Happy Proud To Be Me Day

Today was Proud to Be Me Day at Katie Goldman’s school—Katie is the first grader who was bullied by other kids because she brought a Star Wars water bottle to school. Her awesome mom is putting together a book of all the messages from people who have come out in support of Katie for being exactly who she is. And thanks to her family’s and her school’s support, Katie is back to carrying her Star Wars water bottle to school.

I like to think that every day is Proud To Be Me Day at our house—our official motto is “Let your freak flag fly.” It’s not always easy—Sam, now a third grader, is newly unwilling to admit at school that his favorite color is pink. (Somehow, he’s not afraid to have long hair flowing all the way down his back.) But whether we’re geeks (celebrated so lovingly by stark. raving. mad. mommy on her blog today) or have special needs (it’s Inclusive Schools Week too!) or are pinker or bluer than people think we should be, we need to feel proud of who we are. And we parents are responsible for making space for our kids to feel that pride as often as they can.

There’s excellent new research from The Family Acceptance Project showing that family acceptance of GLBT kids makes all the difference—a measurable and stunning difference, in fact, in their rates of suicide, depression, and substance abuse as these kids grow older. The Family Acceptance Project is also developing a new evidence-based model of wellness, prevention, and care to help families with gender-nonconforming and GLBT kids grow up happy and healthy. (And they’ve made this really incredible video about one family who moved from rejecting their son’s gender expression and sexuality to accepting and celebrating him.)

And so today, on Proud To Be Me Day, I say: Yay for Katie. Yay for Katie’s school, and her family, and all the other schools and families who are working so hard to support their kids. Yay for the Family Acceptance Project, for proving that we’re all on the right track. And most especially: Yay for all the kids who let their freak flags fly.

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Comments

  1. says

    Absolutely loved the video–it brought tears to my eyes. I have questions for you about your son, but I’m not sure what is the appropriate place to ask them. I work in a daycare center, and there are many caregivers who freak out when a boy wants to play with a purse, ladies shoes and babies. I am very firm in insisting that it’s JUST FINE, and to let those boys play with what they want to play with, but I still get a great deal of pressure to censor that kind of play. Sigh.

    • shoffman says

      If you look under the Resource tab on my website, you will find organizations that offer information for caregivers. I really like If You Are Concerned About Your Child’s Gender Behaviors from Children’s National Medical Center–it’s a great handout for caregivers.

      http://www.sarahandianhoffman.com/resources/

      Thank you for countering the bias that you find where you work!

  2. says

    Where was THIS day when I was growing up….I can’t tell you how often I was made fun of for playing with matchbox cars, playing sports, and enjoying a good “boy” haircut.
    I recently cut my hair short again and the rumors have been flying about my um orientation…wth? does it really matter to you who I am with [or who I am not as it is these days lol and I like being me by myself dangit!]
    I recently dressed my girl in jeans and an orange T-shirt because she LOVES the color orange….there was another boy in her toddler class wearing the same thing…well I got teased for dressing my daughter up like a boy….oiy really guys? she was just excited about an ORANGE shirt. She just happens to love all things girly minus pink if she can get it in another color. when will we learn to not tease our children…they are perfect just the way they are.
    I love reading your blog. It’s something not talked about in our family when I was growing up, so good to grow in these areas and discuss them.

  3. says

    Just found your blog and I love it! Thanks for doing your part to make the world a better place. Your son is very lucky to have such an advocate as his mom. My son is just a baby, but I find myself playing the what-if game a lot. “What if he’s autistic?” “What if he’s gay?” “What if he get’s picked on because he’s big/small/nerdy/artsy/etc.” And I guess the answer to all of those things is you quit worrying about it, you tell him to be proud of who he is, you move on and you love the hell out of him!

  4. shoffman says

    Emily, welcome to my blog! It’s true, we can’t control much of who our kids are, but we can control how we love and care of them. I love the way you said this. Please keep coming back and commenting.
    Sarah

    • shoffman says

      JLK, thanks for sharing your blog–I love the post you wrote. You’ve got it–boys have much less leeway to be themselves than girls, and we treat little boys very differently than little girls. But the thing I’ve learned from interviewing parents and from raising two very different kids–a gender-nonconforming boy and a gender-conforming girl–is that no matter HOW we treat them, their gender is hard-wired. Certainly children of either gender suffer more when their gender expression is squelched, and we seem, as a society, to be more fixated on boy-squelching than girl-squelching (though it’s not entirely easy for tomboys either). But no matter what the context in which children are raised, there are going to be masculine males, feminine females, masculine females, feminine males, and everyone in between. How hard we make it for them to be themselves is what I’m interested in talking about.

      Keep reading and commenting! Glad to have you here.

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