A brief gender-nonconforming kid resource roundup


Halloween trick-or-treating peanut, Berkeley, CA (2010).

Visual coda to yesterday’s post, in which I mentioned our boy’s Halloween costume choice of last year. I wrote a few words about it at the time, here.  If I were to have to guess now, I’d say there’ll be a long gap ’til the next such outfit makes a Halloween appearance, though of course I could be wrong. In the intervening year, his haberdashery pace car has shifted from Big Sister to Main Boy Chum at Preschool.  For all the complex reasons that are behind such evolving self-understandings. Advancing years, increased exposure to peer groups, push of culture, pull of self, survival instinct; you name it.

The costume  above met a glowing reception throughout the neighborhood last year, though, and not just because there were blinky red lights underneath the tulle (yes there were).  I mean, really. The kid looks better in that outfit than I ever could.  Also? At least the grown-ups in our neighborhood love kids unconditionally and clearly share our conviction that the best thing we can do for them is clear the runway ahead and help them take flight.

Re: clearing the runway and helping kids take flight (into a world they’re in the process of making) – below, I’ve collected a smattering of nifty resources by and for parents of gender nonconforming kids. Halloween’s pretty much the primo occasion for this, since it’s the one day of the year kids have a wide(r) berth to explore performing different identities.

Read moreA brief gender-nonconforming kid resource roundup

Treat or trick!

Halloween: not just for kids. As any student of Bakhtin or Butler will tell you, grown-ups get a lot out of dressing up, too.  For many years, since the kiddles became of trick-or-treating age, I’ve dressed up as a Fred MacMurrayesque dad. Moustache, tie, plastic pipe, sweater, newspaper under my arm, slippers. (Fred would have been cleanshaven, but I couldn’t very well walk around simply looking like a mannish lesbian, could I? I mean, where’s the theatricality in that?)

IMG_2091_2Not realizing the careful periodization in the 1950s, a straight woman friend, mom of one of my daughter’s chums, thought maybe my dad outfit might be improved by rigging up a TV with a sports game on it somehow extended in front of me, maybe with a bowl of chips affixed to one wrist and a beer to the other. At the time we were talking, her husband was off at a day-long 49er’s game (if you factor in the generous tailgating time built in pre-game) while she was saddled with both kids: who’s to blame her for veering toward the Archie Bunkeresque?

A rolling Barcalounger would have really been the only proper way to execute this concept, but then how would I be motivated to get up and reposition it from house to house? The kids are too little yet to be able to push me in a wheeled Barcalounger. You can see the challenge.

One sad year I was a walking ballot, with the exact language of Proposition 8 written out on one side, and the line-up of presidential choices on the other. Suggested votes “X’ed” in, natch. (In the fog of the intervening years, the kids now have it that I was one of the sycophantic playing cards in service to the Queen of Hearts in Alice’s Wonderland. All in all, I felt just about as effectual.)

Read moreTreat or trick!