BREAKING NEWS: Sam has cut his hair.

Yes, it’s true. Sam has cut his hair. But maybe not for the reason you think. And here to tell you about it is today’s guest blogger, Ian Hoffman, my husband and the co-author of our forthcoming book, Jacob’s New Dress (now available for preorder on Amazon, in case you haven’t heard me say that five times before. Sorry, I’m excited.) Welcome Ian!

Sam cut his hair.  Not because he was tired of people mistaking him for a girl.  Not because he wanted to look like the rest of the boys in his class.  Not because he wanted to be able to safely use a public men’s room by himself.

No, Sam cut his hair because he wanted to be Dr. Who for Halloween.  The 11th Doctor, to be precise.  For those who don’t follow BBC science-fiction television, Dr. Who is a humanoid alien who travels time and space bringing peace to the universe (generally).  The Doctor is brilliant, and funny, and curious, and lonely.  He’s Sam’s hero.

For the first time since preschool Sam’s blonde hair does not fall past his shoulders.  For the first time in 8 years a stranger referred to Sam as “he” instead of “she.”  Everyone who knows Sam is shocked–they want to know what happened.  Sam’s school principal pulled me aside to make sure everything was OK.    What does Sam’s haircut  mean? 

Sam knows what it means.  He’s one step closer to being the Doctor.  The 11th Doctor, to be precise.

-Ian Hoffman



    • shoffman says

      It went great. He felt so good about it. I was nervous, because the last time we cut his hair short–when he was four–he cried for two weeks straight whenever he looked in a mirror. We even had to close the window shades at night because he could see his reflection. When he’d see himself, he sobbed, “When I look in the mirror I think of boys, and I want to think of girls!” It was totally traumatic and we never cut his hair after that (except for trims). I love that this was his decision, and it was for all the right reasons.

  1. mark says

    now that was funny, what does his haircut mean!!! in other words, we’ve fully accepted Sam as he is, asking ourselves long ago what does this mean by how he’s presenting, but now that we know it’s nothing specifically. now when different is different then that must mean something. what a hoot!

    • shoffman says

      In our parenting journey we’ve always tried to give our kids total acceptance of their identities, whatever they may be. So we gave Sam as much reinforcement for his femininity as we gave our daughter for hers–though, as a feminist, it felt strange to me to validate Ruby’s interest in princesses! I had to reevaluate my old perceptions and opinions about gender identity and nature vs. nurture, and just let them both be as they are. Both our kids taught us that gender is innate–the “nurture” part of the equation is the accepting or rejecting environment in which our kids live. And so we will love Sam with his short hair as much as we loved him with his long :-)

      It also brings up questions of my own identity, as the parent of a less-gender-nonconforming child! Although I am solid in my commitment to promoting gender equality for all kids. And….as an opera-loving, sports-hating boy who used to have long hair and wear a dress, he’s still not your average boy.

  2. Abigail says

    I cannot think of a more appropriate reason for Sam to cut his hair. Your family is truly an inspiration, thank you so much for sharing your story.

  3. Heather says

    I happened across this blog by chance, through a link of a link from Gender Spectrum. It just struck my funny bone – my daughter almost grew her hair out so that she could be the 11th doctor for Halloween! Lol, we looked at pictures of Matt Smith’s hairstyle online, and she ultimately decided the bangs were too long and might end up being hard to take care of. Nonetheless, she has been dressing as the good Doctor almost daily – bow tie, suspenders, and blazer included – for about 6 weeks now. Thank you for a fun and relatable blog post!

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