On June 1, 2015, the athlete once known as Bruce Jenner revealed himself to the world as Caitlyn Jenner.
On July 26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is legally recognized in all fifty states.
Both of these events have led to increased awareness and heated controversy about equality and gender rights.
Because the national news is drawing attention to issues of gender and orientation, my facebook feed is full of moms who allow their children to dress how they want regardless of gender stereotypes. My feed is full of mommy blogs declaring an end to gender “rules.”
I am glad we are talking. I wish we could talk without hatred and anger. I wish we could listen with open hearts and open minds.
It’s my turn to join the conversation.
I had a gender-bending kid long before it was a national news story.
When Boy Hobbit was just a tot, he dearly loved to play dress-up. He paraded around in his sisters’ tutus and sparkly shoes. His favorite outfit of all was a rainbow-colored leopard leotard and shiny, red, Wizard of Oz, Dorothy shoes.
There were a couple of raised eyebrows from time to time, but I couldn’t have cared less. He was pretending to be a princess or a ballerina or a chef or a police officer.
He wore those sparkly Dorothy shoes nearly every day until he fell equally in love with a pair of red crocs.
For Christmas that year, he asked Santa to bring him a tractor or a princess “because I love princesses.” Yes, buddy, you do.
He eventually stopped wearing tutus and sparkles, but one of his favorite colors is still pink.
Do I worry about his gender identity or his sexual orientation? Not even a tiny bit.
We have a second cross-dresser in our house. Baby Hobbit has been wearing boy clothes for the better part of two years. You see, she is over-the-moon crazy about Mickey Mouse.
You can’t buy girl clothes with Mickey Mouse….only Minnie. So that little one has been wearing boy clothes since she first fell in love with Mickey.
I have railed against the sexism of Disney, and then I have shopped in the boy section for my daughter. For the last two summers, she has worn a boy’s swim shirt and shorts at the pool.
It’s not unusual for her to wear a Mickey Mouse football shirt with a tutu or dress-up high heels.
My Boy Hobbit enjoys Sofia the First, and my girl Hobbits love Pokémon and Lego Ninjago.
On our family vacation a few weeks ago, Hobbits #1 and #2 were doing manicures and creating nail art for the little girls. Between four families, there are fifteen kids…..that’s a lot of teeny, tiny fingers and toes.
It didn’t take long for the boys to get in line for American flags on their fingers and toes too. They proudly showed off their nail art to every parent.
Not one parent reprimanded the boys or raised an eyebrow. No one told them that nail polish is for girls. The Hobbits that were giving the manicures didn’t shame the boys or mock them. They simply made designs on little nails, boys and girls alike.
Do I think any of those boys will grow up to question their gender? No. Do I think they will grow up gay? No.
Of course, I can’t know that for sure, but there is one thing I do know without a doubt.
Each of those boys know that their parents love and accept them, regardless of which shade of polish they choose.