We went to the party, and, as I figured, some of the guests laughed and made comments. One said to me, “Do you think this is funny? There are kids here. You want them to see this?” Another said, “You want him to be gay?”
And I stayed calm. And I explained to them the best I could that there is no correlation between kids cross-dressing and being gay. And if he is gay, it’s not because of anything I did. It’s because he’s gay. And maybe it’s a stage. And maybe it’s not. But either way, I don’t want him to ever feel like he wasn’t able to express himself because his parents didn’t support him. And some understood. And some, trapped by religion or ignorance, gave us the stank face.
Plenty of people are supportive. They’ll see my kids — Sydney with her long dirty blonde hair, and Asher with his short dark hair, and say, “I love your daughter’s pixie cut.” When I tell them he’s my son, they smile and say, “I love it.” They also apologize for confusing his gender, but I tell them, “Don’t apologize. He’s in a purple dress with sparkly shoes. How would you know?” I know there are parents who get worked up when you confuse their kids’ gender, but I’m not one of them.
I get home before my wife most nights, so I was taking the kids out to walk our dog. They were dressing up in different outfits, my daughter treating Asher like her doll, as she tried various dresses, shoes, and headbands on him. And then Sydney told me she wanted me to wear a dress, too — “Oh my god, it will be so funny.”
I said, “No,” but she kept begging. I said, “People will laugh at me.” She said, “If they do, I’ll tell them to go away.” And I couldn’t argue with that, as I squeezed myself into Carrie’s most flexible dress. We walked the dog on our block, and the pleasure my kids took in seeing their dad go out of his comfort zone trumped the humiliation I felt.
Carrie pulled up to the house, and I saw her slacked jaw from the end of the street. She laughed. She took a picture. And she told me I better not rip her dress. And then we all went for a pizza.
Can I just say the fact that the little girl’s first reaction was “I’ll tell them to go away” made me tear up?
That’s a kid, at such a young age, willing to defend people. That’s a kid who, if her brother wears a dress to school and gets picked on, will run to his side in a minute, regardless of what her friends will say.
Oh god the feelings. I can’t handle it.