I Admire My Friend For Posting Facebook Pics Of Her Cross-Dressing Son

cross-dressing sonLike you, I am sometimes shocked with what people post on Facebook.

The other night, someone had posted a close up of her eye infection. I almost puked. The entire whites of her eye were blood red. There was another photo of her three days after taking eye drops and the white part of her eye was now only half blood red. It still made me sick to my stomach. If I had an eye infection that bad, you can bet your butt I would not leave my house, let alone take a close up photo and post it.

But then I then saw a photo posted by one of my old friends. She’s the type of friend that even when we don’t talk in months, we can pick up where we left off as if we had talked yesterday. She is constantly posting photos of her son on Facebook, which is completely normal for a parent these days. In fact, mostly all I post now are photos of my children.

The difference between her 6-year-old and that of others is that her son seems to be a cross-dresser. I’m not talking wearing nail polish. Her son wears tutus and pearls and a lot of pink, often dressing as Cinderella. There are numerous photos of him in dresses. When I last spoke to my friend, about six weeks ago, she said, “I just never knew that my son would be like that.”

She didn’t say this in any negative way. She obviously is proud of her son and loves him to death. It could be a phase. But all our friends, especially her close friends, LOVE these photos of son wearing tutus with a string of pearls around his neck or trying on dresses. The comments are always, “Adorable!” or, “So cute!” The photos are damn cute.

I think, although no one will admit it, that she is very brave. Actually, I’m not so sure if she is courageous or more just showing unconditional love. She doesn’t give a damn how her son dresses and she will post him wearing clips in his hair just as often as she posts photos of her daughter baking.

I had a friend of my fiancé’s over while I was scrolling down her page and he took a look and said aloud, “I would NEVER do that to my son. Never. I would never let him wear dresses let alone post them.”

I kind of wanted to tell him to get the fuck out of my house, because a) this was my friend he was talking about and b) why does he CARE? I think it’s fantastic she posts these photos.

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You can reach this post's author, Rebecca Eckler, on twitter.
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  • Amanda Low

    Haha, this was fantastic. And I wish there were more photos on facebook of boys doing “girly” things, it would help to bring it more into the mainstream.

  • Lastango

    Your friend is either an idiot or a narcissistic witch. If the latter, she reminds me of this bitch:


    • Blooming_Babies

      I know I shouldn’t feed the trolls but

      Angry much… It’s five o’clock somewhere please go find your happy place

    • Lastango

      How polite am I supposed to be? The reaction to the last person who was polite, and commented from his own perspective, was “I kind of wanted to tell him to get the fuck out of my house”.

    • CMJ

      Eh, I’d rather see a boy in a dress than placenta.

      Take a chill pill, bro.

    • Maggie

      Yes, how stupid and narcissistic of her to allow her son to do and be what he wants. And she shows pride in him doing and being what he wants! What an idiotic, narcissistic witch.

  • Melody

    I ran into a bit of trouble with this recently. My 4 yr old son, who is an action hero and trains obsessed boy, was playing with his sisters dressing up in their princess tutus and gowns having all kinds of fun the other day. I took a bunch of pics because it was so adorable and texted a few to my husband and my mom, who both responded with “how sweet” and “so funny”. The next day, I get a frantic text from my mom saying “You didn’t put those dress up pics on fb, did you?? Naked baby pics are one thing but this is something entirely different.” I responded that no, I hadn’t put any dress up pics on fb, nor have I ever posted a nude baby pic, ever. I take tons of photos but I always think about the possible repercussions for my kids when they are older before I post because as they say ‘the internet is forever.’

    Then I got pissed, because the next day they were all dressed up as pirates and super heroes and no one would have objected if I posted pics of my daughter dressed as Captain Hook or Mr. Incredible. I found that the next time they wanted to dress up as princesses or fairies my husband and I would gently try to dissuade them and steer them towards pirates or something more gender neutral. I hate that we were doing that, because I don’t want my kids to think that there is anything wrong with dressing however they want to dress. My husband played dress up a few times as a kid and he grew up with only brothers. My son has two sisters, this wasn’t the first and chances are not the last time he will wear a tutu. I won’t post anything potentially embarrassing for my kids, but I don’t want them to feel like they should be embarrassed, you know?

    • K.

      I totally agree. It’s not ‘gender neutral’ to excise girly things from the equation.

  • SusannahJoy

    I have to admit, I would NEVER post pics like that on facebook either. I wouldn’t care if my son wanted to wear dresses, but I just have to think of his future. I don’t see cross dressing as being totally accepted by the time he’s a teenager, which means that if those pics resurfaced he would likely be teased very harshly for them. Or what if he tries to apply for a job but doesn’t get it because the manager doesn’t approve? I don’t think that it’s right that cross dressing is so looked down on, but I think it’s worse to use my kids for a cause that they don’t understand without their permission.

    • Lastango

      Absolutely. It is simply astounding that it should be necessary for you to point that out.

    • Tea

      I was about to post this exact thing. Cross-dressing? Cute. Putting it up online, especially if his real name is attached somewhere? Not cute.

    • Daisy

      A place that wouldn’t hire you because of how you played dress-up as a kid is not a place you want to work anyway. I would rather be a hobo in a cardboard box than work for someone who was capable of being such a disgusting human being. Normally, I am all about “be careful what you post online; it is out there forever” but this does not fall under that category at all.

    • SusannahJoy

      Yeah, but you’re making that decision for yourself. The kid can’t make that choice. That’s what bugs me about this. Standing up for what you believe in is great, but forcing someone else to stand up isnt ok. And maybe there will be a time when getting enough food to eat is worth more than proving a point, however valid that point may be.

    • CrazyFor Kate

      I’m thinking less about jobs and more about bullying. I want my potential son to be able to dress however he wants and not get ridiculed. But the fact is, he probably would be.

    • Tigatron

      you know, people say this a great deal, but i am trying to figure out the likely hood of potential future bullies even seeing these photos that were posted on a non-public facebook account decades earlier =>.>=

    • AP

      I agree. A lot of kids play dress-up and various other games that, in the end, have nothing to do with their sexuality. Most of the kids in my family enjoyed pretending to be cats, or dogs, or panda bears, and as far as I know, none of us are furries.
      How is this fair to the son? If cross-dressing is part of his orientation, he should be allowed to come out on his own terms. If cross-dressing is just part of him playing a game as a kid, he shouldn’t be subjected to having that sexualized and stigmatized by others.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

      True, true, most kids do play dress-up, but… uh… some of us Furries were very clearly Furry from a very young age.

    • http://www.facebook.com/sean.phillips.9081 Sean Phillips

      if you can’t post pictures of him doing this, you can’t post pictures of him at all. everything he does is expressing some sort of gender, it isn’t instantly a “cause” just because it isn’t heteronormative. if this is a phase, he can laugh about it later (just like pictures of him rolling in mud or playing with trucks), if it’s not, then he’ll be part of a culture that supports that.

    • Lastango

      Unfortunately, the kid may well end up paying a personal price for your academic theorizing.

    • http://www.facebook.com/sean.phillips.9081 Sean Phillips

      it’s not academic theorizing. that’s the point. the people doing the theorizing are the people calling this a “cause”. the kid is playing, as kids do. to gender that playing is nothing short of sexism.

      no ordinary person hunts through the internet for pictures of someone at this young of an age, for any reason. if your potential employer does, then that’s a warning sign saying “stay the hell away from this job, you’ll be miserable”. if it’s a peer, then as adults we have this magical ability to ignore that person.

    • Lastango

      Your position is highly conceptual. For instance, you’re saying the kid can “laugh about it later”. But ugly real-world consequences may prevent him from doing so. Like social engineers everywhere, you are prepared to sacrifice his happiness to your ideal, pomo outcome. Individuals don’t matter, only impersonal group outcomes like being “part of a culture that supports that”.

    • http://www.facebook.com/sean.phillips.9081 Sean Phillips

      there is no such thing as a concrete position when talking about the future. your outcome is no more real than mine. however, mine is not based in sexism and cynicism, but instead on the idea that a child who is taught to love him or her self will not put up with a “person” who would hunt through the internet, find CHILDHOOD photos, and then allow those CHILDHOOD photos to affect That person’s perceptions of him or her.

    • Lastango

      Thanks for the deconstruction of the entire future, and for deciding what’s good for everyone else. We need more people like you writing papers and teaching.

    • http://www.facebook.com/sean.phillips.9081 Sean Phillips

      i am not deconstructing the future, and you are the one deciding what’s good for everyone else. i don’t really understand how you see what i’m doing as anything other than saying people, including children, should be allowed to do whatever they want, and should be taught to ignore people like the jerks you are imagining.

    • Uk Mummy

      I have to say I agree with lastango – these images really are not “yours” – they are “your son’s” (in our example above). Therefore, HE should get to choose if they ever get put on social media. THEY ARE NOT YOURS TO GIVE AWAY.Social media is NEVER private. One person can “save picture as” and its lost to you.

      Its unlikely a future employer will care about childhood pics – but in 5yrs time when he gets his own Facebook account?

      You cannot use your child to further your own cause.

      Celebrate your children’s differences, but please respect their privacy.

      I do share some pictures – family groups, first day at school. The rest I keep for them to make their own choices. Including the one when my son wore his fairywings to the supermarket.

    • sfphilli

      been a while, had to reread all the comments, but I think you just proved my point. Either some pictures are ok or no pictures are ok. I don’t particularly care to argue which is better, but I will say that shouting about photos not being anyone’s but the child’s to give away and then saying you do share some pictures strikes me as contradictory.

      Basically, all I was saying was, IF it’s okay to show a child conforming to gender expectations, it follows that it should be okay to show a child not conforming, because we shouldn’t be forcing either one.

  • Ann

    My son proudly announced today that his favorite color is pink. He recently purchased the Disney Princess Pull Ups instead of the Cars ones. He also loves Star Wars and Spiderman. I don’t shelter that side of him from the rest of the world because it is nothing to be embarrassed of. (But it doesn’t mean that my adult friends who have been present when my son is changing haven’t made inappropriate comments insinuating that my son will be gay because his choice of Pull Ups. I mean, really????)

    Bravo to your friend. You’re completely right. She’s brave. Because a lot of people aren’t ready to stand up and say that it’s ok to be female. If a little girl dresses up as Darth Vader or plays with trucks, she’s lauded for wanting to be equal to her brothers. But if a little boy wants to be like his sisters, it’s shameful. It’s time to stand up to that assumption and change it, and it’s going to take one brave mother at a time.

    • http://twitter.com/DecaturFlora Flora

      This makes me so happy! If little girls can like Star Wars, Spiderman, and Princesses why can’t little boys?

  • Annie

    Another smug post from Eckler!

    The title of this article makes my skin crawl, it’s like an episode of Springer, and not to mention incredibly patronizing. A kid that age is too young to be “cross-dressing”.

    He’s playing dress-up and looking incredibly cute while doing it. Making any kind of deal out of it’s what creates perverts, because you’re making it taboo. Ask most fetishists what they think sparked their “interest” and they’ll name an incident in childhood wherein their parents flipped the fuck out and gave the sexualized item its power.

    Grownups cause this. The boy is just playing and should be left alone.

    • Tea

      Actually, while fetishes can often come from childhood events, it’s not usually from parents flipping out. It’s more of a neurological quirk, and on occasion coping mechanism induced.

    • Annie

      You’re absolutely right. I should’ve been more specific, I wasn’t thinking of people with harmless fetishes but rather those who take it to an obsessive, unhealthy level; think lust murderers et such.

      I know it’s a big leap to reference that in this article, and I’m sure the little boy mentioned will be absolutely fine, I don’t mean to infer that he’ll grow up to be a nasty panty-thieving whatever. This article and some of the comments just irked several major pet peeves of mine relating to child development and gender.

  • Tea

    I want to preface this by saying I’m not arguing with Eckler, I just have very extensive LGBTQ community experience. So consider this some further reading, epsecially if you’re worried about your own kid. At this age it’s not really cross-dressing, especially not in the same way as Eckler’s ex. At this stage, it’s dress-up, or at the very most, a hint of gender non-conformity. Most likely, he likes playing dress-up, likes bright colors, or likes the leg movement (I know someone who loves broomstick skirts, kilts, and kimonos for this exact reason.)

    Cross dressing in adults is usually done for three reasons, and only one of them can even remotely apply to children. Sometimes it’s due to a lack of gender conformity, be it being transgender, bi-gendered, or another gender alignment, this is the only one that can apply to small children. Usually signs of transgender children are not just “cross dressing,” you need not be concerned if your little boy loves tutus and pink, but you may need to worry if he insists he is a girl, wants to remove or hide his penis, ect. I’ve seen a few progressive parents rush their boys into gender therapy over a princess phase, it’s nothing to worry about. Sometimes this is a reason for men cross dressing, especially if they aren’t aroused by the act of wearing women’s clothing.

    The second common reason is drag. This is for fun, or comedic purposes, it is not sexual. Well, it can be raunchy, but it’s not to get off.

    The third reason is a fetish, and is what most people tend to think of. It’s done for sexual gratification, be it the idea of turning into a woman, the fixation on the clothes themselves, or even sometimes a “sissy’ or humiliation fetish. There are a few fetishes that fall under this spectrum. These are usually straight men who are attracted to some aspect of feminization, but do not want to be and live as women. A common aspect (as Eckler pointed out) is that often these clothes aren’t things women actually wear. They’re things porn stars and strippers wear. I’ve met a scared wife or two who was afraid this meant their husband was gay or transsexual, which is rarely the case.

    I had a point to this somewhere. I think it was, if your kid is cross-dressing, they probably won’t turn into someone with a fetish. The keywords in this whole thing are probably and usually, there are exceptions.

    • LoveyDovey

      Do you have a blog somewhere? You always have some interesting things to say!

    • Tea

      Oh, thank you! I run one, but it’s art related and tied to my business, so it’s not as interesting as my comments. I used to run one on queer issues and disability related things, I’m actually still closeted in the professional world (My husband is in the automotive field which can be very hyper-masculine.) So my personal blog is under lock and key these days.

  • Makabit

    For those who are saying that these shouldn’t go up on Facebook, because teasing or being limited in jobs might befall–I get the concern, but I also feel that this mother presumably knows her community and her child’s situation fairly well, and can make a judgement call about publishing pictures of him in a tutu as a little boy.

    Yes, some boss twenty years from now might find these pictures and (illegally) one presumes, discriminate against him for being a grade-school cross-dresser, but they might also discriminate against him for any of a million other things that could be determined from researching his mother’s Facebook feed from twenty years before. At some point we have to reject the idea that atypical gender behavior in boys is some sort of final frontier that we can’t share with people.

    And as for teasing…bullying doesn’t happen because some piece of incriminating ‘evidence’ gets found, it happens because bullies bully.

    There are all kinds of reasons a parent might not post these photos, but I don’t see a reason to criticize one who does.

  • Resi

    I don’t think it is good that she is posting pictures of her child on facebook. Not because of the cross dressing, it’s very awesome that she is so accepting. But I think it is wrong to post pictures of your child online unless he is old enough to be able to consent to it. Maybe he doesn’t want any pictures of himself on the internet. I would hate it if my mother just posted a picture of me without asking (I’m 17).

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  • Moony

    If a mother dresses her daughter up in camouflage trousers and wifebeaters, with short cropped hair to match, and she ends up looking more like a boy than a girl – no one cares! In fact, she’d likely be praised with “So adorable!” comments.

    But if that same mother would so much as let her son wear a pink shirt one day then it’d be considered scandalous and would be the talk of the town for weeks! I HATE this type of gender discrimination!

    Gender Equality, people. It’s not just about getting girls on equal footing with boys. It’s also about getting boys on equal footing with girls.

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