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EXCLUSIVE: The Father of “The Princess Boy”

By on April 28, 2011

You’ve met the son, five-year-old Dyson, inspiration for the children’s book, My Princess Boy.

But you may not know too  much  about his father, Dean Kilodavis, age 41, an ex-military guy, who’s kind of a guy’s guy.  Fathers and sons have always had complex relationships throughout the ages. But this is not the case with Dean Kilodavis and his boys, Dyson and Dkobe.  

Dkobe is the older brother, an active young man who plays soccer. And Dyson likes the color pink, wearing skirts, and all things sparkly. Two special boys, too different for a father, right? Well, not quite.  According to Dean he initially learned about Dyson’s attire preferences by phone from his wife, Cheryl as she picked him up from day care. And the first reaction was that of “surprise”, he says, “not negative; I thought that maybe there were not a lot of clothes for boys there so he was just playing with what they had.” Dean says, “when it happened again, I thought let’s see if he’s okay. I want to make sure he was happy and healthy.”

The family consulted with physicians and mental health professionals and was assured that Dyson was fine. He was normal by all accounts. But how does an ex-Navy guy allow his young son to greet the cruel world in a skirt and tights?  Both mother and father had a journey to the place they are today. Acceptance.

Dean Kilodavis is a hands-on father with his boys and says, “I‘m not a very image conscious person to allow others dictate how I should be or how my family should be.” Admirable, but still some may wonder, how could a dad allow his son to wear skirts and dresses? Why isn’t he being a better role model? And similar prickly questions. But spending time and listening to Kilodavis, you can hear his love for his family in every syllable he speaks. So much that he’s not only comfortable with his son’s attire choices but he says unequivocally, “I stand behind my family no matter what.” Knowing that some people will be critical of Dyson, Dean says “I’m asking people not to be cruel, be a human being.” He and wife Cheryl are fully aware there son is in the media and aim to protect him but also allow him to be himself without societal pressures. Again, admirable but far from a walk in the park. But Dean sees loving and protecting his son as more than just having a big bicep, “it’s about having an open heart too.”  

When asked if there was concern the clothing could lead to issues with his sexuality later, the proud father stated that people are fixated on the wrong things; “People need to get past the misconceptions that this is leading him toward a certain lifestyle or I’m making him less of a man. Don’t confuse a persons’ strength with how they dress.” The dad went on to acknowledge that Dyson is aware other males do not dress as he does and he chooses to dress that way, demonstrating a level of courage and confidence not found in many five year olds.  

“Just because one part of him [Dyson] doesn’t conform to what other people want doesn’t matter—this is my family, not your family.” Dean says an unkind minority in the public has made negative, hurtful statements and his role is to protect his family. But Dean says directly, “we are not going to lock him away someplace. I’m not going to have my child asking me why I can’t play in the front yard.”


  1. ozzie

    May 20, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    It is wonderful that you chose to write about this wonderful father and his family. You have helped improve awareness and sensitivity in the community and helped parents parenting children who don’t “fit in” to traditional gender roles. All parents can relate to trying to do the best for your child-these parents have done an amazing job.

  2. Randolph Tidd

    April 12, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    You might be a bit overboard with your judgmental attitudes. A lot those of statements are your views of your own life and its relationships. I am not one admonish you for what you believe to be the truth, but your not going to convince me and many others that anything going on in this family is destructive. There simply is not enough evidence to support your fears.

  3. missannsboy

    June 19, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    It’s interesting to read the vile hate speech in response to such a loving situation!
    Sad too, that so many people have allowed themselves to be such sheep, they won’t think for themselves.
    What has a pink skirt to do with living alone at 5?! Drinking?
    Shows how politicized our view of the superficial is in this culture. Would there be such a reaction, had the boy been a girl and wanted to wear only “boy’s” clothes!?

  4. Pingback: Help Wanted: African American Fathers

  5. UpSetWithFoolishness

    May 31, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    I completely agree with K.all.day!!! How in the world can you let a little boy decide what he likes and then allow it to lay the foundation for the boy’s life. When you are born you are born either a female or male, there is no other option; there wasn’t a mistake! He is 5, he can’t even spell his name without mistakes and they want him or they allow him to make his own decisions. If that is the case, he should ask his parents permission to move out and get his own apt at age 5!!!!!

  6. K.all.day

    May 5, 2011 at 9:00 am

    The mom is emasculating her husband, how can a exmilitary guy say ok ill go along with this crap? Obviously she’s runnung the show. I feel sorry for the kid, he doesnt know any better. If he wanted to eat candy for breakfast,lunch, and dinner would they let him. I guess so because un their world children know wats best for themselves. I dont think so. The role of parents is to lay out the path for their children. Yes children have a will but at 5 years old, they dont run the show. If you wannna smoke, drink, have sex, do drugs, dress like a pansy, you can do so after you move out and turn 18. bottom line,

  7. Sonia

    May 4, 2011 at 8:48 am

    What a great role model for your son, teaching him, it’s not about the outside, it’s all about the inside.

  8. Ron

    May 4, 2011 at 1:34 am

    In our society it takes the strength of all of the members of the family to makes this work. Everyone in this family have the right focus and not concerned about what society thinks.

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