Raising My Rainbow

Falling Off the Boy Toy Wagon Into Girl Toy Heaven: C.J. Gets His First Barbie

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.

The girl who changed C.J.’s life forever

It was like watching somebody come alive, watching a flower bloom, watching a rainbow cross the sky. It was the day C.J. discovered Barbie.

Back story: Uncle Uncle and I had a bad Barbie addiction as children. It was tough to shake, especially since our mother was and is a total enabler.  In March 2009, Nana Grab Bags bought me – a grown woman — Mattel’s 50th Anniversary Bathing Suit Barbie.  She was a modernized version of the original 1959 doll with a two-piece, black and white bikini trimmed with her signature color pink, pink hoop earrings, ponytail and a cell phone.

I kept her in her box in my closet for months.  One fall day I was cleaning out my closet and sat boxed Barbie on my bed.


I nearly fell off my stepstool at C.J.’s shriek.

“It’s Barbie.”

“I want to open she!”

He held the box as he jumped up and down, up and down, up and down.

I hesitated.  You don’t open a boxed Barbie if you can at all help it.

But his face.  His sweet excited face could convince me to do worse things.  We opened her. Cue the choir of angels.

I figured he would play with her for a day or two and lose interest; like he did with most toys.  She’s been a constant in his life for more than a year.  Oh, he wasn’t dabbling, he was hardcore from the start.

It was the beginning of our adventures in raising a slightly effeminate, possibly gay, totally fabulous son.

Hair and makeup by C.J. Call for your appointment today!

C.J.’s Brother was a devoted Thomas the Tank Engine fan from his third birthday to his fourth birthday exactly. 12 months; no more, no less. C.J. and Barbie are celebrating their 16 month anniversary.

“And, how’s C.J.?  Is he still playing with dolls?  Oh, he is?  When do you think this phase is going to end?  What do you think it means?” asks Grandma and Grandpa Colorado when we catch up by phone. Since C.J. hooked up with Barbie, I’ve been mostly answer-less.

I have to admit, it’s easier for me to connect with my younger son over Barbie than it was to connect with my older son over Thomas the Tank Engine.  Me and Babs go way back.  Playing Barbies with C.J. is much like playing Barbies with Uncle Uncle.  Uncle Uncle would backcomb her hair to high hell and I’d be responsible for brushing her out; same goes for when C.J. manages to tangle her to rat’s nest proportions.  And, both Uncle Uncle and C.J. have scolded me countless times for my outfit choices and styling techniques.  It’s history repeating itself.

Uncle Uncle taught C.J. to fashion a waterproof cocktail dress out of a Ziploc bag. Perfect for nights in the hot tub or a dip in the rooftop pool at The London after dark

The sight of Barbie has bothered us at times.  I’m not going to lie.  She was a gateway drug into the hardcore world of “girl toys.” He soon threw Strawberry Shortcake, Zoobles, Littlest Pet Shop, and Squinkies into the mix.  I knew the gravity of our plight when he could name each Disney Princess and her movie of origin.

Since C.J. fell off the “boy toy” wagon we’ve endured questioning stares, dirty looks, disgusted headshakes, knowing nods and smiles of encouragement.

C.J. has been his happiest since he met Barbie, we haven’t always been.  But, as a mother, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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  • orpheus_lost

    Does anyone else think this woman is going to be massively disappointed when her “fabulous” son turns out to be straight?

    Seriously, I’m all for letting a child choose his/her own toys and characteristics but this child’s mother seems to be obsessed with her three year old child’s sexuality.

    Let the kid become who he needs to be without trying to pin him down with outdated stereotypes just to satisfy your need to be a faghag mom.

  • fwah

    To me, this seemed more focused on the childs happiness instead of his sexuality. I found myself smiling the entire time I was reading this. Bravo to these parents for letting thier children become themselves minus a forced hand.

  • David

    I think if I grew up to find out my mum had been posting blogs about me as a ”slightly effeminate, possibly gay, totally fabulous son” I would be pissed.

  • Dollie

    I think it’s really sweet that she is putting this out there! I hope other parents read it, and behave similarly if they find themselves with a “slightly effeminate, possibly gay, totally fabulous son.”

    But I have a question. We have heard her address the possibility of her son coming out as gay or straight later in life, but what about transgender? Has she considered that? Kids know pretty early when something isn’t quite fitting with their sex vs. gender, and kids are being permitted to transition earlier and earlier (which is great!). I hope she also considers that possibility.

  • chicagotist

    I wouldn’t be pissed, because her writing is filled with love. It’s very inspiring to read :0)

  • David

    Her writing is filled with love, fair enough but its also filled with stereotypes about homosexuals.

    She seems to assume that because her other child plays with trains he must be straight. Theres also the other blog she has written about how she hids CJ’s toys when vistors come around so that her family is spared embarssment.

  • D.R.A.

    I’ll say it again: your child is not gay because he’s effeminate. You have absolutely no idea if you’re “raising a gay child.”

    And yeah, what about your other son? You seem to completely ignore whether he might be gay. Apparently, only boys who play with girly things grow up to be gay. How nice.

  • D.R.A.

    Ahahahah. Apparently her other kid likes to play with Legos and build stuff – a stereotypically masculine activity. And, of course, no mention of her other son being “possibly gay.” Nope, only the son who plays with dolls might grow up to be gay.

    She also says that her bother is “[o]ne of the most important people involved in the raising of C.J. because of his homosexuality.” Sheesh, lady. Your son is what – 3 or 4? – and it sounds like you’ve already decided he’s gay, based entirely on what he likes to play with and how he acts. Your brother’s homosexuality is what makes him important in the raising of C.J.? Why, exactly?

  • thedarkchariot

    I agree. I don’t think she should be using the word “gay” yet to describe her child. In fact, what if he turns out to be transgender?

    I understand that most people jump to the idea of assuming the child must be gay, but honestly it’s hard to pin down the kid. I think this would have a much wider spread audience if it were just about “an effeminate boy”. While the blog is written with love, it further associates “femininity” with being “gay”.

  • PrincessWilly

    Wow lady, get over this obsession.

    Your son has not reached puberty yet. There are absolutely no signs of homosexuality until that point. Homosexuality is (as the name implies) sexual!

    I played with Lego’s, Power Rangers, and Pokémon all through my childhood. Even after realizing that I’m gay, I still don’t play with dolls or style my room with hello kitty. It’s these stereotypes that are going to Hurt your son. He likes dolls? So what. My niece took a keen interest in her older brother’s hot wheels at a very young age. She sure didn’t turn out to be a lesbian.

    Children learn to enjoy things that are accessible to them. This is why your son has an androgynous interest in toys. I applaud you for letting him do what he wants, but I would have to question whether or not you push this personality onto him. Do you call him your “fabulous” son? Your “possibly gay little boy”? If you do, this is the exact kind of identity assassination parents put on their gay children. Trying to stuff them into a box they don’t fit in. You need to get a clue and let nature take its course.

  • Alex

    I don’t think barbies are good for girls and don’t think they’re good for boys either.

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