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The First Time My Son Chose To Wear A Dress In Public

It was the day before an event for which I was speaking. I had just finished up work and was heading out for the day when I realized this would be the last opportunity to run some last minute errands before my speaking event Exercise & Fitness. I had my 10-year-old son with me since he attends school where I work. Our first stop was going to be at a women’s clothing store to pick up some accessories that matched my dress Cycling Bottoms. I had just been in there to purchase my new dress Tops & T-Shirts. The store was nice, but not fancy, with a huge display of bright and colorful spring ensembles and dresses in the latest trending patterns and fabrics. I knew that my son would be in complete awe.

As I’ve written about before, my youngest child is gender creative. This means that he does not want to change his anatomy or be a girl (at least not at this point in his life) Knickers & Bras. He simply prefers all the things that are marketed to girls, and tends to bond better with girls than with boys. He has a real appreciation for fabrics, textures, and dresses. He has been this way all of his life ― it’s just who he is.

I told my son where I had to go. He had not been inside a women’s clothing store with me before ― at least not in recent years, because I actually hate shopping and hardly ever shop for new clothes. As we were driving there, my son asked if he would be able to browse the dresses while I looked at accessories. I knew the store was small enough that I could keep my eye on him, so I said yes. He then expressed interest in looking at dresses in his size if there were any. He had grown out of all his princess costumes, which are mostly made for girls ages 2-6. Plus, he had been wanting an actual, “real” dress. Not just a princess dress-up costume Thermal Underwear. Then he asked if he could maybe even try one on. I said, “Sure, why not?!” My son was suddenly super excited.

But then I realized, “oh, wait a second… I guess he actually can’t do that, because this is North Carolina ― the state that passed HB2” (a.k.a. “the bathroom bill,” a.k.a. the “public facilities privacy & security act”), which states in no unclear terms that a person can only use the public restroom/changing room/locker room/shower facility, etc., that matches the gender assigned to them on their birth certificate. Unless, of course, they have proof that they’ve actually undergone gender affirming or reassignment surgery, and have changed their birth certificate to align with this. (I still can’t type this without shuddering in disbelief and dismay). In 2016, our local government still does not understand that gender is totally separate from sex.

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