Don We Now Our Gay Apparel: My Son’s Christmas Dress

It was the most sincere display of appreciation that my 5-year-old son has ever shown. He looked me straight in the eyes and said a very mature  “thank you.”  The words were full of honesty, relief, happiness and a little bit of anguish.

“You’re welcome, baby,” I said looking at him with a smile and masking the pain I was feeling.  “You look so pretty.”

My gender-creative son was thanking me for buying him a dress to wear to Christmas Eve dinner.

photo 3He had eyed the ensemble at Target weeks ago and asked to wear it for Christmas so he could take “fancy pictures by the fireplace and the tree.”

I told him no.  Not because the outfit was made for girls and he is a boy, but because had I bought it then he would have wanted to wear it immediately and often and when we finally sat down to Christmas Eve dinner it would have been thrashed.

He talked about his “Christmas outfit” nonstop and asked everyday if it was time to go buy it.

Today was the day. We got home and both ran up the stairs to my bedroom with its mirrored closets.   I sat on the floor removing price tags while he tore off his “school clothes,” which he wears as a disguise when out in society so that people will think he is all boy.

He wears “school clothes” so that he won’t get teased, have to sit by himself at the lunch tables and so he will get invites to birthday parties.  More than anything he wants to be thought of as “normal.”  But, he’s not.

He closed his eyes as I put on the black bubble skirt covered in sequins, the red long sleeved t-shirt that spells out “JOY” in glitter, and the black sequined vest. I spun him around toward the mirror.  He opened his eyes, took himself in and then thanked me.

photo 4My first reaction was to smile: He reminded me of when I was a little girl and wanted a show-stopping dress for the holidays.  My dresses were made of scratchy fabric that made noise when I moved.  I wore white socks with lace trim and stiff, shiny Mary Janes. I learned at an early age that beauty is pain.

My son looked sassy and beautiful. He looked natural, happy and truly comfortable for the first time that day.  Then I felt pain. If the rest of the world could be more empathetic, accepting, welcoming and kind, my son could be this happy and comfortable all of the time. Because then my son could be a boy who dresses like a girl and not have to think twice about it.  The world isn’t like that.

Other people can’t see the beauty in my son in a dress.  I haven’t always seen the beauty either. Two-and-a-half years ago, this scene wouldn’t have happened: I wouldn’t have bought girl clothes for my son.

Never. Ever.

Back then, I felt uneasy when he played with Barbies.  When he tried to dress feminine, I’d hand him his brother’s masculine hand-me-downs and tell him to put them on.  I didn’t give him choices because I knew that his choices would be pink with sparkle and rhinestones.  His choices would smell like the raspberry vanilla body spray he snuck from bathroom and hid under his bed.

Then I realized that my actions were telling him “you can’t be you because I want you to be what society wants you to be.”

photo 3My husband and I changed the way we were parenting. There was something unique about our son that we could choose to support or destroy.  We had to follow his lead.  He led us to the pink aisles at Target; and, that’s not a dangerous, harmful, unhealthy place for a boy to be.

My son’s Christmas dress is hanging in his closet. He checks on it before and after school and a few other times each day. On Christmas Eve, a dozen members of our family will gather around the table in honor of religious beliefs and to celebrate the passing of one year and the start of another.  It will be the first holiday that my son will join us at the table dressed as a girl.  We won’t care.  We will tell him that he is beautiful, inside and out.  And, we’ll mean it.

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  • Kwin

    The outfit is adorable and he looks just wonderful wearing it. You should be very proud of him for expressing himself. Hugs

  • hyhybt

    These are always worth reading.

  • Steve Rider

    I’m very happy that CJ has a Mom who puts unconditional love first. I exspect he will become a better man because he had great parents.

  • DanteL

    Um…where can I get that shirt size adult? He looks great!!

  • NovaNardis

    I love the Rainbow blogs, and you are a phenomenal family. However, I just have to point out that it would be hilarious is CJ grows up to be like a straight macho jock.

  • queertypie

    Heart warming, insightful and a tear jerker. Thank you for sharing this story and thank goodness this mother has such a wonderful attitude toward her son. Great story during the troubling Sandy Hook events.

  • Sam

    This really brought a tear to my eye. What a loving, wonderful mom you are. Does give credence to what I’m sure is only a while before definitive scientific proof that we really bon this way.

  • Dreaming

    Wish my family had been so loving. You are amazing parents. And I agree what a wonderful world it would be if people could just be who they are and dress however they wanted without being bullied and brutalized. I will say that I have seen a lot since I was young and it is sad that it has taken so long. But someday I believe that with stories like this and with all the openheartedness that the world is learning it will be that day. I never thought that in my lifetime I would see LGBTQ’s being able to serve in the military openly and that LGBTQ’s would have the Right to Marry in any of the United States, but I have seen it and what a blessing. SO THERE IS HOPE!!! CJ YOU AND YOUR FAMILY HAVE AN AWESOME HOLIDAY AND YOU LOOK GREAT AND PRETTY!!!!!

  • Marian

    And I hope to see the day when you’ll be able to proudly show your son’s face while wearing a dress, without any hint of reprisals or negative circumstance to you or your family…..

    Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year, and keep doing what you’re doing for your son. He’ll turn out great – just like his parents.

  • gisele48

    WOW… you are a wonderful mother. I wish I had been allowed to wear dresses when I was younger. As an older man now (60+), I still enjoy wearing my feminine clothing and have always wished that society would accept me as I am, wearing makeup and dresses. I am not gay and most probably your son is not gay either. Just because he likes to wear girl’s clothes does not make him gay. Most cross dressing men are heterosexual and very few are transsexual, opting for a sex change. In spite of stealing my sister’s clothes when I was young and eventually buying my own female wardrobe, I have never changed my sexual orientation. There are many female partners that have accepted me and many who have rejected the idea. After my first disastrous marriage, I have always told any woman I meet and take out on a date, that I like to dress up in woman’s clothing and if she freaks out, I never date her again. I wish your 5 year old son a wonderful life and hope he learns what feels comfortable for him.

  • startenout

    Bravo to you amazing parents! I know we all want our children to be “normal,” but you deserve the applause for actually understanding that “normal” is just an abstract concept and your son doing what comes naturally is very, very normal.

  • Crystaljade67

    I can remember when my youngest daughter was 4, she asked for a toy car for Christmas. My MIL said I couldn’t get her a car, they’re boys toys. So I got her 4 cars! She is now 18, hates dresses, make up and pink. Thinks the only thing to do with barbie dolls is to pull their heads off and burn them. She would rather wear pants, climb trees and practice her archery. She is a strong, confident young women, mostly because I taught her she could be herself, no matter what society thought of her choices. C.J.’s Mom, you are also growing a strong confident young man. I think you have found a wonderful balance between letting him be himself, and protecting him from the negativity of less understanding individuals. Keep ignoring society and let him be himself. That’s the best way we can make our kids happy.

  • Leanorah-Loreli

    I wish my parents were as enlightened and affirming as you are. I knew I was a girl at 4, and my dressing as a girl was limited to dress-up time at Kindergarten, where no one teased me at all. Your son is going to grow up so much better off than I was. Remember, only he can discern his identity, and that societal or religious pressures should not be considered, when the time comes. Thank you for this beautiful post. My heart is filled with Joy and Love, and my day is so much better.

  • kolonahe

    I read your story today after someone had posted it on facebook. Beautiful story! Your son looks fabulous in his dress. I use to let my little long hair blond boy wear dresses, everywhere. When I was “potty training” him I just took off his pants and put dresses or skirts on him and he could just lift his dress and pee on the grass or bushes. We had so many less wet pants that way! I got so teased from so many people because I chose to dress him that way. He loved dresses and skirts and wore them happily until he was about 6. He had tiered skirts which he loved because he could spin in them! I have such sweet pictures of my little guy topless, tan and wearing adorable skirts. He is now 13, still loves to play dress up with his sister and has a girlfriend. He is going to make the most awesome partner to a lucky person! Can you tell I adore my son! Oh, tell your son his boots with his dress ROCKS! You know there are so many cool sites online for kids to design clothes and accessories and put them on their models. Hook him up, you may have a fashion designer in your presence! I dont know where you live but here on our island it is not uncommon to see a beautiful strong man wearing a perero or sarong which is just a beautiful printed piece of fabric that is tied around the waist. It would be a perfectly “acceptable” ( geez cannot believe I said it that way but it was for lack of better words) way for him to wear skirts in public and feel comfortable. Post more pics of your guy dressing up please!

  • Dixie Rect

    LOL! This is one of the biggest farces ever – this blog is complete fiction.

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