Sunday, September 2, 2012

Good Parenting

 
 
It's hard to have a transgendered child.  Every parent wants their offspring to be happy and most believe gender non-conformity threatens that.  In the past, parents reacted -- with the approval of the medical community -- by prohibiting and punishing "incorrect" expression of gender.  That approach, I can tell you from personal experience, neither works nor leads to happiness.
 
Recently, with new encouragement from mental health professionals, parents are being urged to allow their children freedom to explore non-conforming gender expression, especially in early youth.  Social activists support this as well.  The New York Times devoted a lengthy article to this issue, promoted on the cover of their Sunday magazine, and reported that children allowed to be themselves are happy.  Very happy.  The article mentioned a summer camp where TG children can go to explore gender variance in the company of others like them.

A little while ago, a story surfaced (here) about a German family whose young son wants to wear dresses.  The son insists on expressing himself in feminine clothing and his parents have chosen to allow it.

What sets this story apart is surprising support the boy receives from his father.  When the family lived in a city (West Berlin), the child's preference wasn't a big deal but, when the family moved to a small town, the entire community gossiped about it and made it into a huge problem.  The father, to show public support of his son in front of the small-minded villagers, started appearing in public with his son WEARING A SKIRT.  Implicitly supporting his son's choice of dresses, dad wore a skirt to show people there is nothing wrong or bad about female dress.

It's a rare man who can be so mature as to do this for his child.  Here's a picture...




What do you think?

P.S., For a terrific drama on this subject, see "Ma Vie En Rose".

P.P.S., Thanks, Michi, for alerting me to this inspiring story with your tweet.

32 comments:

  1. A loving supportive parent is all to rare. And you don't have to be transgendered to need one. I wish all parents could be so gracious.

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  2. I think I love a man who is so caring - and daring. I would love to see this child grow up. Dad needs to blog :)

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  3. I also loved both recent articles! I wish the pace of cultural change away from a rigid artificially-constructed binary maintained by judgement and harsh social sanctions and toward a fluid natural spectrum with attributes of freedom and celebration were not so glacial. That dad is a superstar. :)

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  4. I didn't even realize the dad was wearing a skirt when I just saw the photo. I heard this story on the news, my in-laws were watching in the other room - but I had not seen the pictures.

    I think it's cool that the dad is supporting his son. I have actually hung out with guys who wear skirts as normal clothes. They're usually more 'masculine' skirts in cargo styles, but whatever floats your boat. Haters need to stop hatin'.

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  5. I saw this a couple of days ago and I think it's great. I think we will see a lot more of this to come... it's very exciting!

    BTW, Ally, I really enjoy your blog - your outfit posts, your "what I saw today" pictorials, and other ones that make me go "hmmm". It may be corny to say this but, I always smile when I read your blog. Thanks for putting yourself out there!!! ~Marnie

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    1. Thank you, Marnie. Making readers smile is exactly the response I hope to create!

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  6. What an inspiring post. What a wonderful Father that little boy has. I think many of us boomers wish we had had better father's. My own was distant and abusive although he probably would not agree with that assessment.

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  7. what a lovely story and such a kind caring father! he and his understanding will be sure to add much to that little boys upbringing.

    ps can I just say how much I enjoy your blog, I discovered it only recently when I popped on to read a few posts....over an hour later and I was still reading :) really like it and if its ok I'll pop on often to have a read

    from Dellene :) (in Australia)

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    1. Hi Dellene! Nice to meet you.

      You're welcome to visit anytime. I'll make us some tea...

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  8. That picture almost made me cry. I love it when parents can be accepting of their children's life choices. My parents have never been anything but supportive, so I am one of the lucky ones.

    http://www.glamkittenslitterbox.com/
    Twitter: @GlamKitten88

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    1. In the few times you've mentioned your mom, I got the impression she's special. Lucky you, Bonnie.

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  9. I understand that at the begginning and at times it can be very hard but at the end of the day, its your child and you have to accept it as it is!
    So thumbs up for all these open minded parents!
    xo

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  10. What a beautiful picture. I just love it. What a wonderfully understanding parent who puts the child first. Very heart warming.

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  11. That father is one in a million. This is such a cool story and I may reference this blog post later in the semester when my students begin to discuss gender.

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  12. This loving and accepting father has brought tears to my eyes! So awesome!

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  13. Now that's a REAL father. Thanks for sharing the article.

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  14. P.S. I'm hosting a clothing swap. You're invited.

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  15. Wonderful! It's great to see parents opening up and letting kids find themselves in their own way. Having been born in the era of lousy dads myself, I applaud the boy's father for the love and commitment he shows.

    I'm sure you've already imagined what your own life would be like if your parents had supported you in the same way, and if so I would love to hear about it. Would you do a post about it? I really suspect there may be elements of that imagined life that are still within your reach!

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    1. Now THAT is a wonderful idea, Audi. I love how smart you are.

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  16. my boys love heels and dress up and i love embracing that!
    Xo Megan

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  17. Hopefully there will be more and more dads that react this way, so that their sons finally could express who they really are and feel without fears of being judged. I'm glad to see that (even if slowly) things and mentality are changing.

    Life is a romantic poem

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  18. i think this is GREAT parenting and i hope that this is how more and more parents choose to raise their children in the future. even if their child is not transgendered--even if it's just that their little boy prefers dolls or their little girl prefers trucks--i hope that progress means that more and more parents accept and love this about their kids.

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  19. Love this. I saw this the other day, and it made me tear up. Immediately emailed it to all my friends.

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  20. The support by this father is admirable, brave, forward thinking and full of love. Very touching.
    Makes me think of Brad and Angelina's cute little Shiloh and how they allow her to dress in the clothing of her choice...which is more what one would think of as "boy clothes". People are progressing in their open mindedness...but it has been a slow process...and does not reach everyone. One must look on the positive side and be thankful for these strides that have been made and try to outreach to those that haven't had this kind of support from their family, friends and community.

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    1. Your response is full of compassion and insight, Lisa, qualities I've come to respect in you.

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  21. I think its important that this subject is talked about, the more we know the better we can react and understand anything.
    I think its truly spectacular that this father is doing this for his son- i am speechless - how amazing.

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  22. I think this is such a wonderful father, and a perfect example of how to deal with a child who may be transgender: with love, acceptance and support. It can't be easy for the dad, but he isn't making his son suffer for it. Lovely.

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  23. We need more amazing parents like this Dad in this turbulent world of ours ... our kids have enough to deal with and our support it really important.

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  24. There was actually something posted on Hellogiggles today that made me think of this post:

    http://hellogiggles.com/branglinas-child-is-just-like-mine

    Society, especially when it comes to gender roles, is so one-sided. It was okay for me to dress like a tomboy + play sports, but not okay for guys to dress in skirts/dresses + play with makeup. Totally lame. So proud of these parents who are standing alongside their babies, and letting them be who they are.

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  25. Love it. It's so nice to see parents being so open-minded and supportive.

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  26. That dad should win Father of the Year. Except my husband will get it. heehee But, seriously, I applaud his supportive efforts, and I'd do anything like that for my child without hesitation. There is always a balance, though - something you and I have talked about - about not forcing gender "standards" OR forcing gender neutrality. Just let kids be who they are.

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