In June, early copies of my book arrived and I wrote a letter to introduce it to booksellers. With the release of my book less than one week away, I thought I’d let you read what I wrote to the people who will be selling my book. – xoxo, C.J.’s Mom
When I was in college studying English literature, my favorite professor told the class that we all have a book inside of us waiting to be written. The thought both excited and terrified me. I pushed it to the back of my mind as I graduated, landed a corporate job, got married, and got pregnant. My first son made me a mother ten years ago. My second son will make me an author on September 3, 2013.
My professor had been right. I had a book in me; I just couldn’t know what the topic would be until I started raising a boy who is a girl at heart.
My six-year-old son C.J. is gender variant or gender nonconforming or gender creative or has gender identity disorder, whichever you prefer. As C.J. simply explains it, he is “a boy who only likes girl stuff and wants to be treated like a girl.” While my older son is a typical boy who has turned me into a Lego engineer, video gamer, and football mom, my youngest son is a unique boy who has turned me into a princess stalker, hairstyle guinea pig, and Rachel Zoe of the Barbie world.
Two and a half years ago, I started an anonymous blog called Raising My Rainbow. The first blog to chronicle the adventures in raising a fabulous, gender creative son, I started it to sort through my emotions and to connect with other parents of gender creative kids and former gender creative kids themselves. I blogged twice a week, my work became syndicated by one of the leading LGBTQ news sites, readers in more than 170 countries tuned in, and gender studies students and faculty at more than fifty college and universities have asked for more.
Now, in less than three months (less than a week now!), I’ll be sharing our lives with a broader audience with the release of my blog-inspired book, Raising My Rainbow. I’ll also come out of the blogging closet and identify myself.
The book gives a glimpse into our lives to show people that we aren’t weird—we’re just different. And different isn’t bad. Different can and does happen to anybody. Your neighbor. Your coworker. Your friend. Your enemy. You.
Raising My Rainbow is about expectations. You don’t always get what you expect when you are expecting. You expect your child’s sex and gender to align. Sometimes they don’t. You expect your male child to like traditionally male things and be physically and emotionally attracted to a woman. Sometimes that doesn’t happen. The book is also about empathy. It took a while to realize that what we want most from other people is empathy. We don’t need people to fully understand gender, sex, and sexuality; we need them to have an open heart and an open mind. Finally, the book is about the evolution of a family. Though we didn’t know it at first, when our son grabbed that first Barbie we set out on a journey of change. No one in our family is the same person he or she was four years ago. Now, I wouldn’t change this experience for anything in the world. Shamefully, I couldn’t always say that.
I recently met with that favorite college professor of mine for a glass of wine and to catch up. I wanted to tell her that she had been right. I did have a book in me—but I had to experience life and meet my Barbie-loving, dress-wearing son to know what the topic would be.
All my best, always,
Exclusive to Queerty Readers: Click here to read the first three chapters from Raising My Rainbow: Adventures In Raising A Fabulous, Gender Creative Son.