This article was created for the Huffington Post blog by the actor and writer Seth Menachem, father of Asher and Sydney. When his two-year-old son Asher started wearing dresses, at first he felt embarrassed, but later he realized that it should not be like that because he loves his son and should support him without making any difference between him and his sister.
Every morning my four-year-old daughter, Sydney, drags a chair into her closet and pulls a dress out of it. I try to get her to lean in other directions asking him: Why do not we try to make them shorts today, but Sydney is stubborn. And I think he deserves the freedom to choose what he wants to use.
On the other hand, I take shorts and a shirt from the drawer for my son Asher, 2 years old, because he still has problems dressing himself, but recently he discovered how to undress and often takes off what I put on him and shouts: Dress! , and again. He gets on the chair, puts it in front of Sydney's closet, pulls one of his dresses and says: this one.
So many days my son dresses like the princess Sofia cartoon, like some Disney princess, or with my favorite, a multicolored summer dress, by Ralph Lauren. Leaving all social customs out, he looks good in dresses. And on a summer day, at 26 degrees, in Los Angeles, it's probably the most practical option.
I used to be slightly embarrassed when I was wearing a dress in public. And it was not because I was worried that people would think that my son looked strange when wearing a dress. It was because I cared that they thought I had chosen to put a dress on her. As if I had an agenda for my son to use to break social norms, or as a friend's mom told me: You wanted another girl?
This happened at a birthday party for my friend's daughter, and before leaving my house I had tried to convince Asher to wear child clothes. I knew that if she showed up with a dress, there would be an endless series of questions and judgments, and I did not feel like dealing with that.
But Asher is stronger every morning. He made a big tantrum while trying to force him to stick his legs in a pair of pants. Tears ran down her face as she screamed and protested, until I suddenly realized that I was fighting for something I do not even believe in. I was making my son feel bad for something he should not be ashamed of. And I stopped. I gave him a hug and I apologized. And then I put her again the princess purple shining dress with her sister's shoes.
We went to the party, and as I imagined, some laughed and made comments. One told me: Do you think this is funny? There are children here. Do you want them to see this? Another told me: Do you want me to be gay?
I stayed calm. I explained to them as best I could that there is no relationship between a child's transvestism and being gay. And if he is, it's not because of anything I did to induce him. Maybe it is a stage or maybe not, but anyway, I do not want him to feel that he is not able to express himself because his parents do not support him. Or that some do not understand it. Let him feel trapped by ignorance or religious prejudice.
A lot of people are supportive. Come to my children, Sydney with her long blonde hair, and Asher with her short hair, and they tell me: I love the pixie cut of your daughter. When I tell them he is my son, they smile and say: I love it.
They also apologize for confusing their gender, but I tell them: Do not apologize. She is wearing a purple dress with shiny shoes, how could you know? I know there are parents who get nervous when you get confused with the gender of their children, but I am not one of them.
A gay friend saw me with the children and told me: Just so you know, I did not wear dresses when I was little. Essentially you are telling me: Do not worry. Your son is not gay like me. This openly gay, married man was trying to make me feel better about a problem that does not exist! If my son is gay, so be it. Maybe it is, or not. But I have no control over any of that. All I can do is be supportive.
The saddest thing about the talk was to realize how my friend feels about being gay, as if it were a curse and not the amazing, endless party that he really is.
One day I got home before my wife, like every night, so I took the children to walk our dog. They went to change their clothes. My daughter treated Asher as her doll, and she tried on several dresses, shoes and accessories. Then Sydney told me she wanted me to wear a dress too: Oh, my God, it will be so much fun!
I said no, but she kept insisting.I replied: People are going to laugh at me and he said: If they do, I'll tell them to leave. I could not argue with that, that's why I put on the loosest dress of Carri, my wife. We walked with the dog on our street and my children had the pleasure of seeing their father leave his comfort zone, far from the humiliation he felt.
Carrie stopped at the house, and I saw her mouth open from the end of the street. She laughed, took a picture of me and told me that it would be better not to tear her dress. Then we all went for a pizza.