Mom and book author Lori Duron and the rest of the Duron family have been making recent headlines because C.J., their youngest son, doesn’t exactly conform to society’s idea about how boys should dress or play. Six year-old C.J. is a fan of Barbie, pink tutus, Disney princesses, and dressing up in ‘sassy’ outfits — and according to this MSN video, he refers to himself as gender non-conformist. Strong words for a six year-old. C.J.’s love of all things pink and girly inspired his mom to start an, at the time, anonymous blog, “Raising my Rainbow” which, to her surprise, spread like wildfire, quickly drawing in a million visitors from over 170 countries. Her new book by the same name, Raising My Rainbow, covers the family’s journey of life with a gender-creative son. In NBC’s words, the book looks at how the family, “Navigates the often challenging but never dull privilege of raising a slightly effeminate, possibly gay, totally fabulous son.”
While the issue of raising a boy who likes girls clothing and toys may be tough for some parents to navigate, it’s surprising how popular this topic is. For one thing, all kids are a challenge to raise. Parenting is hard work. Saying it’s harder or more rewarding to raise a child who is outside the box seems a little bizarre to me. Many boys like “girl” items and many young girls like “boy” items. Some people still do believe girls should play with Barbie while boys should play with trucks, but overall, many people I meet don’t seem to care if their child plays with a wide range of toys or even if they dress up in the opposite gender’s clothes.
It’s also a little odd to me that this family is being portrayed as super accepting “in spite” of their son’s preferences. Whether or not your son likes dolls or race cars, shouldn’t acceptance be the rule, rather than the call-out exception? Additionally, even if your child likes mostly girl or mostly boy items, is that a great reason to make guesses about their future selves? The whole idea of a family or the media making guesses about if this six-year-old is gay (or not) is a little disturbing to me. Why not let kids be kids? My sister, the ultimate tomboy as a child is now very into “girl” stuff. My brother, who was forced into playing dolls and dress-up due to having two older sisters is now all about cars and sports. I’m not sure it’s wise to assume your child will be one way or the other based on childhood preferences. Maybe parents should accept their child at all age levels, not make guesses now about them being straight, gay or transgender in the future.