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Halloween Dilemma: Should Parents Let Boy Dress as a Princess?

If a girl wants to dress like a boy this Halloween, that seems like a good lesson in busting gender stereotypes learned. But what if your boy wants to dress up as a princess?

That's the dilemma facing one family in Glendora, California, this Halloween:

"My first reaction was 'He wants to be a princess? We're there!' " said mama Anna. But almost everybody she talked with about Luc's intention told her, "Whoa; that's a bad, bad, bad idea."

For a girl who grew up wanting to dress like a boy, Luc's choice felt like a blow against stereotyping. "But I'm trying to leave my inner activist at home," she said, "and just do what's best for my son.

"It's one thing to say 'Son, you can be anything you want. Our society needs to be less uptight.' "

It's another thing entirely to consider how a boy in a princess dress will be treated when all the other boys are trick-or-treating in Superman or Power Rangers costumes.

"I want to encourage him to stand up and be himself," she said. "But my 4-year-old is too little and too fragile to know where the social boundaries are. And I don't want his feelings hurt on what should be one of his happiest nights."

Oh, did I mention that the parents are two gay moms?

Anna and Louisa remember the sea of "Yes on 8" signs that sprouted around them in 2008, when the measure banning gay marriage was on the ballot. Gay marriage was rejected that year by voters, just months after the couple officially wed on June 17, the first day gay marriage was legal in California.

Now, Anna envisions those folks snubbing her trick-or-treating princess-boy.

"I imagine that when those Glendorans shut their doors, they're going to say 'See, that's why lesbians shouldn't raise children.' "

Sandy Banks of The Los Angeles Times has the story: Link (Photo: Gina Ferazzi/LA Times)

Jeebus, people, give it a rest. It's Halloween. A boy in a princess costume has as much likelihood of growing up to be a transvestite or gay as a kid in a vampire costume is to become a blood-sucking fiend. Okay, maybe a marginally better chance, but do people not understand what a COSTUME is? My boy is dressing as a hot-pink fish/frog monster this year.
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Huh, it used to be a funny to dress in drag for Halloween - I remember my aunts getting a kick out of dressing myself and my cousin as cheerleaders one year. People would joke about how we made ugly girls.

I grew up in a very religious-conservitive community.

I also remember having "womanless" beauty pageants at church where men would dress in drag and compete.

Would the difference be it was satire (in a way) because we were purposely breaking the gender stereotypes for comedic effect and not because we genuinely wanted to dress up as females? I dunno.

I would argue that many kids don't get to be the exact thing they want to be for Halloween many times and that picking something else more gender neutral, that he would enjoy just as much, would alleviate the concern and would leave his identity intact.
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Of course it isn't coincidence that the lesbian couple's child is the one making headlines with his costume choice, but Sam's right. He's 4 years old. They should have no trouble convincing him to be something neutral, like a ghost, or a pumpkin, or a robot. Let the gender identity crisis come when he's an adult. Protect your kids while you can.
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You're absolutely right, Stephanie. Damn those uppity gays! Why can't they just shut up and accept our judgment without complaint? I hate having to be made aware of the difficulties and unjust social pressure put on people who are different than me.
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My heterosexual cousin and his wife have a son who, at age four, insisted on being a princess for Halloween. It's quite common really. They let him, and he was gorgeous; however, he was incensed when mistaken for a girl. Go figure.

The kid is four! Let him dress up however he wants.
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oh boy this is just weird... let the little guy dress as he wants, in what ever costume, princess whatever.... it will not do any harm etc. AND if other's can't understand Pi%% on em, they are too stupid to understand love.

I always wanted to dress as a boy, being a girl here, to be like my brothers, still prefer jeans to a dress, but I grew up ok. I knew guys who dressed drag for Halloween and had great fun, yes one or two were gay, but others were straight... sowhat??? enjoy and have fun life is too short to stress this.

Dress the lad up, get photos, and have fun.
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I didn't get to dress up as whatever I wanted when I was four. I got to wear whatever costume Mom wanted me to wear--I think it was a dinosaur. It was an authority/kids-don't-get-everything-they want issue. She had a dinosaur costume that would work fine and was unwilling or unable to obtain another.

I don't know if it's ethically correct to make your kid suffer more than necessary in order to maintain and instill the values you believe in in him, but human nature being what it is I think they're correct about what the neighbors will say.
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Dear stephanie.

I will 'get over it" when ti doesn't happen. And if yo think that it's "just because they're gay" I recommend you look back to what was refereed to be "toenail gate" on the news and the story about the child who wanted to cross as Daphne from scooby doo.

In short you're wrong. It is only in part because they're gay. I have to ask you if this was happening because they were black would you feel the same way?

It's really easy for someone who does not suffer persecution to say "shut up I don't want to hear it.
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I dunno, Bearfoot. If they weren't gay, they wouldn't be worried about the neighbours thinking they're indoctrinating him. But yeah, don't worry about the narrow-minded neighbours.

The toenail painting has more to do with the idea that the parents may be directly influencing their kid to gender-bend, rather than providing direction in their parenting.

The mom's reaction was "We're there"! What exactly did she mean by that? Halloween cross-dressing happens all the time, and it's no big deal. So why is this even remotely newsworthy? It's pretty minor stuff.
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I agree with the mothers' decisions. The boy might be treated badly by his peers. On the other hand, they might as well let him do it now that the fact that he wants to dress as a princess has gone public to the entire world on the Los Angeles Times website where it shows a photograph and his full name.
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I'm 50 and remember boys being nuns, witches, raggedy anns and cheerleaders when I was growing up, and I'm SURE that most of them are still straight. But I understand that the Moms don't want their little boy to be stigmatised because of them; he wouldn't be otherwise. I'd say give him his dress and let him decorate it as he wants. I am SO disgusted by the Religious Right. Nature and God makes us who we are, not a Halloween costume. We are meant to accept EVERYONE as they are. Next year he'll probably want to be a Transformer or a Zombie.
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I think it would probably be best if we just cancelled Halloween in the future. I mean, I don't want to tell this kid that he can't dress how he wants to, but if it's going to cause problems with others it's likely best to just forget about the whole thing.
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When our son was five, we walked past a pink ballerina costume covered with bows, rosettes, and sparkles...complete with tutu. My son took one look at that and declared he was going to be a fairy princess for Halloween. After the initial shock wore off, we bought him the dress, sparkly wings and made a wand with glitter. He wore the outfit ove jeans and a long sleeve shirt (it's cold where we live) and all of the neighbors just loved his costume. We have a great photo of him next to his little brother (who dressed as Batman) that we still pull out once and a while. He is twelve now and past his fairy princess stage - although I would not be surprised to see it resurrected in college. This year, he says he is too old to trick or treat...I sure do miss that fairy princess sometimes.
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I'd suggest he go as a wizard. That way, he can wear a long robe decorated with brightly colored stars and lightning bolts. He can carry a wand and have a cool hat, too.
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What on earth makes anyone believe that a 4 year old child knows what's good for him/her? Parents are there to make sure children avoid getting hurt.

How hard is that to understand?

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As long as he doesn't want to dress as a mexican, right? Because that would be demeaning to mexicans just like being a princess is demeaning to women. Woman sterotypers!!!!
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What this story doesn't explain is how wacky Glendora is. Their population generally wealthy, religious (mostly LDS), and deeply conservative. Seriously, it's the town that time forgot. So, while doing your mental calculation, add in the fact that people are unusually judgmental in this sleepy little town.

Having said that, they're over-thinking it. Next week, he's going to want to be a dump truck, then a witch, then Spiderman, etc. I think they're more worried about how the adults will treat their family than their kid being bullied.
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