Monday, May 16, 2016

The Transgender Talk I Never Thought I'd Have with My 6-yr Old Son

by Kim D.

On Friday I shared why I was feeling a bit bitchy, bigoty, and conflicted - click here. As a basic recap, my son's kindergarten class had a new intern last week: a male who appears to be transgendering, in desperate need of a training bra, and wearing drag-queen quality makeup. Writing the post on Friday was cathartic, and I had basically come to the conclusion that my son would probably not notice the things I did about the new intern and that any discussion on my part would be more harmful than helpful.

I was wrong. He did notice it and brought it up Friday afternoon during a play date with his little "girlfriend." The kids had been swimming and while drying off were sitting at the kitchen table playing a round of Monopoly Junior. Halfway through the game, my son excused himself to the restroom and then reappeared sans swimsuit and sporting just a pair of shorts.  I told him he needed to put on a shirt, to which he asked why - his friend wasn't wearing one. She was wearing her swimsuit; however, arguing with a 6 year old can be futile, and I told him simply a boy doesn't walk around shirtless in front of girls.

I ended my decree with saying basically "girls dress like girls, and boys dress like boys - put on a shirt." However, he came back with his own logic: "Not all the time - sometimes boys dress like girls." I was startled and asked why he thought that.  He said, "You know like the guy who painted my foot today at school - he dresses like a girl." [The intern had been helping the kids with a project to make hand and foot prints on pillowcases.]

So he did notice. I changed the subject and ended the discussion in front of his friend; however, later we had "the talk."  It was short and sweet because my son said no way he was ever going to wear makeup, to which I said he never had to unless he decided to become an actor or it was Halloween and he wanted to wear makeup.

But I did explain that there are some men, although very few, who do like to dress like women and wear makeup. I ended with telling him he nor I may truly understand why this young men liked to dress this way; however, one thing was clear. Wearing makeup was how he felt comfortable and that we didn't have to understand it but could respect it. Basically, I told him to have the attitude of "you do you and let me do me" and we can all get along well in this world.  

I fell into the political correctness trap in a way because my son is too vocal and has a frail filter when it comes to sharing his opinion about things.  Had I told him the way the intern was dressing is wrong, which I believe it is wrong to force his preference on young innocent children, there is a good chance he would have returned to school this morning and confronted the intern, perhaps resulting in a visit with the principal, something we have miraculously avoided so far this year. 

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