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Cop's Wife Isn't the Only Parent Whose Son Wants to Dress Like a Girl

By carolyncastiglia |

My Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis

My Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis

A blogger known as Cop’s Wife made a splash this week with her blog post My Son Is Gay.  She’s received an overwhelming amount of support for encouraging her 5-year-old son, whom she identifies as “Boo,” to dress as Daphne from Scooby-Doo for Halloween.  But she’s not the only mom in America with a young son who enjoys dressing like a girl.  Cheryl Kilodavis has a 5-year-old son named Dyson, about whom she wrote the children’s book My Princess Boy, a tome Kilodavis hopes will be used as an anti-bullying tool nationwide.

Kilodavis told Margaret Larson of New Day Northwest, “Dyson was almost 2 years old when he started having a unique eye for everything beautiful.  Anything pink or sparkly – he just had a really, really great eye.”

Kilodavis says understanding and accepting her son’s flair for all things girly was initially a challenge.

It was a struggle for me at first.  The first public display we had of it was picking him up from his daycare.  He ran up to me in a bright red sequined dress and pink heels and I immediately felt uncomfortable.  I looked around to see the other parents looking at him…. so I went to the store that evening and purchased some dress-up clothes for boys and put them in the dress-up closet, because I thought, ‘Well there must not be enough options that are pretty for boys.’  So I got some really pretty kung-fu outfits and things like that.  The next day when I showed up, he greeted me in a yellow dress.  So I knew then, this wasn’t about a gender specification for him, it was just about what he thought was really pretty and what he enjoyed to do.

Dr. Debora Vilhauer, a child psychologist who worked with Dyson, fully supports the young boy’s creative expression and the way his mother is cultivating it.  Vilhauer says, “I think it’s important for parents to keep in mind that you invest now in your child, or you pay later.  That if we can as parents support our child’s preferences and passions and show them that we love them for who they are, they’re much less likely to experience anxiety and depression as teenagers and young adults.”  Amen.

Kilodavis admits that her first instinct was to pathologize her son’s love of women’s wear, because “the only message you get out there is that there’s a gender confusion issue.”  She says she consulted her family doctor, Dr. Vilhauer and Dyson’s teachers for guidance.  Ultimately, she wrote the book to share her feelings about being bullied by other people because of her son’s preferences.

In a particularly sad/sweet passage of the book, Kilodavis writes:

I love my princess boy.  When we go shopping he is the happiest when looking at girls’ clothes, but when he says he wants to buy a pink bag or a sparkly dress, people stare at him.  When he buys girl things they laugh at him, and then they laugh at me.  It hurts us both.

Dyson’s Dad, Dean Kilodavis, is remarkably secure in his manhood, saying, “I just want him to be happy and healthy, and if this is the form he chooses to express himself, that’s fine.  I just, in the end, when he’s grown up, I want him to be able to say, no matter what he chooses, ’I'm so glad my parents supported me.’  He knows he has a sanctuary at home, and it should be with his parents.”

There is a sense in listening to Cheryl and Dean speak that they both probably have an idea that their son is gay, but are less willing to shout it out like Cop’s Wife.  Cop’s Wife has been criticized for outing her son on the Internet and for forcing him to wear the Daphne costume after he showed reservations.  Personally, I don’t see any difference between giving your kid who you know likes to dress in girls’ clothes the permission to do so and making your male infant wear a onesie that says “Boob Man.”  Why is it okay to encourage little boys to be manly and “straight” and not okay to encourage boys to be girly and “gay?”

When I wrote a post back in September about “prehomosexuals” and the idea that gender-bending behavior in youth is a reliable indicator that a child will grow up to be gay, a commenter asked, “Why are we even supposed to be thinking about our children’s sexual orientation at all? They are children for crying out loud! Geez, let them be kids–unabashed happiness, non-judgment, pure bliss.”  I appreciate the sentiment, but labeling a child as gay, as Cop’s Mom has, isn’t about sexualizing him.  Being gay involves more than sexual orientation in the same way that being Jewish involves more than religion.  Being gay means living your life outside of hetero norms, and we should all be proud of the parents today who are enlightened and open enough to accept the fact that their child might be gay from birth, rather than dealing with their orientation as a crisis that comes with puberty, or worse, as our grandparent’s generation did, by avoiding the issue altogether.

I have friends who were so worried about coming out to their parents, only to hear, “We know, sweetie.”  I don’t see anything wrong with Cop’s Mom joining the Proud Parents movement a bit ahead of schedule.  And if Boo and/or Princess Boy hit puberty and show interest in girls, then maybe we all have the next great “executive transvestites” on our hands, as Eddie Izzard would say.  Regardless, the problem is not with their parents.  The problem is with those who can’t handle sequined-covered little boys making the world a bit brighter – and more gay.

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About carolyncastiglia

carolyncastiglia

carolyncastiglia

Carolyn Castiglia is a New York-based comedian/writer wowing audiences with her stand-up and freestyle rap. She’s appeared in TONY, The NY Post, The Idiot’s Guide to Jokes and Life & Style. You can find Carolyn’s writing elsewhere online at MarieClaire.com and The Huffington Post. Read bio and latest posts → Read Carolyn's latest posts →

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11 thoughts on “Cop's Wife Isn't the Only Parent Whose Son Wants to Dress Like a Girl

  1. Bethany says:

    I cried when I read Cop Mom’s post, and I applaud her and these other parents’ efforts to love and support their children as they are. She’s a terrific mom with a fantastic sense of who her son is. But I got uncomfortable when the piece hit CNN. Our children will eventually grow up to be independent adults, and I wonder what they’ll think of the intensely personal things we wrote about them on the Internet. Five years old is way too young to decide whether you want to be a poster child — no matter how important the cause.

  2. Crystal says:

    I don’t like that everyone is insisting that Cops Wife outed her son as gay. She didn’t. The title of the piece is “My Son Is Gay” and the very first line of it says “Or he’s not.” She’s accepting it as a possibility without judging his behavior as indicative of sexual orientation. When my son kissed another boy in Kindergarten, his bus driver called me up and told me I needed to stop my son from “being gay” on the bus. When I talked to my son about it, I told him kissing wasn’t appropriate at school, leaving out the male/female discussion entirely because it wasn’t the person he kissed that was important, it was the behavior of kissing. My son was entirely baffled by the whole thing, he kisses his brother, he kisses his sister, he kisses his dad and mom and grandpa and grandmom and he didn’t see any difference between that affection and affection towards a friend.

    Cop’s Wife’s push to make her son follow through on his decision of the costume wasn’t pushing something against his will. It was reinforcement of him being himself, even when he’s not sure he’s strong enough to do so.

  3. esterlulady says:

    My son is 3 and went out the door on Halloween as a cross between rainbow bright and a butterfly (home made contraption). Then 30 minutes later he put on his intended costume of buzz light year. He also is in a dance class and loves it. But he also is an active, creative character who will one day probably take broadway or some performance art scene by storm….does this mean he is gay. I dunno. But who cares? He is 3! I think what is does mean is that there are many adults that are ready to jump the gun on labeling kids just as they unfairly label particular activities or likes or dislikes as “feminine” or “gay”. On that note though, I am so glad this is being written and talked about. I feel like some silly progressive for “letting” my son take dance class. Thanks for this article and I can’t wait to get a second to read Cop’s Mom’s blog post.

  4. Lisa says:

    My son will always pull girl clothes out when he needs to change his clothes at daycare and his cubby is bare. He likes them because they are pretty and not boring. On the other hand, he really enjoys picking out boy shirts that aren’t boring at the store.

    If given a choice between interesting boy stuff and interesting girl stuff, he will be happy with the boy stuff. But if the boy stuff is boring *especially all black), girl stuff it is.

    For now that is fine but when he goes to elementary school, I may have to be firm about not taking something girly to school to protect him.

  5. Linda, the original one says:

    Am I the only one who thinks it’s kind of weird that so many parents are questioning their children’s sexuality in PRESCHOOL, based on things like playing dress up and taking DANCE, for G-d’s sake? I have no preference regarding my childrens’ future sexual orientations. Really. That being said, it never even occurred to me that things like dance class, dress up, fingernail painting, wearing pink, putting on long wigs, etc… etc.. etc… had any particular significance for my preschool aged sons. In fact, I think those are things that all boys do, if they’re allowed and don’t have idiot parents who think taking dance and wearing nail polish is going to “make ‘em gay.”

  6. Lisa says:

    Linda, no, I don’t think my son is gay. He just likes pretty stuff and boys stuff can be dull. But I don’t want him made fun of in elementary school for this.

  7. Sarah Hoffman says:

    I am a writer and the mother of a “pink boy,” a boy like Dyson or Boo. Here’s a post on my blog about the likelihood that a pink boy will be gay—and why we shouldn’t worry about it.

    http://www.sarahhoffmanwriter.com/2009/09/so-gay-or-not/

    http://www.sarahhoffmanwriter.com/2009/09/so-gay-or-not/

  8. Bob Fairlane says:

    “cops wife” is scum for trying to turn her kid gay. Sick broad!

  9. gidget says:

    Some people are so uptight about this! It is Halloween! They are kids! my brother used to dress as a girl almost every halloween because he thought it was hilarious that people thought he was such a pretty little girl (he had sparkly blue eyes). He grew up to be a heterosexual. My other brother, who is also heterosexual, loves to decorate his house and loves to clothes shop with his 10 year old daughter. They are both typical “guys”. Other gay men I know are not effeminiate at all. Gender and sexuality are fluid and mixable and do not fit into little boxes. My sons dress as ninjas and superheroes and then the next minute they have a dolly in a stroller and want to have tea parties. Let people be people! Let children be children and stop forcing adult ideas about Gender roles and sexuality on them. BTW – my husband is a chef too so my sons think only boys cook.

  10. bob says:

    I disagree strongly with what you seem to be saying when you say “Being gay means living your life outside of hetero norms” because you say it in the context of not sexualizing children. Yes, gay people live outside hetero norms, but hetero people can also live outside the norms. If a girl can play with trucks and ride a bike and wear pants without being pre-lesbian, then a boy can do the equivalent without being pre-gay. Being homosexual is about being sexually attracted to members of the same sex, and that is it. Everything else is cultural window dressing and conflating the two makes you barely any different from the parents that objected to Boo’s Daphne costume who you so despise.

  11. enlightened being says:

    dressing in girls clothes does not make you gay most crossdressers are straight and most transsexuals are bi or lesbians

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