardless of gender preference in toys, clothes, or what have you.

  • Shannon1981

    @Ian: LMAO you’re talking to a me, someone who half the time most people can’t tell if I’m a man or woman, and I’m a gender conformist?

    I don’t give a damn what the kid wants to play with. I gave her high praise when I first started reading this blog. But the blogging itself, among other things, make it seem that this is more for her than the kid, and furthermore, that SHE is enforcing HER ideas of what gay people are like and painting this as something it’s not. The kid is four. Nobody knows if he is gay or straight. And please tell me how someone who is gay and genderqueer is homophobic. That’s a mighty neat trick thar, Junior.

  • justiceontherocks

    @Ian: Are you well? Shannon a bigot?? Far from it – she’s one of the most fair-minded and sensible people who posts here.
    Anyone who has been a parent knows this woman is an awful mother. She’s as bad as those crazies who push their five year old daughters to enter beauty pageants. It’s the same pathetic mentality. Her child isn’t a human being anymore; he’s a plotline in her book, her ticket to fame and fortune. Calling it child abuse would not be unfair.

  • Shannon1981

    Ty Justice. *sigh* so much tension here tonight…

  • justiceontherocks

    @Shannon1981: Your friend Ian would be a lot happier person if he learned that not everyone who has an honest disagreement with you is a bigot.

    I listen to people I respect. When we disagree sometimes they’re right and sometimes I am. But either way, at the end of the argument you need to be able to laugh and have a beer together.

  • Shannon1981

    @justiceontherocks: That’s the spirit. People take things really weird here sometimes. I can see how people would think what we are reading here is the best thing ever. I did at first too. But at this point, it went downhill to way past weird quite a bit ago… and I fear that what may have started out as a genuine effort to cope with something this lady didn’t know how to cope with turned into an opportunity for a book deal, and is now little else. In fact, my greatest fear is that one day CJ will not like Rapunzel anymore, and want dump trucks instead, and she’ll steer him to the Disney store and insist he must want that Rapunzel dress, end of story, because she’ll panic and think her now *normal* boy won’t be interesting enough to finish her book. That is where this is headed.

  • ConorK

    This makes me so happy :) You guys are both phenomenal, loving, genuine mothers – I am so happy that your boys have eachother as friends :) too many boys don’t who are effeminate and not throwing matchbox cars down garbage disposals and killing animals.

  • Robbie K

    I feel for this kid who maybe one day wants to play with a G.I. Joe doll I see massive mother breakdown when that happens but as long as the young boy responds with “biatch please” then I think things will be alright again.

  • McMike

    @Shannon1981: One or two self-loathing Republican queens posting as many entries as possible under as many different names as possible doesn’t constitute “many of us”. MOST of us, as in 98% of us, fully support this mom so please, by all means, piss off.

  • McMike

    Isn’t it a bit odd, don’t you think, everyone here is like “This mom rocks!!!” except for a few entries that sound like they’re coming from the same self-loathing, mentally unstable queen?

    As for this mom blogging about it, it’s an excellent form of therapy for herself allowing her to talk about what’s going on when she probably didn’t have any other outlet. As we can see, it’s also helping a lot of other people.

    It is beyond obnoxious there are maybe one or possibly two people out there who want to rag on this women while the rest of us wish we had a mom like this when we were growing up.

  • Shannon1981

    @McMike: LMAO I am no Republican. I am just pointing out that this blogging is odd to me, and why. Agree to disagree.

  • Ian

    @McMike: As RuPaul would say to your comment, “Can we get an AMEN in here?”


    I am in point of fact a child therapist and have worked with legions of children, teens & families over the years and I too see this mother’s blog as a means of catharsis & venting, & nothing more or HARDLY sinister. What I wouldn’t have given to have had a mother like this when I was a child.

  • justiceontherocks

    @Shannon1981: she just needs to let the kid be whatever he is and stop with all the theatrics.

    And for those who think a white male from ,ew )ork and a black woman from the South are the same person, my challenge to them is to find one credible authority on child raising who supports what this mother is doing.

    Have a good evening. I love having wonderful people like you and Jeffree as my alter egos.

  • Shannon1981

    @justiceontherocks: LOL the alter ego crap is old. I am going to start ignoring the remarks of people who insinuate it even for a second.

    Listen up, paranoid clowns: its pretty easy to tell sockpuppets. No two people will ever have the exact same posting style. Ever.Sockpuppet posting will mirror not only views, but style as well. Also, the time stamping here, combined with lack of an edit function, means that unless someone is posting from about 4 different computers-with four different IP addresses- what you are suggesting is impossible. Anyway, not that you care about any of that. Disagreeing with the two of you obviously evokes hostile reactions, and I wouldn’t want to raise your blood pressure- all the fries you’ve been consuming while insulting us here this evening has done enough of that. Ta Ta. Bedtime for people who have lives outside of internet wank.

  • TheRealAdam

    @Shannon1981: I don’t even care anymore. I don’t read these blogs anymore because I’ve said what I had to say in the one about CJ’s dad. I don’t support this stupid woman and the homophobic father and the exploitation of the child, and that’s pretty much it.

    Also, I am tired of squabbling with the “Ian” types like you encountered.

  • Chris

    I don’t people realize that the tone of the mother’s writing when she started writing the blog was more neutral than it was now – I think one of the first things I’ve read about her when she wrote how she defended her son when he wanted to dress up as a female character for Halloween and it wasn’t full of sentences like “right hand on his hip with total attitude” and “like a diva”. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    She thinks she’s a godsend for having a gay son and keeps on singling him out for being effeminate and special – rather than just treating him normally. How about we applaud the mothers who knew their son was gay and decided to love and treat him normally rather than treating him like a special case.

  • Chris

    @JPMSW – I know there isn’t a 100% way to know that I think is completely accurate on the point whether or not it’s fact that she enforces effemininity(if that’s a word) to her child, I do not know the mother personally, however after reading her blog entries it just seems that way to me. I also said that I think it’s great that the mother is fine that her son wants toys that are aimed for girls. But the way she writes about her son is like what a lot of women think about a “gay best friend” – effeminate “divas” who want nothing more than to dress in women’s clothing and talk about hair, etc.

  • Samwise

    “C.J. may start to get embarrassed and withdrawn in the coming year because he may start to realize that he is different. Some of his innocence may fly away as the reality of life creeps in.”

    “As they drove away, John says to his mom, ‘I can’t believe C.J. likes princesses! That is so great that he won’t even make fun of me!’ ”

    Oh God, those two quotes just made me want to cry. Please tell me you’re considering homeschooling, or maybe enrolling him in some kind of hippie alternative school. I can’t stand to think of him in public school, getting his innocent spirit beaten out of him.

    On the bright side, isn’t the Internet wonderful? C.J. and John get to learn so young that they’re not alone.

  • Tom

    @Ronnie R: Yeah and rising suicide rate among Asian-Americans, especially women, is no reflection of that articles point at all, right?

    I love this blog, and I have to say that this Mother is doing right by her Son, even if I still get a self-conscious cringe when I read of her son playing with dolls in public. That is MY issue, left over from MY childhood experience. Luckily I had two sisters and hey, if I wanted to play with them I had to lay with their toys too, just that we never talked about how good I was at plaiting Barbie’s hair and still managed to be a crack shot with a BB gun.

  • Tom

    @Chris: So by allowing him to fully be how he wants to be is singling him out and treating his special? Thank Goodness. All those Mom’s who allow their sons to have baseball themed rooms or wear their favorite players jersey need to open their eyes. No more special treatment!

  • rhen

    if it boils down to a mom who is trying to support her son’s interests, and blogging about how she is learning to deal with the social reactions that are occuring in light of the childs gender expression, then i see nothing wrong. in fact i see an opportunity for a child to be happy, a mom to learn to ignore societal norms, and a society to catch a glimpse of what happens when people intellectually and emotionally evolve. The only negativity stems from the traditionalists who see the risk outweighing the reward (because they embrace those traditions), however I feel we should look around and see who is in the business of tolerance and support for individuality and who is trying to cling to stereotypes.

  • Ian

    @rhen: Thank you for the insightful comment! Let those walls of tradition that stifle the true self come TUMBLIN’ DOWN!!

  • Jack

    @Tanner W.:

    This almost made me cry because it made me wonder what my life could have been like if only I could have been around other people like me from the beginning. I had one friend in Dearborn Michigan in the 4th grade (1964) named Lee Smith who was a fantastic artistic kid who drew the coolest “wash and set” drawings that I loved. I wish I could find him again. He was a great friend.

    ah, the past…..

  • Nate in Space

    The concerns expressed in the comments…not the ones saying CJ should play with boy’s toys but the ones about parental projection…are legitimate. They may or may not be true. As a former Barbie-loving, bullied queer boy I lean towards the more appealing idea that this mom is genuinely accepting. That said I’m shocked at how hateful (yes, hateful!) some people have been in defending CJ’s mom. As if you know better what CJ’s mom’s true intentions. The queer individuals expressing concern for CJ are entitled to that opinion and I fail to see how it is homophobic. Parents should never push gender on their children even to make them gay. I honestly am very touched by these blogs and I wish I had made a friend like CJ when I was little my mom had been so cool with my sexuality. That doesn’t mean CJ’s mom is perfect and it doesn’t give me the right to be an asshole to people who question her techniques for legitimate, if unconfirmable reasons.

    The ‘mos who played with boy’s toys growing up…good for you. I date boys like you sometimes.

    The people who think boys SHOULD play with boy’s toys…well THEY can go fuck themselves. This site is called QUEERity.com. Hello!!!

    But again…if you’re queer and somebody disagrees with you please don’t think that means its okay for you to call them a homophobe. That’s gay bashing (and lets face it bullying usually is born of bullying) and it’s wrong.

  • Vivian F.

    My John or CJ just had “the MOST fabulous Sweet 16 EVAH” according to his friends. Complete with pink and black triple-layer tutu and shiny pink corset. I’d attach a picture if the site would let me. He’s the most popular kid in his school. I couldn’t be prouder.

    Not to worry Mamas, you’re doing just fine and your boys will be ‘fabulous’!

Comments are closed.