“You know what’s really dumb?”
Pink pajama-clad Sam was cuddled up next to me on the bed, his long blond hair freshly brushed and damp from the bath. While Sam won’t admit at school that he likes pink things anymore, he still enjoys his pink pajamas at home. He looked me in the eye before going on: “It’s really dumb that it’s OK for girls to wear whatever they want, but it’s not OK for boys.”
I told Sam that next Friday I’d be speaking at a synagogue about this very issue (in honor of Transgender Remembrance Day, which memorializes people who have been killed because of anti-trans hatred). I reminded him of what we have talked about many times: that standards have changed for girls, and they will also—in time—change for boys. “Good,” Sam said. “Because if they don’t, I’m going to yell at those people who keep wanting it not to change.”
I told Sam I do that for him by writing and public speaking (and that I try to use my inside voice). I told him he’s welcome to do that too when he gets older, and until then I would do it for him. He asked about other parents who were working on changing things too, and we talked about the new book My Princess Boy. I decided to show Sam an interview with the author and a supportive therapist, so he could hear other people talk about making the world safe for pink boys.
Sam and I watched the video together. But when the therapist said, “there’s more than one way to be a boy, [and] there’s more than one way to be a girl,” Sam told me to turn the show off. “That’s wrong,” he said, surprising me—I’ve always liked and used that phrase. “They should say that there are lots of ways to be a kid, and people shouldn’t worry about if you’re a boy or a girl—that’s only important for making babies.”
That was the least dumb thing I’d heard all day.