Dyson Kidodavis loves to play dress up. His mother went to pick him up at daycare to find her boy dressed in a red sequin dress and pink heels. This initially made his mother uncomfortable and so she purchased boy’s clothing and pretty king fu costumes for the dress up closet at the school. The boys clothing didn’t interest him and when she picked him up again, he was wearing a yellow dress. At this time, his parents could have given into the pressure and forced their son to conform to his perceived gender, but instead they chose to love and support him unequivocally.
His mother Cheryl wrote a book entitled My Princess Boy, which is now being used by her son’s school as an anti-bullying tool.
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 girls things, they laugh at him and then they laugh at me; it hurts us both.
In an interview his father had this to say:
I’m fine with it. I just want him to be happy and healthy. This is the form he chooses to express himself; that’s fine. In the end, when he’s grown up, I want him to say no matter what he chooses that I’m so glad that my parents supported me, or I can’t believe I did that or I’m glad that I was accepted for who I am. That’s the important thing. He knows that he has a sanctuary at home and it should be with his parents.
There isn’t a single member of Dyson’s immediate family that is not supportive of him and this is a truly wonderful thing. Far too often, the moment a child shows an interest that we deem to be gender non-conforming, they are shamed and forced to change their behaviour. This is based in cissexism and our binary view of gender. This essentialist understanding of gender is harmful to both boys and girls. These children are ostracized and attacked, while adults either stand by or encourage the behaviour. As we have come to see due to the recent suicides of LGBT members, this can lead to terrible results. What harm does a 4 year old boy in a pretty dress really do?
I hope that other parents watching this see that there is nothing to fear and that gender non-conforming kids are beautiful and special. There is no need to pressure them to change, because they are perfect the way that they are. I also hope that other parents take the time to talk to their children about bullying and the fact that it is okay to be different. What matters is if someone is a good person. Children can be taught to be accepting or they can be taught to hate. It really is about the community that surrounds them.