I’m coming out in a big way and you, my loyal Queerty readers, have had a hand in it.
You shared my writings with people through social media, emails, conversations and, sometimes, during whispered interactions when you knew the other person would benefit from reading about my sparkly son. Because of your support I caught the attention of some pretty important people. Now, in less than five months, I’ll be sharing our lives with a broader audience when the Random House’s Broadway imprint releases Raising My Rainbow — my book based on my blog.
It was with a massive amount of thought and consideration that I agreed to write the book. Should we risk our anonymity? In doing so, would we risk our safety? Did I even have the time to write a book while maintaining my career, our home and our children’s sense of normalcy? Did I want to be the face of a cause? What would C.J. and his brother Chase think of the book now? What would they think of it in 10 years? 20 years?
In the end, C.J.’s Dad, Matt, and I were and continue to be certain that a book like Raising My Rainbow is needed to encourage the world to change for the sake of gender nonconforming and LGBTQ kids. We have to try. We have to try educating as many people as we can about children like C.J. so that hopefully, growing up and thriving from childhood to adolescence and beyond is the least painful experience possible.
The book is a lot like the blog. It gives people a glimpse into our lives in hopes that they will see that we are not weird – we are just different. And, different isn’t bad. Different can and does happen to anybody. Your neighbor. Your coworker. Your friend. Your enemy. You.
The book is about expectations. You don’t always get what you expect when you are expecting. When your child is born you expect that their sex and gender will align. Sometimes they don’t. You expect that your male child will like traditionally male things and that he’ll be physically and emotionally attracted to a woman. Sometimes that doesn’t happen. There is comfort found in expectations, but when those expectations are squashed when your child is three, four or five years old you start to question why they exist at all. You build new expectations and try not to be jaded when people around you hold tight to the old ones.
The book is about empathy. It took us a while to realize that what we want most from other people is empathy. You don’t have to fully understand gender, sex and sexuality; we just ask that you have an open heart and an open mind. Imagine for a minute what our child and we have to go through on a daily basis. What would you do if you had a child like C.J.? Judge less and imagine more. Treat others how you want to be treated. Period.
The book is about the evolution of a family. When our son grabbed that first Barbie, we set out on a journey of evolution – though we didn’t know it at first. The evolution was slow and, at times, didn’t feel like it was moving forward or felt like we were fighting it. But, it happened; no one in our family is the same person that they were three years ago. Now, I wouldn’t change this experience for anything in the world. I couldn’t always say that.
Finally, the book is about equality. There’s a new civil right movement happening in our country. It astonishes me that in 2013 we need a civil rights movement at all. It should be a given that all people are created equal and should be treated as such – whether it’s on the playground or in the nation’s capitol. The book is my way of taking a firm stand in the movement. It is my way of publicly saying that my son and brother deserve the same human rights and human decency taken for granted by the majority of the country’s population. I want my son to be treated like a human being. If you can’t tell if he is a boy or a girl, then just treat him like a person.
As I move toward September 3 with excitement and fear, I hope that you will accompany me. You will never know how much you mean to my family and me. You all have taught me the difference between sex and gender; you have taught me how to parent an LGBTQ child; you have taught me how to get lip gloss out of my son’s hair when one particular makeover went awry; and the list goes on and on.
The blog will continue to exist as an outlet for me. Will I only be Lori now? No, I’m also C.J.’s Mom. Which names will I use? I’m not sure. I have to see what feels comfortable. Will there be identifying photos of our family on the blog now? Nope. I’ll continue to amaze you with my nondescript iPhone photography skills. Will I keep you updated on book news from now on? You betcha.
For us, life continues to be an adventure. I’m glad that you are along for the ride. I hope that you continue to be. Wish me luck and buy my book and thank you, thank you, thank you for being such a rad blogosphere family.
Lori Duron/C.J’s Mom/Blogger/Author/Candlestick Maker