How trying on skirts made 10-year old boy's DREAM come true
A mum has made us all cry (dammit!) with a heartfelt, loving, compassionate open letter to a girl’s clothing shop for making her gender non-conforming son’s dreams come true.
In a beautiful depiction of unconditional love, Martie Todd Sirois wrote about the journey she and her family have been on to understand her 10-year old son’s gender non-conformity.
“Finally my husband, myself, and my two older cisgender children are all on the same page, and we're just looking for ways to support our gender creative, in transition, born-male child,” she wrote in the letter. “He may one day be LGBTQ+. He may not. We're open to whatever, as long as he's happy, true to himself, and not hurting anyone.”
And one of the ways her son doesn’t conform is through clothes. In many ways our clothes are an expression of who we are. But what if we can’t wear the clothes we want because society says they’re “not for us”?
Justice is a US clothing store for tween girls, and since Martie’s son was four, he wistfully looked at the sparkly, pretty clothes when shopping with his older sister.
“He ended up always begrudgingly trying on clothes from the boys’ departments along with his older brother, Martie wrote. “But he hated it. He avoided trying on clothes at all costs. Back-to-school shopping was a chore he dreaded to the extreme.
“Every time we made a trip to your neighbour store, Target, my son would longingly look in the windows of Justice and say, ‘I wish I could shop there’. But we never went in. There was just something off-putting about those words on your window, reading, ‘Just for girls,’ that kept us away time and time again.”
But his dream was soon to come true. Upon telling the story at the support group she leads for gender non-conforming and transgender kids, Martie’s friend stepped in and contacted the store.
“Thanks to a hero mom Lisa, all the vetting out was done, wrote Martie. “She physically went to your store, spoke to Stephnie, the store manager on duty, and asked questions from, ‘Would you let a boy try on clothes here?’ to ‘What would you do if another customer made rude comments to a little boy looking at or trying on clothes here?’
“Lisa reported all good news back to our group. The store manager assured her that ‘everyone is welcome at Justice’, and any rudeness or discrimination from fellow customers would not be tolerated.”
Finally the day arrived.
“There were no other customers in the store,” wrote Martie. “My son's eyes were huge and overwhelmed with possibilities. Stephnie came right over to greet us didn't bat an eyelash, and basically took on the role of my son's personal shopper for the evening.
“After getting a feel for what colors, textures, and patterns he liked, Stephnie showed us several possibilities, from sequined miniskirts to slim jeggings. My son LOVED them all. We went to the changing room, and my son couldn't get those clothes on fast enough. Once that first outfit was on, he posed and admired himself in the mirror, spun around in circles to see the skirt poof out, and studied himself from all angles in every possible combination of outfits. It was pure joy.
“My son dropped his frequent doom and gloom look and suddenly sprang to life in these clothes. There was no denying he became a different, more confident, and happier child when wearing pretty things.
“I was blown away by the fact that Stephnie stayed well-past her shift's end, just to continue working with us. She made my son feel beautiful and totally free of judgment. I want to thank her for that precious, precious gift. I rarely get to see my son being his full potential, his absolute true self in public. She encouraged that and even helped bring it out. I felt so much hope for the future.
“I will leave you with a few pictures I took of some of his new outfits. Please look at his smile. It is as genuine as it gets. I think his cheeks hurt from smiling so much when we left.”
The happy smile on this lovely young boy’s face is all the proof we need to live and let live, to keep pushing for a world free of judgement and discrimination. We are grateful to Martie and her amazing son – who has the courage to be himself – for sharing their story with us. We think it has the power to do SO much good.