When boys wear dresses: What does it mean?

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Source:   —  April 07, 2016, at 3:37 PM

J. discovered Barbie at age two and became an instant fan. She worried a few months later when C. J. fashioned a “dress” from her tank top and accessorized with her plum-colored heels.

When boys wear dresses: What does it mean?

Lori Duron worried when her son C. J. discovered Barbie at age two and became an instant fan. She worried a few months later when C. J. fashioned a “dress” from her tank top and accessorized with her plum-colored heels. She worried when her confident, cheerful tiny boy gravitated to all things pink, sparkly and fabulous, from nail polish to Disney Princesses.

Was C. J. going through a phase, she wondered?

Was he transgender? What'd people say?

“It’s so personal when it’s your kid,” says Duron, author of the memoir “Raising My Rainbow: Adventures in Raising a Fabulous, Gender Creative Son.” “A lot of people look a boy in a skirt and think there’s something incorrect with them and they necessity to be fixed, so there’s this urge to get care of the situation or get care of your baby and protect them.”

At a time when there’s increasing awareness of transgender adults, the youngest gender-nonconforming Americans are also starting to arrive forward. That includes the kids who are adamant about having been born in the incorrect body, as well as a much larger grouping of kids who consistently and markedly defy gender norms, but in ways that aren’t as simple to categorize: boys love C. J. who like dolls and dress-up but don’t identify as girls; girls who hold their hair short, refuse to wear dresses and sometimes declare they wish to be boys.

Number one knows how many of these kids there are or whether any one kid will grow up to be gay, straight or transgender.

But parents and health professionals, who are increasingly embracing the idea that these kids necessity to be accepted precisely as they are, declare there’s a lot of advice they can proposal to parents embarking on what can seem love a perilous journey.

“What we can declare with certainty is that we know what every baby needs,” says Dr. Lisa Simons, a pediatrician at Lurie Children’s Hospital’s Gender and Sex Development Program.

“Every baby needs to be loved for who they're right now – even if that changes over time.”

For Duron and her husband, Matt, a police officer, that approach meant allowing C. J. to fully examine his traditionally feminine interests in a supportive residence environment, while they figured out how to hold him secure in the larger world. In time, they allowed C. J. to bring his “girl toys” to the grocery store, just as his traditionally masculine older brother, Chase, brought his boy toys. It only seemed fair, says Duron, who about life with C. J.

She says she also reached out to C. J.’s preschool instructor before class started, explaining his gender nonconformity, and was pleased with the response.

“I attempt not to obtain defensive,” says Duron, thirty-eight, of Orange County, Calif. “C. J. has really taught me to hope for the best from people, because a lot of the time they meet that expectation.”

Studies of adult outcomes for gender nonconforming children tend to be small, outdated and focused on children who get professional treatment for significant discomfort with their birth gender. They discover that the vast majority of these kids stop wanting to be the opposite sex after puberty, with only two to twenty-seven % of children continuing to perceive serious discomfort with their birth gender in adulthood, according to a two thousand eleven study in Clinical Baby Psychology and Psychiatry.

Studies indicate that gender nonconforming kids are more likely than average to grow up to be homosexual or bisexual, but again, those studies are tiny and focused on children experiencing distress over their birth gender. Studies discover that anywhere from about twenty-four % to eighty-two % of those kids may grow up to be homosexual or bisexual.

As a common rule, the kids who are most “insistent, consistent and persistent” about changing their gender are the ones who are most likely to grow up to be transgender, says Diane Ehrensaft, director of mental health at the Univ of California, San Francisco, Baby and Adolescent Gender Center.

“They will typically say, ‘I am a girl,' not, ‘I wish I were.’ They frequently don’t love their bodies and will declare things like, ‘Why did God obtain it wrong?' or, ‘Mommy, can you keep me back inside, so I can arrive out with the right parts?' Their play isn’t fanciful – they’re serious. They’re frequently so distressed if people don’t hear to them, and if they’re allowed to socially transition (or live as the opposite sex), they typically obtain happier. They perk up.”

Sarah Hoffman, co-author of the picture book, “Jacob’s New Dress,” says that her son Sam, who wore dresses to school when he was small but presently prefers boy clothes, had some lonely years when girls stopped wanting to play with boys. But today, she says, he’s doing great. At thirteenth, he serves on the learner council, has both male and female friends, and loves opera, building computers and math.

“He’s so happy,” Hoffman says. “I think there’s something about going through a lot of early life challenges that built his confidence and his sense of self.”

Duron says C. J., now nine, is also in a good place.

He’s doing well at school, has a grouping of near female friends, and enjoys gymnastics, baking, art, watching HGTV and making things for his dollhouse.

“It’s a really colorful life we have, and a lot of it's because our kids are so different,” Duron says.

“They expose me to such different things – from “Minecraft” to princesses. It can really broaden your world and your heart and your brain if you just kind of let it and have fun with it.”

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