In Raising My Rainbow: Adventures in Raising a Fabulous, Gender Creative Son, blogger Lori Duron shares her experience parenting a young son who prefers skirts and Barbies to trucks and footballs.
What was it like to transform from anonymous blogger to published author?
Terrifying and exciting! I didn’t even tell family or friends when I started the blog. For so long, people would ask for names. But when I did share, a lot of people said, “Whoa, wait! I just want to know you as CJ’s mom.” It wasn’t daunting to write a book. What’s scary is, how much of your family do you make public to further a cause? I’ve never considered myself an advocate or an activist. I just want people to see we’re not weird, just different, and different is okay.
What has come out of sharing your family’s experience?
I couldn’t find blogs or parenting sites that catered to families like ours. Now we have a gender nonconforming playgroup. I love getting e-mails from parents who say that they weren’t enjoying parenting their child until they read my blog. But once they learned to just love their child, and not focus on changing them, it shifted the family dynamic.
Does a formal definition of CJ’s behavior as “gender nonconforming” make it easier on parents, teachers, and peers?
[My older son] Chase was wondering when his brother was going to be more like a boy. As soon as we gave him a name for it, a weight was lifted off Chase’s shoulders. If people say anything about CJ liking girl stuff, Chase is the first to say “oh, yeah, he’s gender nonconforming.” It stops the other kid in their tracks, because it’s such a big official-sounding name. I want [adults] to become aware of it. CJ tells people he’s gender nonconforming. It gives him power, knowing what he is and why he’s different, that there’s a name for his difference, and that there’s other kids out there like him.
What studies would you like to see done on gender nonconformity?
I’m not really interested in studies. If we’re going to spend time and money, I’d like to see us teaching the next generation of kids to just be really great, accepting, kind, and empathetic.
What did you discover when you went back to look at old blog posts?
I didn’t realize how uncomfortable we were before. People think that we’ve always been really accepting, but it was an evolution. In the book, we talk about our struggles and mistakes. When people say it’s a book on parenting, I’m really hesitant, because I am not an expert. My kids will tell you that. It’s a parenting memoir. It’s my experiences.