A Man in a Skirt talks to his sons

Growing up with secrets and lies is one of the most damaging parts of childhood. So straight away, as soon as i decided that this was the path I was taking, I knew I had to tell my two sons J and C. They are aged 15 and 13, my friends tell me that this is maximal parental embarrassment age, and well, I’ve definitely given them reason to be embarrassed.
Some good advice from a friend, ‘Robin, don’t try to make them understand! They won’t! They can’t! Yet”
It’s Tuesday so it’s my night and we pull in to Waitrose carpark.
“I’ve got something I need to tell you boys” I said. As soon as I said this I knew I’d said it before. In my attempts to parent in a different way, I’ve been very open and honest with them. Probably too honest at times but their have been several occasions where I’ve needed to ‘sit down’ and ‘have a chat’. It’s usually been around leaving or starting to see a different woman, something I’ve done a lot of in my life:-(.
I guess this time is the same thing? But this time the woman I’m seeing is me. My inner feminine is finally coming out.
The mood changes as soon as I open with these words. The intervening space however short is one of those moments that seems to last for ever. What is it? What have I done? Are we in trouble? I can almost hear their thoughts.
“I’m starting to wear women clothes” I said. Not knowing what to say next but realising that I was already wearing a pair of black tights under my blue shorts. The boys had already seen that I’d bought some tights, and as I write this I realise that I’d already told them that they were for me.
“Why?” Came the inevitable reply
“I’m not sure why, but it’s something I’ve done in secret for a lot of my life, and right now I need to be open about it”
“Why?”
“I don’t know! I just know that I always liked women clothes more than mens”
“Why?”
“Because they are prettier, more colourful and I don’t know, I just like them”
“But they’re for women!”
“Well in our society yes, skirts are for women but really it’s just clothes right? I mean who gets to say what i can wear what right?”
“Well the people who make them! women clothes are made for women, so they are for women!” Their logic is clear, if flawed.
Me. “So if a person made skirts and dresses for men that would be ok yes? I could wear those?” I don’t realise it yet but I’trying to get them to understand.
“No because skirts and dresses are for women, thats why no one makes them for men!” Again their logic is clear
I’m struggling to make them see that the clothes we wear are important. I want them to see the basic unfairness of a system that says if you have a penis then you have to wear blue or black or brown, trousers or jeans or shorts. And if you have a vagina you can wear whatever you like.
“But women can wear trousers or jeans and thats ok isn’t it?”
“Yes but they wear jeans that were made for women!” Again clear with the logic
I give in. I’m not going to convince them of the ridiculously unfair and arbitrary notion that pretty clothes are for women and functional clothes are for men. They are not going to empathise with my struggle. Or even agree that it should be ok for people to wear what they like.
I feel like I’ve lost but then I remember my friends advice.
“Look” I said “I don’t expect you to understand but you do need to know that this is happening.”
“Ok!”
“I’m not asking you to like it or agree with it or anything. I’m just telling you so you know what’s going on for me, yes`’
`’Ok!” “Can we go shopping now?”
“If you need to talk to me or ask me anything you can yes?”
“Ok!””Can we go now?”
“And I’ve spoken to your mum so she know and you can talk to her right?”
“Yes! Shopping?”
“Ok shopping. You know I love you, don’t you?”
“Yes Dad!”
The door is opening now thus indicating that the conversation is officially over.
“I love you both so much!”
“Yeah whatever dad”
“Yeah whatever!”
We shop, and on the drive home I make it clear to them that I’m not asking them to like it and I’m clear to them that if they don’t want to go out with me in a skirt or dress then I’ll find something else to wear. But it might not be blue, black or brown trousers, jeans or shorts. And it might be too.
Peace and blessings
A Man in a Skirt

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