If you’re here because you are fuming at the title of this post, believe me, you’re not alone.
If you’re here because you agree with the title of this post, please continue reading.
Here I am, a mother to my three wonderful children. Naturally, I try my absolute hardest to make sure that my children are growing up equally and lovingly. I so desperately want them to look back on their childhoods and think “Wow, I am so glad that my mother was so open with us.” I’m certain that is every mother’s wish, right?
My children and I have a very close relationship. We are an extremely gender-neutral family and have let our children drift towards what clothes and toys they enjoy. We do not pressure them to like what society has determined they “should” like. My daughters are also very well educated on the human body, pregnancy, childbirth, sex, the LGBT community, you name it, its completely normalized to them. Because we have made it that way, especially with me being a member of the LGBT community.
It is my personal goal as their mother to compete with the media. I don’t ever want my children to feel ashamed of their bodies or their minds, because their bodies are incredible. They create life. Their minds are gardens that are flourishing. And I want them to always know that they are accepted in our household for whatever beliefs or opinions they may have. Anything.
And my son is also learning these things at the tender age of 1 1/2.
My son. When I found out that I was pregnant with my very first male child, I was terrified. While there is a lot of pressure and shame on females in our society, I understood how to handle it and raise them differently to (hopefully) avoid much of the pressure and shame on them. But a boy? I didn’t have a clue.
When he was finally born, I adjusted very quickly and fell head over heels in love with my youngest bub. He was magic and our entire family was smitten.
It wasn’t until my son hit about 13 months old that his interests began to change from the typical trucks and cars he was gifted from his birthday, to what society has unfortunately deemed “girl” toys. My father (a very gender specific man) showed how upset he was at the fact that my son was wanting to play princess and play with castles. I let it go (because seriously, he is a toddler!) and continued on, letting him play how he chose.
Then came the day he picked out a dress.
He was so excited. He had gotten the dress of one of his sisters out of the clean clothes and had brought it to my lap, sat down in front of me, and gestured to his head for me to slip it on. I put it on him and watched him jump up in excitement and run to a full-length mirror to model his new dress. I had never seen him that excited. I chuckled and life moved on unaffected. Whatever makes him happy.
After that day, he began to throw tantrums when I would try and put pants on him. He only wanted dresses, and to be completely honest, who could blame him? They were far more comfortable, had brighter colors, and were just all around more fun! (He loves to spin around and watch the skirt spin out!) Nick and I obviously did not care, but we began to get backlash from strangers in public, and from our own family members. Nick and I were growing more furious by the day.
“You’re going to need to stop putting him in dresses or he will turn out gay.”
“He is going to get beaten up when he is older”
“Why is your boy dressed like a girl? Angry because he’s a boy?”
Theses are real comments I have received, just from having my 20 month old son in a dress. A dress. A dress can make you gay? I’ve never known a piece of cloth to hold such power! He’s going to get beaten up? Only because of people like you that discriminate against people unlike yourself. Am I angry because he’s a boy? I love him on such an instinctual level that I could cry when he smiles. He is such a beautiful creature, and I’m more than blessed to be able to call him mine.
I let the comments go, determined to show my son that he can be loved and accepted in whatever he chooses to wear.
But today, the unthinkable happened.
One of my children’s grandparents decided to take my daughter’s out for a fun day of shopping and bonding. No big deal, and I was excited to have the day with my son. But then they told me
“Give me Kohana’s sizes because I’m going to buy him some boy clothes. I’m sick of seeing you dress him like a freaking girl.”
I exploded. I was so angry that I felt tears pricking at my eyes.
I tried to explain (for the hundredth time) that my son is just that- my son. He is able to like whatever he chooses, and that includes his clothing. He enjoys dresses, so I’ll let him wear dresses. Just like if my daughter’s decide to wear cargo shorts and t-shirts, I’ll let them. I said
“He likes them. What is the big deal? Why can he not like what he likes because he has a penis?”
“Well its humiliating. I’m tired of people looking at him and seeing him in dress and being confused when they find out he’s a boy. Its time for Mommy to put her foot down because its embarrassing.”
It was at that point when I refused to give the sizes and hung up the phone. I couldn’t handle it. This was my son. My son. And at not even 2 years old, he is being discriminated against. He is being judged for simply loving what he loves.
This is what is wrong with our society.
My son should be able to grow up wearing a dress every single day, with painted nails, and curled hair and not be judged once. Just like my daughters should be able to attend prom in a tuxedo and not have anyone say a word. Would my children be harming anyone? Doing anything illegal? Behaving terribly?
I didn’t think so.
Do you know what that means?
It means that you don’t have any right to say anything or to act offended.
While my son is happily babbling away, you’re fuming just looking at him? Because he is in a DRESS?
Do you understand how crazy that sounds?
In conclusion, I’ll leave you with this:
My goal is to prevent my children from being harmed from people like you. Those people who smile at my son when I’m pushing him in a shopping cart, but change their smile to a glare when I announce that he’s a boy. Those of you who are stuck in your medieval ways and believe that a long article of clothing should only be worn by females. Those of you who insist on buying him dark colors and trucks to “man him up.”
He is a human being. Not a pet I’m supposed to train. He is more than his gender.
So much more.
You will not phase my son. Because I’m teaching him to rise above ignorance and hate.
“Relax- Its just a dress!”