See this beautiful boy living his best life, loving his mermaid pajamas and Elsa dresses? Little girls play dress up and nobody bats an eye. Little boys, and the world starts flapping its lips.
This Friday was pajama day at school and my beautiful, joyful youngest twin had been planning for the event for a couple weeks. He wanted to wear his mermaid pajamas.
His father and I were a bit nervous. We know how people can be. Despite momentous gains in how society treats differences, we knew that this particular form of different is still subject to so much ridicule and contempt.
But we also knew that our boy’s face absolutely transforms when he wears what he loves. And he loves the clothes society says should only be worn by girls.
But y’all… these clothes make him so incredibly happy. You’ve never seen such joy. Most days he comes home from school and immediately sheds his “boy” clothes to put on the “girl” ones. He spins and twirls and the stars align.
But to the outside world, we knew his love of pretty things could be criticized. And it was.
Why does it matter?
His father and I refuse to hide his light under a bushel. We refuse to dampen his joy. We refuse to tell him he can’t be who he wants to be. Which is happy and proud.
But Friday, he came home from school far from happy and proud. He came home shamed and ridiculed. For wearing mermaid pajamas.
They are CLOTHES, for goodness sakes. They just cover our nakedness. It’s what clothes are designed to do.
And who ever created the rule that boys can’t wear sparkles and sequins and things that spark light and joy anyway? Name them.
And don’t tell me it was God. God gave us beauty in every form. (And this boy of mine, he loves to revel in beauty of the uncommon form, for boys, anyway.)
But if you tell me it stems from religion, I’ll believe you. But tell me where in the bible it says boys can’t wear dresses? Pretty sure Jesus wore one, by the way.
This boy of ours loves satin and tulle and unicorn costumes.
And why shouldn’t he?
Boys in Scotland wear kilts. Christ wore skirts. Why can’t boys in Georgia wear mermaid tails?
After all, they all do the same job. They all cover our nakedness… the shadow left behind by original sin. Human nature — and its capacity for cruelty — that’s the sin. That’s the shame.
Not the clothes. Let him wear the clothes that cover his nakedness AND spark his joy.
Let him be happy.
Let him be him.
And if you can’t do that… then JUST LET HIM BE.