When I was little, I wanted to be a boy. I didn’t really know what that meant. I just liked that boys could pee standing up. And their clothes always seemed more comfortable. I didn’t want to BE a boy. But they always got the toys I wanted and got to play games that I liked playing. They wore clothes I thought felt better and in colors that appealed to me more.

However, I was a girl and because of that I had to conform to these ideas of what girls should do. I should wear makeup, have long hair (for your information, having short hair is AMAZING), play with dolls and wear dresses. But here’s the strange thing. It was okay if I went outside the boundaries and wore boys’ sweaters or played boys’ sports. It showed I was tough. I wasn’t a “girly girl” and that’s good because being a girly girl is looked down on in our society. Women who enjoy dresses and jewelry and pedicures are somehow inferior. So, for me to go against the grain and say I didn’t want to be a girly girl, well, was celebrated. Girls, in very specific strange ways, really do get to be anything.

Isn’t that a strange kind of sexism? Boys, on the other hand, are not allowed to go against the grain. They are not allowed to like pink, or things that are frilly, or express an interest in clothing or nail polish. They’re not allowed to dislike sports or cars. They’re not allowed to cross the gender norms of clothing and wear dresses. This is a double-whammy in terms of sexism. This tells boys they don’t get to be whomever they want to be. And this tells girls that their roles are so inferior that boys cannot express any fascination in their gender assigned interests.

Well, here’s the thing. I have a boy who loves pink. He also loves skirts and dresses and his favorite character is Elsa. He also enjoys painting his nails. He also loves cars, likes to run and chase, and has a new interest in dragons.  He’s a boy who has a million different interests. He doesn’t conform to strange notions of gender because gender is not something that has a biological basis. To conform or not conform to ideas of gender mean absolutely nothing. Wonderfully enough, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of boys just like him. There are lots of boys who like the feel of a skirt and sings along with Elsa. And one autumn day a few months ago, I met one. I met a little boy running around in a purple dress at the park.

I approached his mother and asked him if that was her little boy. She seemed a little guarded at first but when I told her I had a little boy who had similar interests, she seemed flushed with relief. She told me how they’ve dealt with rude people in the past and even had people yell at them in public. Luckily, she has a very supportive family who have all given her son dresses to show support. And his older siblings all love him and show only protection. She has an older son who seems so wise and loving and another little boy who was rough and tumble. She didn’t raise any of her boys in a specific fashion. She couldn’t have designed her kids to be a certain way. They all were just born with a map of who they were destined to become… and then they blossomed into who they are — one of her boys just happens to enjoy dresses. Kareece is a great kid who loves to wrestle with his brothers, pretend fight, play with cars and go to the playground. He also loves dresses. I spent a lovely morning with her three sons and two daughters a few weeks ago. Her home was full of love and acceptance. Thank you so much for letting me into your home. Here is her family’s time capsule video: