As we pulled up to the halloween party, #1 blurted out: “Oh there’s Tobias. He said he was going to be Wendy.” Wendy who? I wondered. Should I recognize this Wendy? When I hazarded to ask, #1 schooled me on the finer points of Tobias’s costume. Clearly I had missed the visual clues—bright red wig, braids sticking out to the sides tied with baby-blue ribbons, freckles on the cheeks, baby-blue-and-white striped dress, red stockings, etc.—that made it obvious who Wendy is: “Ya know. Wendy from Wendy’s.” Oh, the burger chain. Got it.
# 1 jumped out shouting “Great Costume Tobias.” Another friend, dressed more stereotypically as a monster, patted Tobias on the back and complimented him on the costume. I stood with some other parents and watched the three of them wander up the street to the party.
While the parents were supportive of Tobias’s costume, I was interested to hear how they talked about it amongst themselves: “He was brave to come dressed as a girl.” or “It takes courage to dress as a woman.” or “That’s an unusual costume for a boy.” or “I guess if we don’t mind girls dressed as boys, we shouldn’t mind boys dressed as girls.”
I kept thinking as I listened to them: Don’t worry about it. Don’t impose your fears and limitations on these kids. These kids, maybe not all kids, but at least these kids are making a better world.
I am proud of those three boys and their community of friends and classmates. They didn’t worry about a boy dressing as a girl. Tobias’s costume was just a great costume.