Pink Boys in the NY Times

This Sunday’s New York Times magazine will hold an excellent article by Ruth Padawer about pink boys, which you can read today on the Times website. I spoke with Ruth many times over the last year as she researched this story, which turned out to be a thoughtful, insightful, and comprehensive story about parents raising sons who defy gender norms. (Interestingly, her editor decided that Ruth shouldn’t feature Sam because he, no longer being a dress-wearer, was not enough of a pink boy! It’s true…he’s more of a vibrant purple these days.) The article is beautifully illustrated by Lindsay Morris’s evocative photos of young boys in feminine dress. I encourage you to read it and add your voice to the comments at the end. Many thanks to Ruth Padawer for this fine piece of journalism, as well as her generosity of spirit and open heart.



  1. Matheus Kramer says

    You will rot in hell for submit your kid to this! Are you allowing him to play with matches too? You are using your son to advance your crazy liberal views!

  2. says

    I do, actually, let my son play with matches. It’s my understanding that most chemists were once firebugs; my husband (who is a scientist) tells me that Dow chemical started a summer camp for kids like this on the grounds that they are tomorrow’s future chemists.

    Of course, I make sure that my son, who has hair down to his butt, ties it back before any fire play. Safety first!

  3. Jere says

    OMG I am crying right now! I have been looking for other parents with kids like mine! I have felt lost and alone not sure where to go with what my son was asking of me! I want to make sure I am doing this okay that I am not screwing him up for life! No other parent has any clue what this is like! You don’t expect it out of your son..theres no books out there on how to raise a child who wants to wear dresses or be a girl. If you can email me more groups that maybe meet or blogs or anything at all that would be amazing!! I am so thankful I found this!!

    • shoffman says

      Jere, I’m so glad that you are no longer feeling lost and alone. You are, truly, not either one! Check out the Resources page of my blog, and the best place to start is the top resource–the Children’s National Medical Center list serve. So many caring, supportive, knowledgable parents await you!

    • Lara says

      I am always looking out there for parents who are going through what I am going through. I have a almost 5 year old who now lives as a girl. I would love to connect with others who are going through the same journey. I am truly an advocate for her and am so proud of the strong person she is growing into. I learn from her daily!

      • shoffman says

        Welcome, Lara! See the above comment–I hope you’ll join the list serve! I’m so happy to hear that you are such an advocate for your daughter.

  4. Jere says

    My son is 12 and this year he has made a 180. 0-60 in like one day! I want to allow him to be himself outside of the house. I guess I need to be prepared just as much as he needs to be prepared for the “looks” I have allowed him to grow his hair out its not all the way grown out yet but he said he wants it to his shoulders a bob look (he has curly hair). BUT his request for high heels is where I had to draw the line. My thought on those was he is 12 and wither he was a male or female I wouldn’t let my 12 year old daughter wear heels. It can screw up his feet. So he asked for flats. I am thinking about leaning towards allowing him the flats BUT he has to pick tennis shoes cause well he needs those for school anyhow and allowing him to pick a few girl type shirts out and thats just to get the kid out of my closet…lol My dilemma is his father! We are in the middle of a divorce and I don’t know how to approach his dad and just tell him I AM going to do this and he can accept or not. I know his dad is having a hard time with it all but he is trying his best to not show it. Any suggestions?

    • shoffman says

      I think that the rule you apply to your son’s requests–that you’d make the same choice whether he’s a boy or a girl–is sound. As for your soon-to-be-ex-husband, I suggest that you find some support for both of you. The list serve I mentioned is a great place to talk these things out, and also to learn that you are not alone in having a spousal conflict over how to treat your son. For whatever reason, fathers sometimes have a harder time than mothers accepting their sons’ gender-nonconformity–perhaps because they know how brutal other children (and the world) can be toward boys who are different, and they want their child to be accepted and not bullied. Children’s National Medical Center also puts out a great brochure, which you can find on their website, for parents and other caregivers who have questions about their child’s gender expression. It’s a great place to start. And a wise therapist can be so helpful.

  5. Melissa says

    I have a 5 year old who is a princess boy. As he has recently turned 5 my husband and I are realizing this isn’t something our son is growing our of, as everyone has said he will. For his birthday he asked for all girl dress up outfits and toys saying that he doesn’t have enough of it at home. So went and bought him a bunch of “girly” stuff. It made me so happy to see his face light up at the gifts. I have decided to fully support my nonconforming son and am trying to find support in Los Angeles. I am so scared for him and hope im makeing the right decision for him and our family. Thanks for sharing your story and struggles and for helping others in this situation.

  6. Lindsay says

    Love your blog, youre an awesome mom and great inspiration. More power to you. Your family is lovely!

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