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“I’m a Princess Boy”
Parents throughout the ages have wondered what makes for a happy, healthy, well-adjusted child. Cases of bullying are everywhere in the media and many cases stem from someone perceived ‘weaker’ or ‘different.’ So what do caring, traditional parents like Dean and Cheryl Kilodavis do to support and protect their Princess Boy when he chooses dresses over trousers and society hasn’t quite caught up?
You love your child and end up educating others in the process.
Enter Cheryl Kilodavis, author of My Princess Boy, the story of her little boy, Dyson who happily expresses his authentic self by enjoying “traditional girl” things like jewelry, sparkles and anything pink. The book is a real conversation starter about unconditional friendship and teaches children — and adults — how to accept and support children for who they are and how they wish to look.
It should be noted the family consulted with physicians and mental health pr ofessionals to assess if Dyson was unhappy with his gender. It turns out, he’s mentally and medically healthy. Nobody knows if Dysons attire choices will be a precursor to a gay or bisexual sexual identity but again he’s five. “There are no cues from him …this is about expressing his interest. As a culture, we’re so interested in categorizing and not just be in the moment…but if it turns out to be the case we’ll support him.”
Today, with all of the media attention and growing book sales, Cheryl notes how proud she is of the journey her family has taken. “I’m ecstatic, overwhelmed and humbled by the national response to the conversation. Releasing a secret that we kept and then finding others let you know that you’re not alone.” She recalls it was easier to keep the “secret” in the home when Dyson was two and three but as he got older it had to be addressed. Now that Dyson is older and has friends his own age in school, daycare, and their extended family—he’s verbal about those who don’t accept him because he wears girls clothes.
“If you don’t like me in a dress, you are not my friend.”
Dyson’s mother says he actually coined the phrase, “Princess Boy.” And notes Dyson is taking on a bit more for his age but her job as a parent is to support and protect him, “he’s fine with the attention and that he carries the book around with him. Picking out everything pink and sparkly.” She notes both boys were cognizant that this media attention was coming. And that brother, Dykobe who’s interest lie more in soccer and science is fine with his younger brother’s new fame. She says, “They both shine in their own ways.”
Cheryl and her family are especially mindful that the book sends an anti-bullying message. “It’s been unbelievable—having a worldwide conversation is what was the point of it all.” She says, “adults have modeled bullying behavior for too long. Kids taking their own lives has got to stop.”
While some feedback has been hurtful, it has been mostly positive and affirming. “Men have come out and said thank you for taking the pressure off what a man is supposed to be,” Cheryl says.
“Acceptance takes exposure and there’s just no way around that.”