This is why Halloween is so important to trans and gender non-conforming kids
For trans kids, or children who are gender non-conforming, Halloween provides a unique opportunity to explore and play with gender expression.
It’s the one night of the year that a child can dress up in a way that doesn’t traditionally “match” their assigned gender and no one blinks twice.
Darren Vance, executive director of Rainbow Families and father of a non-binary teen, told the Washington Post: “It’s that once-a-year opportunity where people get free license to push the boundaries of identity.
“For kids who are curious, just the spirit of Halloween, the costuming aspect, provides a perfect opportunity to do that.”
Rainbow Families runs a Halloween party which was started for LGBT+ parents, but it now welcomes a growing number of straight, cisgender parents with LGBT+ kids.
One of the children who attended this year is a 10-year-old trans boy, who came out to his mum this summer by passing her a note that said “I am a boy”. His mother told the Washington Post that he loves Mario Kart and Ru Paul’s Drag Race in equal measure.
She said: “He identifies as male, but that’s a very tiny piece of himself. He’s 10. He loves dressing up as whatever he wants.”
He also loves the Cartoon Network animated series Steven Universe, and this year wanted to go as the feminine alien Garnet, who has been described by writer Rebecca Sugar as the “physical embodiment of a lesbian relationship”. But when he and his mum Jenny struggled to make the costume exactly right, he settled for a genderless inflatable T-rex suit.
That’s not to say that trans, non-binary or gender-creative kids are completely safe from violence and discrimination on Halloween, especially at school, but Halloween grants slightly more immunity.
Adrian, who is non-binary, discovered this during high school. They told Bustle: “It’s the feeling of freedom you get on Halloween… because no one blinks twice at an assigned female at birth person with short hair dressed up as Superboy.
“I walked around with my hair tucked up in a beanie, and when classmates asked me who I was, I told them I was ‘Clark Kent but before he left Kansas’ and no one blinked an eye.”