While comments on this post are still welcome, the giveaway is now closed. The winners were announced here.
Raising My Rainbow: Adventures in Raising a Fabulous, Gender Creative Son is the story of C.J., Lori Duron’s sparkly boy-child. Lori sent me two autographed copies of her book to give away to my readers (leave a comment below for a chance to win—and if you are one of the two randomly chosen winners, I will mail you your own copy).
Reading Raising My Rainbow, I realized that Lori’s story is my story too, and it is the story of so very many parents I have spoken to over the years. The book captures the themes that parents of gender-nonconforming children often share, like self blame, fear of the future, and the fierce desire to protect our children from ridicule. She explores the effects that a gender-nonconforming child can have on their parents, siblings, and extended family. She talks about how it feels to be criticized by our families, friends, and strangers—and asks the questions so many parents of gender-nonconforming kids ask: what do we owe these people? What do we owe our children?
The book is lovingly written and touching, matter-of-fact and readable. It left me hungry to see where C.J. and his parents and brother went in the world, what they learned, how they struggled, how they overcame. And it helped that Lori is funny (“I texted [my husband] Matt, who was at work, a photo of C.J.’s crap in the toilet and the picture of him holding Belle at Target.”).
Lori and Matt clearly struggled—and probably continue to struggle, for this is an ever-shifting landscape—for a long time. But Lori realized early on that to accept and support her son was to give him a gift. And this realization helped her to let go of double standards in her own life (e.g., not letting C.J. take his feminine toys out of the house when his brother could take his masculine ones) as she began to see them in the world around her (why can girls wear pants but boys can’t wear a skirt?)
The book shows how our children help us to evolve—and how awkward and uncomfortable it can be to evolve in a context where the people around us are not evolving with us. “There is comfort found in expectations, but when they are squashed when your child is three, four, or five years old, you start to question why they exist at all. You attempt to move on without expectations and try not to be jaded when people around you hold tight to old, comfortable ones.”
In the end, I was left wanting to know more about C. J. and his family. Will his gender identity persist? How will he face teasing and harassment as he gets older? What will his parents do to proactively prevent bullying at his school? Perhaps we’ll find out in a sequel.
We—the mom and dad bloggers of the gender-nonconforming community—welcome Lori, and we welcome her book. Raising My Rainbow is an important contribution to the small but growing library of books affirming gender-nonconforming children to be entirely themselves.
Leave a comment below for a chance to win a copy of Raising My Rainbow. Remember to either include your email address or message me on facebook so that I know how to get in touch with you if you win! Winners will be announced Monday October 7.