Gender Non Conforming Boys… Should I Worry?


Childhood gender nonconformity is a phenomenon in which pre-pubescent children do not conform to expected gender-related sociological or psychological patterns, and/or identify with the opposite gender. Typical behavior among those who exhibit the phenomenon includes but is not limited to a propensity to cross-dress, refusal to take part in activities conventionally thought suitable for the gender and the exclusive choice of play-mates of the opposite sex. (quoted from Wikipedia)

Meet my Ethan… a sweet, adorable, lovable, happy little guy. He just likes to play dress up with his sister and cries hysterically if we can’t find the particular Barbie he has misplaced.

When you see him, you’d never guess he is a tutu wearing, Disney Princess dressing up kind of guy.


Don’t get me wrong… he loves boy things, too. Getting dirty, heck yeah!

Kicking balls around the backyard… sweet! 

As a matter of fact, he has a backpack FULL of Hot Wheels cars that he likes to tote around the house and even sleep with on occasion (See it? It’s the Cars backpack under the PINK blanket he is so attached to).


You might also take note of the pink baby dolls in his bed. This is a normal occurance.

And then without warning… he comes downstairs dressed like this.


And it’s not the first time, either! This has been happening on occasions usually spearheaded by Emma. This particular time I saw him dress himself (he asked me to fix the Velcro).

Remember the tutu pictures I’ve posted? Yep, dancing in the living room with Emma. But now he just puts it on because he wants to.

And he’s been asking for the cars less often and crying for Barbie and Ken (yes, he cross dressed Ken in a blue Cinderella dress… nice huh?).


If you watched our “Big Kid Phone Call” video on the Pull-Ups/Target giveaway on the blog… you heard Ethan say he wanted a Barbie for pooping in the potty.

When asked what he wanted for his birthday today… a Barbie.

My thoughts are… he’s happy, he’s healthy, he is using his imagination, and he is probably playing with these toys because he looks up to Emma and wants to be like her. To me that makes him a well rounded individual.

To other people it can look like something else…. and I’ve heard a few comments.

Would YOU be worried if it were your son?



  1. Jayme says

    That is like the ONE thing I do not feel parents should worry about. Like you said he is a happy and healthy little boy using his imagination. I have a 3 1/2 year old son and 2 1/2 year old daughter. They both play with the ‘opposite gender toys’. When you have a boy and a girl it would be odd if they didn’t. No kid should worry about being judged over something they play with or wear at that age, especially coming from adults. It’s bad enough when kids get into school and hear it from other kids over the littlest of things.

    I would not be worried about your son. 🙂 If he’s happy and healthy that is all that should matter to you or anyone for that matter.

  2. This IS SOOOO my son!! Maybe its one of the perks of having a big sister? I’m not so sure. Yes, he’s rough and tumble like any other boy. There’s always dirt under his nails. But Lordy-loo, if the sister won’t give him his Baw-bee (barbie), look out. And yes, I’ve caught him in tutu’s before.

    I have the same outlook, he’s happy, he’s healthy. What more can I ask for? Do I hang my head because he’s not playing with dumptrucks 24/7? Nope. If this continues for him throughout life, will I be let down? Nope. I’ll simply ask him to go shopping with me and pick out some cute clothes for Mommy… 🙂 Will I be disappointed if he has a boyfriend instead of a girlfriend? Nope. People still judge and will continue to, but the world is becoming more progressive and I’m happy to raise my littles in it, to be whoever they want to be as long as its happy and healthy for them.

  3. Andrea says

    I don’t believe there is anything wrong with this, but unfortunately the majority of society doesn’t see it that way. In our homes, we are safe to express how we feel and let our sons explore a they wish–from tutu’s to dolls to dirt and worms. Outside our home, the world is a cruel place. I come from a city of 4 million people. A city who had made huge advancements in Gay and Transgender lifestyles before it was even “the thing to do.” Today, people are still close-minded about it, and unwilling to accept it.
    As an early educator and mother of a son, There is nothing to worry about and be proud of your son for having an imagination and letting him be well rounded. But, also, for his own sake, as he gets older and starts pre-school try to keep the dolls at home. People can be cruel–and it can lead to bullying down the road. (unfortunately)

  4. I wouldn’t be worried at all ….. at work the toddlers like to play with dolls, trucks, kitchen stuff etc and they have dads that share the father/mother roles. He’s just modeling his older sister.

  5. manda says

    Ask yourself this: Am I worried if my daughter plays with my sons hot wheels? If she wears jeans or t-shirts or likes to play in the mud?

    Your son is beautiful. On my sons 2nd Christmas he begged me for a Barbie van and a Barbie, he got both from his uncle and he loved, LOVED, loved them. He also liked to mess with my make-up. He’s 13 years old now and he has a huge crush on some girl in Georgia he met (we live in IL). Toys do NOT change the sexual preferences of adults. They’re children, they don’t even understand those things right now. I was a GI Joe, play with mud, run through creekbeds with stick swords tom boy that was banned from wearing dresses because I would stick them over my head. I hated barbies, I hated girl things (except my little pony) and I hated pig tails. I always had male friends and I still do. I have a wonderful husband. 🙂

    My son Judah has an Abby doll, he got her for his 2nd birthday because he loves Abby. He also has Rock & Roll Zoe. He’s 2 1/2… they’re muppets. The people who would be more concerned with the color of his clothes and the types of his toys than his health and happiness are not people I want surround myself around. I heard something on the TV the other day, a transgendered lady had said, “I do not seek your approval, just your love”. That’s all that people should be concerned about, Loving one another and not gender specific things. No one worries about girls! I don’t see why they should press adult issues on children.

  6. manda says
  7. Nope. I wouldn’t let that bother me at all. As long as he is happy and healthy that is all I care about it. There are worse things to worry about.

  8. i’m with you kiddo. he’s a happy healthy little boy with a great imagination. His closest playmate is his sister…its only natural he should share her interests and plays. Go to Target, get him the tshirt that says “my mommy doesn’t want your advice” and one for yourself that says MYOB! i’m sorry if that sounds harsh…but sometimes ppl just make me a little crazy!

  9. Tracy says

    A happy, healthy child who uses his imagination is wonderful indeed. I’m not a parent, but I have been a teacher for the past twenty-four years, and your post brought to mind a poem, Bedecked, that my sixth grade students discussed this year. It is included below. If you are interested in some of the sixth graders responses, you can check out their comments here:


    Tell me it’s wrong the scarlet nails my son sports or the toy
    store rings he clusters four jewels to each finger.

    He’s bedecked. I see the other mothers looking at the star
    choker, the rhinestone strand he fastens over a sock.
    Sometimes I help him find sparkle clip-ons when he says
    sticker earrings look too fake.

    Tell me I should teach him it’s wrong to love the glitter that a
    boy’s only a boy who’d love a truck with a remote that revs,
    battery slamming into corners or Hot Wheels loop-de-looping
    off tracks into the tub.

    Then tell me it’s fine – really – maybe even a good thing – a boy
    who’s got some girl to him,
    and I’m right for the days he wears a pink shirt on the seesaw in
    the park.

    Tell me what you need to tell me but keep far away from my son
    who still loves a beautiful thing not for what it means –
    this way or that – but for the way facets set off prisms and
    prisms spin up everywhere
    and from his own jeweled body he’s cast rainbows – made every
    shining true color.

    Now try to tell me – man or woman – your heart was ever once
    that brave.

    ~ Victoria Redel

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