When C.J. Duron was about two-and-a-half years old he discovered a Barbie doll in his mom Lori's closet. Previously he had only had “boy toys,” since his parents assumed that was what he wanted. Now, four years later, they have divided C.J.’s life by Before Barbie (B.B.) and After Barbie (A.B.).
Today C.J. is 6 years old and what psychologists would call gender creative. He’s a boy on the outside, but inside he feels as though he is a girl. Pink, princesses and pop music make him happiest. When Duron and her husband first realized this, they went through a range of feelings.
“Early on we most often felt confused as to what C.J.’s love for girl things and desire to be treated like a girl meant and how we should parent him," she tells us. "But once we realized that we are here to love him, not change him, we started to shift our parenting perspective and our lives changed for the better."
The parents didn’t know about the term gender creative, and it wasn’t until Duron started a blog about raising C.J. that she would learn about the term from a reader.
Now, Duron is sharing everything – from that first Barbie moment to all the other discoveries she and her family have made since then – in her book “Raising my Rainbow" (out Sept. 3).
“The book is a lot like the blog," she says. "It gives people a glimpse into our lives in hopes that they will see that we are not weird – we are just different. And different isn’t bad."
Duron says she hopes for people to judge less and have more empathy and open-mindedness when it comes to gender, sex and sexuality. She is astonished that these issues still make waves in 2013.
“It should be a given that all people are created equal and should be treated as such – whether it’s on the playground or in the nation’s Capitol," the mother tells us. "The book is my way of taking a firm stand and publicly saying that my son and brother, who identifies as gay, deserve the same human rights and human decency taken for granted by the majority of the country’s population.
"I want my son to be treated like a human being. If you can’t tell if he is a boy or a girl, then just treat him like a person."
Duron says she thought hard before writing the book: Did she want to be the face of a cause? What would C.J. and his brother Chase think of the book now and in the future? But she found that she had to do it to encourage the world to change for the sake of gender creative and LGBTQ kids.
Based on the more than one million readers of her blog from 170 countries, it seems to be a global parenting issue that many people would like her to raise.