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Mum’s defence of cross-dressing 5-year-old becomes internet hit

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  1. If she had let her daughter dress up as a male character, I bet they would have said it was cute.

  2. @qv I totally agree.

    Good on the mother for sticking by her opinions and stuff it to the bible bashers.

    If people spent as much time worrying about what other people are doing and devoted that time to their life’s then the world would be such a happier place.

    It’s funny how in general that whole community feeling has gone from neighbourhoods yet at the same time people take much extra care to poke their noses into other peoples life’s and try to make them life their life like they want to.

  3. What a great Mother, I hope she’s proud of what she did and the attention it got because she’s very right and it should be said a LOT more often!! Like this next statement……

    Bible…….. Arggh!!

  4. What incredible, unwavering support from a parent!! Interesting that his friends “had no problem with the colourful outfit” and that it was the adults that had the reactions. Sure gives credence to judgement being a learned (and not so much an educated) behavior.

  5. Well Megan, its telling that it was the mothers at the party who reacted with negativity, kids are normally immune to what’s right and wrong and look towards adults/parents for reassurance or reaction. When I was pre-op I experienced far more looks and glances from people as a “cross-dressing’ man than when I actually went through all the procedures to become a woman and the majority of the reactions I received were from adults who could obviously tell.

  6. This mother reminds me of Will Phillips mom, Laura. Both fantastic women and young mothers who inspire me to believe the world can and will change for the better,,,that children can and are being raised to just be who they are, to believe in inclusivity and plain good old “human-ness”. No child was born homophobic. My question though is why is this child being called a cross-dresser,,, it was a halloween costume. If a little girl wore a batman cape and costume would she too then also be a cross-dresser??

  7. Jock S. Trap 5 Nov 2010, 3:57pm

    Yet again another story where the interesting fact is there is No problem from other children, All problems are from adults.

    When they said:-

    “She was told that she should not have “allowed” him to wear the costume because other children would be cruel and ridicule him.”

    What they actually meant was that don’t give a stuff that the children didn’t because their narrow-mindedness would. Just using children to cover their own prejudice.

    Which again begs the question… How can it be right that these bigotted people are the right people to bring up children when they clearly deny all responsiblity for their own actions?

  8. *Applauds* Good on her! We need more people like this woman in the world.

    Love the line at the end about the ninja too… so true.

    (Sorry if this has posted twice!)

  9. Bryan J Allen 5 Nov 2010, 4:57pm

    I read the article in disbelief and concluded,as others have done so on here!

    It was a Halloween costume,that was the centre of the ‘adults’ reactions? I thought that was the main part of this celebration-to dress up and spook people?Well this child certainly spooked a few,but for all the wrong reasons surely!

    The whole scenario just beggars belief and we wonder why we live ina world like it is today.

    I felt that the mother had shown others up through her common sense and humane attitude,to what was in all fairness, a request from her son for Halloween!

  10. OK, I get to be the bad guy…

    I have no problem with his costume, and I say good on Mom for sticking up for him. But… But.. BUT….

    The whole blog-and-media thing smells a bit like exploitation to me.

    She titles her post “My Son is Gay” despite the fact that, as she says, he is a bit too young to have sorted that out.

    And she is on TV, and the radio, and anywhere else that will have her, telling everyone how brave and great she is and how horrible the other mothers are, etc. etc.

    I think it is great she supported him, and awesome she let him dress however he wanted. But I have to say, I feel this is now less about him, and more about HER. If you read her post, it says he didn’t want to go into school in his outfit, but she pushed him (it was not a party, but a school day event). And then she published a blog post with his picture, titled “My son is gay.” She gets to go on TV and have everyone tell her how wonderful and brave she is. He gets to go back to the school and get shoveled crap on him for the rest of his childhood, whether or not he is in fact gay.

    Supporting gay people is great. “Outing” your own 5 yo old to show it is kinda narcissism writ large.

  11. Adults should not impose adult understanding of gender and sexuality on a child whose understanding is not yet developed.

    Sarah has done the best thing any parent can do and that’s support her child.

  12. I was all for joing in the accolades being piled onto the mother of the boy, but after reading K Dub’s comment, i’m not so sure.
    It COULD be that she protesteth too much thus reflecting shades of post-Munchausen syndrome – ie where she achieves the attention she may crave and has engineered the situation to suit her own needs. We need further evidence to support this story.

  13. On the whole I agree with posters saying the mother may be a manipulative attention-seeker. Something not really being picked up (except very vaguely, by the mother herself) is the usual bone-headed rot about cross-dressing and being gay being the same thing.
    On a lighter note, this reminds me of a mother on Woman’s Hour a few years ago saying that her 5yr old son wanted to be a girl. She was so relieved, because the previous week he’d wanted to be a velociraptor.

  14. lmao@Riondo… and what a nasty wee dinosaur to pick too!! *still laughin*

  15. As if we really needed to be told, this story indicates just how far Western Society’s view of women needs to move on. A little boy wants to dress as a character from a cartoon he likes and that character happens to be a female. People make all kinds of assumptions about what this might mean about the sexual orientation of a child – I doubt any of these assumptions have any bearing in reality. What’s disturbing is the reaction of the other mothers who seem to share this idea that a male dressing as a female character is somehow “wrong”, whereas if he’d dressed up as a serial killer, or Freddy Krueger, or a gun encrusted Rambo, that would have been fine. As mentioned by a previous poster, a little girl dressing as a male character would be considered “cute”, yet a boy dressing as a girl is expected to elicit ridicule and is considered somehow unacceptable. I can’t help feeling that says a lot about the value we place on women.

  16. Mmm. 38 years ago yesterday i had a fancy dress birthday party. My costume was a big floppy hat, long coat REALLY long scarf and a sonnic screwdriver. Nobody thought it was odd that a girl would dress that way. Well, not this girl, anyway! It was a fantastic party. Best ever. I don’t know, would I have got away with it if I lived in America not the laid back UK?

    Can’t help thinking, also, of the old song “Harper Valley PTA…” Seems like the hypocrites have switched focus.

  17. D Lambert 5 Nov 2010, 9:10pm

    He look’s so happy.

    I call that fantastic parenting!

  18. David in Indy 5 Nov 2010, 9:36pm

    He’s lucky to have such a wonderful and supportive mother. Those womens’ reactions -albeit absolutely appalling – should not surprise anyone. We’re talking about Missouri.

    Missouri’s “friendly” neighbor to the south is Arkansas, home of Clint McCance. Two states to the east is my home state of Indiana, another bastion of homophobia.

  19. @Riondo I was going to mention the whole ‘crossdressing doesn’t = gay’ thing, as I myself am a crossdresser and heterosexual, something a lot of people fail to understand (some even accuse me of lying!)

    I didn’t because I didn’t want to lower the tone of what appeared to be a very positive story… Later comments shedding more light on the situation are a little concerning though.

  20. When I was a child my mum had a terrible time convincing my dad that allowing me to have a dolls pram wasn’t the thin edge of the wedge. Not sure what she told him some years later,when I went to a fancy dress as “Bobby’s Girl”, the 60′s song.

  21. when I was younger 5 or so I went as a witch and my mom had no problem.

  22. I love these mums! They’re awesome. If you like this story, google “my princess boy” for a similar story where the mother of a dress-loving 5-year-old has written a children’s book used in her son’s school to teach other children to respect diversity.

  23. This article is so uplifting!

    I was in the Post Office the other day and the woman standing behind me in the queue turned when a man and child walked in. She said to the child, out loud, “Ooooo! You’ve had a haircut! Now you look like a boy again!” The father embarrassedly and quietly said to the woman, “He looked like a boy before!” The woman obviously had very restricting ideas about how boys and girls MUST dress. What the fool possibly failed to realise is that the implication of what she said to the little boy was that prior to his haircut he looked like a little girl and that was BAD! Or maybe she MEANT to impart that message.

    There are a lot of mums and dads out there doing untold damage. It’s a delight to hear of one who is not prepared to.

  24. Mihangel apYrs 6 Nov 2010, 1:10pm

    if he’d been in an all-boy primary school, would there have been comment if he’d played “Mary” in the nativity play?

    At 5 kids don’treally have a sex, just different plumbing. I truly believe it’s mainly socialisation that makes boys “rough” and girls demure. Society insists that certain patterns are followed, thus stifling the individuality that would let children develop properly their gender identities

  25. PinkPolitico 6 Nov 2010, 11:26pm

    Bravo to this mother for standing up for her son over something as innocent as a Halloween costume! Clearly nothing is off limits when it comes to homophobic bigots expressing their hateful and ignorant opinions, even when it involves a young child! Those parents who objected make my skin crawl quite frankly.

    Also agree with other posters who pointed out the glaring double standard being applied here. A girl in a male designated costume wouldn’t have even raised eyebrows. This highlights misogyny as much as it does homophobia. Masculine traits continue to be valued and prized over feminine ones and that needs to change.

  26. Rocking. Glad some mothers have a grip on reality!!! Glad the boy got to wear the costume he wanted.

  27. Wow, she’s awesome. It’d be lovely if there were more parents like her. And I love the “ninja” comment lol

  28. I’ve been openly gay for more decades than I care to remember. I used to go out to bars and clubs in drag – travelling on the London Underground was always fun. And I’ve got a friend with an 8 y.o. son. He loves everything girl, but when he went to school at 5, he soon stopped inviting his friends home because they would go back to school and tell others that he dressed in “girl’s clothes” at home.

    He is an incredible little boy. Very strong, and no whinger. But he realised it was “unnacceptable”. His parents are very supportive of him and any choices he makes. But even I argue with them that they need to be aware of what secondary school in London is like. I think they have no conception of the degree of homophobic bullying and violence that goes on there. And the teachers are such spineless hypocrites, they just allow it to go on – scared that if they object the kids will turn the homophobic bullying on them!

    I know that things don’t change unless one pushes boundaries – I know that from personal experience. But I sometimes feel that these “pro-gay” parents are setting their kids up with false expectations.

    It’s sad to admit it, but I’m not sure that schools are ready or able to cope with things like this.

  29. No mother could make a better comment! Real love does not discriminate!

  30. PumpkinPie 8 Nov 2010, 7:29pm

    Ha ha! How delightful. Those other mothers don’t deserve to be parents. And I hope everyone out there who supports this woman would do so if her son wanted to “cross-dress” on any day other than Halloween, too. Otherwise, they’d be hypocrites.

    As for the point about homo/transphobic abuse that Jame brought up, I’d agree but with the caveat that, in the same way a parent shouldn’t force their child to be open, they also should support their child 100% if that child wanted to be open no matter the danger. Once a person’s made their mind up, denying them the ability to be true to themselves could hurt as much as any bullying.

  31. Bishop Ioan 8 Nov 2010, 10:10pm

    Great that this mum supported her son. Incidentally, he looks cute!

  32. Dawn McCubbin 9 Nov 2010, 6:56am

    Go Sarah Missouri mamma…you tell em girl… am lovin it lovin lovin it, am lovin it right now…Oh and by the way nothing turns anyone gay…people are born gay…it is how it is

  33. Bishop Ioan:
    > he looks cute!

    He’s five; that’s inappropriate, man.

  34. Mihangel apYrs
    > At 5 kids don’t really have a sex, just different plumbing.

    Having been forcibly told that the plumbing absolutely determined the sex notation on my birth certificate, and that determined everything, regardless of what I thought, or needed, I can assure you that most of society believes otherwise.

    > I truly believe it’s mainly socialisation that makes boys “rough”
    > and girls demure.

    Science shows that liking for “rough and tumble” is hard-wired in the brain long before birth. There is actually a differently-sized brain part to match. Girls with adrenal hyperplasia tend to have the “likes rough and tumble” size. Sorry your belief is wrong.

    > ….Society insists that certain patterns are
    > followed, thus stifling the individuality that would let
    > children develop properly their gender identities

    We’re working on that.

  35. Jame:
    > ….I’ve got a friend with an
    > 8 y.o. son. He loves everything girl, but when he went to school
    > at 5, he soon stopped inviting his friends home because they
    > would go back to school and tell others that he dressed in
    > “girl’s clothes” at home.
    >
    > He is an incredible little boy. Very strong, and no whinger. But
    > he realised it was “unnacceptable”. His parents are very
    > supportive of him and any choices he makes. But even I argue
    > with them that they need to be aware of what secondary school in
    > London is like. I think they have no conception of the degree of
    > homophobic bullying and violence that goes on there. And the
    > teachers are such spineless hypocrites, they just allow it to go
    > on – scared that if they object the kids will turn the
    > homophobic bullying on them!
    >
    > I know that things don’t change unless one pushes boundaries – I
    > know that from personal experience. But I sometimes feel that
    > these “pro-gay” parents are setting their kids up with false
    > expectations.
    >
    > It’s sad to admit it, but I’m not sure that schools are ready or
    > able to cope with things like this.

    Most aren’t, but we are working on it. Legally, any child you wants to live as a “the other sex”, whether or not doctors of medical change gets involved, are protected against discrimination from very first mentioning such a wish. So the parents are right to be supportive of the child (although the taunting at school should have been stopped rather than the child being made to feel odd) and hopeful that secondary schools will fall into line.

    You are not clear just how much “everything girl” the child loves, but this could be transsexuality. Whatever they do don’t let them take the child to the children’s gender identity clinic in Swiss Cottage.

  36. PumpkinPi:
    > Once a person’s made their mind up, denying them the
    > ability to be true to themselves could hurt as much as any
    > bullying.

    Its not a matter of making up their mind but having reached an understanding of how they are. Its not a choice, they weren’t confused or indecisive. So denying tendencies before that point is equally harmful. And the technique often used by “metal health professionals”, to misinform the child and their family in order to delay that understanding in the hope that inappropriate pubertal changes will make living as they need impossible, is the most gross abuse.

  37. He’s not doing anyone any harm. When I was young I loved to dress up. The nearest I got to dressing up as a girl as a youngster was to wear a ladies wig. I was just curious to see what I’d look like as a girl. Some male friends had a doll which they played with. As long as he’s happy and having fun that’s the most important thing.

    If other children call him names then he’ll learn from that – but that’s really not his problem though.

    I just think it’s a wonderful thing to see a child happy. It shouldn’t be taken away from a child. Kids have enough to cope with when reaching puberty – so in the meantime let them play and do what kids do.

  38. Oatc Wrote

    “You are not clear just how much “everything girl” the child loves, but this could be transsexuality. Whatever they do don’t let them take the child to the children’s gender identity clinic in Swiss Cottage.”

    Oatc . . . I agree the worst possible outcome would be to subject a child to the “gender identity clinic” run by the Tavistock clinic in Swiss Cottage. The reason I say this is becasue the clinic is run mainly by psychoanalysts who have trained at the ultra-conservative, and highly homophobic “Institute of psychoanalysis”

    In 1996 the institute of psychoanalysis along with the Tavistock clinic and the Ann Freud centre, invited Charles Socarides (the founder of NARTH) to lecture on how to change the sexual orientation of gay men.

    There was a big protest . . . and the lecture was stopped by the “letter of concern”

    http://paul.bailey.pagesperso-orange.fr/psyhomo.htm

    The Tavistock Clinic is still funded by the NHS

  39. PumpkinPie 12 Nov 2010, 4:01pm

    Its not a matter of making up their mind but having reached an understanding of how they are. Its not a choice, they weren’t confused or indecisive.

    I was actually talking about a person’s choice to be open about who they are. Not everyone feels quite so brave so young, after all. Parents should always be sensitive to the wishes of their children. Encouragement is brilliant, but the child must always feel in control of their own identity.

    So denying tendencies before that point is equally harmful. And the technique often used by “metal health professionals”, to misinform the child and their family in order to delay that understanding in the hope that inappropriate pubertal changes will make living as they need impossible, is the most gross abuse.

    Very true.

  40. JohnK:
    > Oatc . . . I agree the worst possible outcome would be to
    > subject a child to the “gender identity clinic” run by the
    > Tavistock clinic in Swiss Cottage. The reason I say this is
    > becasue the clinic is run mainly by psychoanalysts who have
    > trained at the ultra-conservative, and highly homophobic
    > “Institute of psychoanalysis”
    >
    > In 1996 the institute of psychoanalysis along with the Tavistock
    > clinic and the Ann Freud centre, invited Charles Socarides (the
    > founder of NARTH) to lecture on how to change the sexual
    > orientation of gay men.
    >
    > There was a big protest . . . and the lecture was stopped by the
    > “letter of concern”
    >
    > http://paul.bailey.pagesperso-orange.fr/psyhomo.htm

    When the Gender Recognition Bill was being framed, a large group of “professionals” at the Tavistock wrote to the major newspapers stating that transsexual people should not be humoured by such legislation but instead “cured” by therapy.

    Despite all such as that, just last year the NHS granted them an exclusive contract for the “management” of trans children across the whole of the UK. It was personally signed-off by the same minister as had signed off, the previous year, a Department of Health booklet which advised that the only way for parents to obtain the care given to such children in other western countries was to take them to the USA (the clinic, through masterful political work having ensured that all European countries would refuses to accept UK children at their clinics). Fortunately she lost her seat in the election.

    In granting that contract the NHS completely failed to follow it own rules on equality – transsexual children are legally protected from discrimination in the provision of services. The responsible committee at NHS London actually believing that equality procedures didn’t apply to the granting of NHS contracts.

    The clinic now claims that it wishes to treat children as they are treated in the Netherlands, but are being prevent by ethical considerations. In other words they claim ethics are forcing them to mistreat children in a way that causes permanent harm, and sometimes suicides.

    Interestingly, University College Hospital, Great Ormond Street Hospital, and the both the adult and pediatric endrocrinology medical associations are involved with the Tavistock on this.

    > The Tavistock Clinic is still funded by the NHS

    Indeed, it has Foundation Trust status.

  41. oatc . . . I did not know that the NHS had granted the Tavistock clinic special provisions with regards trans-children across the UK. This is very worrying given the ultra-conservative nature of the child department at the Tavistock clinic.

    I agree, the issue of equality is probably as you so eloquently express; almost certainly being sidelined by the Tavistock in favour of a psychoanalytic view of gender and sexuality which is still set in the 1950s.

    Also, when the Tavistock clinic receives support from University College Hospital, Great Ormond Street Hospital, and the both the adult and paediatric endocrinology medical associations; this clearly highlights how they have taken over the issue of trans-children and people in London.

    I have no doubt that this situation may almost certainly be leading to mistreatment, abuse and suicide in the name of therapy.

    This needs to be exposed – and fast

  42. Two good movies dealing with gender non-conforming children are Breakfast with Scot and Ma Vie En Rose.

  43. I have a concern, as echoed by others, that the mother felt the overwhelming need to shout out that if her son might be gay, it would be okay with her. What he did does not equate gayness by any stretch of the imagination. Costume wearing at that age is merely experimentation, and should be treated as such. In his case it could be simple curiosity, or it could be a genuine expression of him being transgender, or of him merely crossdressing, or any combination of gender/identity/and sexuality issues.

    I feel that the mother should have praised her son for demonstrating autonomy and self-determination, and should not have placed a value judgment on the choice itself by equating wearing women’s clothing with being gay. Positively reinforcing a stereotype is still perpetuating a stereotype.

  44. I want an outfit like that…He looks soooooo kewl…..

  45. “I don’t think your son is actually going to grow up to be a ninja” – classic

  46. Spiritbody 3 May 2011, 3:54pm

    “She was told that she should not have “allowed” him to wear the costume because other children would be cruel and ridicule him”

    Its so frustrating when people shift the problem from where it is, onto something else. The bullying children would be the problem surely, not the kid in the dress! Why do people feel the need to address the target of the problem instead of the problem itself.
    And as it turned out of course,in this case, the kids were cool and groovy because they weren’t old enough yet to be turned into ignorant idiots like their parents.

    Boo looked great and a big thumbs up to his mother. x

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