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EXCLUSIVE: The Father of “The Princess Boy”
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.”