Every day I hold my breath as I ask how her day was

by Janelle Hanchett

Instead of calling a human being an “it,” you can call them 

“he or she”

“him or her”



“sparkle face”

“love boat”


Or, most importantly, whatever they want to be called (even if that’s not perhaps your first thought).


If you don’t have that information, and you can’t tell their gender through the lens of traditional performance expectations (in other words you can’t “tell” if they’re a “boy” or “girl”)

You can resort to calling them anything really that





Recognizes their HUMANITY


As opposed to

erases it.


If you think it’s funny or true or politically poignant to refer to a human being as an inanimate object as if that human doesn’t have

brain bones soul like you do,

then you may raise a child who goes to school with my child

and stands in a circle on the playground yelling


and pointing to my baby


she comes home and tells me about it in




of tiny kid talk.


“I think they just didn’t know if I’m a boy or a girl” and you say WELL TELL THEM and she says I DID (but they won’t stop) so you tell the teacher and she investigates and all along you’re thinking it’s innocent 6-year-old confusion but the teacher says



These kids knew it was wrong. They knew what they were doing was wrong.

And you want to fall over






in the whole fucking thing

because of all the things in the world your baby is,


is not one of them.


Of all the things in the world she is first, human,

and what do you do if the world perhaps








The heart of 5 years, 5 months and 2 days grew first in my womb, home, and veins

born here with you



She’s OURS.

ALREADY made whole, full and

knowing who and how she is though maybe you deny



of her tiny heart

against my own silent pulse

the one



sent you, too,

in shockwaves to your guts –




of love,

breath, and bones.


There are a thousand things you can say instead of “it.”

Choose one.

They’re listening.




P.S. I’m not putting my child’s face up because the thought of People of the Interwebz criticizing the way my baby dresses herself makes me want to stab things. And though this is about her, it’s for every kid like her, every kid rocking aesthetics that the world may not quite understand. We love you. You’re alright. They are the problem. Fuck ’em. Get your cape on and do you.

115 Comments | Posted in Sometimes, I'm all deep and shit..... | January 7, 2016
  • Summer

    This breaks my heart and blows my mind….I can’t even imagine a 5 or 6 year old doing this to another child. I guess I am naive. I have a daughter the same age as yours (and a son who is 3) and we talk about how to treat others all.the.time. I don’t even really know what to write here….. but every time you post a photo of your sweet child, it puts a smile on my face. What an individual she is! My son always wants to wear nail polish…and there are adults who think it’s funny/odd…and they make comments to him and it pisses me off. He’s 3! He likes color, leave him be, he’s trying to find his own!….arg! I love your blog, your words ring true to me. Thanks for putting it out there.

    • Gretchen

      I love your observation and comment… ‘He loves Color’! With kids it is as simple as that!

      • Summer

        I totally agree!!!!!

    • Trisha

      My son always wanted to wear nail polish, play with barbies, and even wore a cindarella costume for Halloween when he was 3. We always let him be HIM!!! But oh, the comments…..the freaking comments that made me want to throat punch people????. He is now 13, and he still marches to the beat of his own drum. But he has so much confidence!! I think partly because he KNEW that no matter what, we loved him just the way he was!! So let your son be who HE wants to be! And the naysayers can (quite frankly) KISS MY ASS!!

      • Summer

        Thanks for your comment…your son sounds like an awesome kid!!!

    • Amanda

      This was so incredibly hard to read and I can not even imagine it happening to a child of mine. Why do kids have to be so mean – where does it come from? Love your beautiful child every day and tell them how incredible they are in their own skin! Tell them it won’t always be like this….let them love, laugh and dance as much as they want and celebrate them in their uniqueness! Stay strong!!

    • Helena

      I am on your team and believe that anyone with a heart will be prepared to defend you and your love. I promise to raise my son in such a way that he not only accepts others, but celebrates their uniqueness!! Keep being a superhero George! The world needs you

    • Amanda

      The world is full of hate, anger, violence and all sorts of other negative things….but I choose to see the good in others, the helpers, the lovers, the kind, caring, compassionate people that make a difference every day in the lives of others and model our behaviors after them. You are definitely doing this and I pray to God that more parents will find the time to teach this as well. As an early educator my motto to my kids “Good will ALWAYS win over evil!” Make this your mantra and love your beautiful children as God intended. Bless you and your beautiful family and your blog – I LOVE it!

  • Jen

    Hugs to you and your wonderful child.

  • Phillipa

    It is so hard to keep turning the other cheek when you have run out of cheeks. I am so sorry she had to go through that. People say kids are cruel, but you know what? They have to learn it from somewhere and shame on the parents who send their kids out in the world thinking it’s okay to make someone feel bad….about ANYTHING. Maybe they should look at themselves and figure out what it is they are disappointed in in themselves.

  • Amanda

    Oh Janelle!
    It breaks my heart for her little soul! Kids are out of control with ridiculousness these days. Bullies everywhere 🙁
    I hope she retains that spark that makes her incredible and fiery and doesn’t feel the need to conform to fit in with them.
    Sending superpowers and super strength to you and your baby girl! xo

  • Dani

    Someone called George an “it”? Want me to get a flight and have a word with the parents, in true Liverpool fashion? (Says the keyboard warrior who couldn’t fight her way out of a paper bag, but I’ll try!).

  • Tegan

    I’ve never read your blog before and this post struck home. My 3 yr old used my sewing scissors a few months ago to cut off ALL her hair while I was out hanging washing. She wanted to be like dad, and her new updated hair is bloody amazing. So incredibly rock and roll…but at Christmas shopping I had multiple people keep referring to her as son or boy because she’s dresses however she pleases. Same with my 5 yr old son. He wants to be The Doctor or David Attenborough….sometimes children ask why he’s so weird. They’re not…they are amazing and individual and we are so lucky to have them. They shine and make the world better. I’m so sorry that your child was treated like this by her own peers. Completely NOT acceptable.

  • Kathleen

    This makes me so angry and sick and sad. What kind of world are we living in that a beautiful little soul like Georgia has to deal with that kind of mistreatment? And what kind of parents do those children have that have taught them that that kind of behavior is ok? These are the things that make me want to grab my two boys and run away and hide out in the woods somewhere In a log cabin. Away from everyone and free to paint our nails and play with our bulldozers or whatever the fuck else we care to do. Love to George and you and your family. People suck.

  • Daddy Scratches

    Kids suck. Other people’s kids, I mean. Not ours. Ours are not raised by douchebags, and so they themselves are not douchebags.
    But also: fuck them. She’ll have the last laugh.
    (But I’m sorry you’re dealing with this.)

    • renegademama

      Dear world: Please stop raising douchebags.

      Sincerely, the rest of us.

      • Angie

        Ha, love that. And I agree.

      • Daddy Scratches

        I concur.

      • Kerry

        Can we pool our money and get that on a billboard?

      • Amanda

        RenegadeMama – so very well put! I want to be your friend!!!

  • Janet

    I’m so sorry, and I completely understand your pain and frustration. While not for the same reasons, my 5 year old tends to get frozen out by several kids in her kindergarten class. I had one over for a playdate last weekend to try and build some semblance of an alliance with someone, and the little girl asked me several times if she could go play with my 5 year olds big sister. It was heartbreaking to see my daughter’s face as she soldiered on through this, and tried to engage the other little girl in crafts and games. I too have spoken to the teacher, and all I am told is that my daughter is too mature (not precocious, she’s thoughtful and introspective, an “old soul”) for most of the girls her own age, and no one is really a suitable playmate. I’m running out of things to try and keep her spirits up about going to school each day.

    • Rina

      I am right there with you! I dropped my 7yo son off at school today, and as we waited to go inside the gym, he waved to another boy in his class and called his name, and the boy looked at him, turned away and spoke to someone else – completely ignoring him. My son was devastated. There are days he’s playing by himself when I pick him up and he eats by himself at lunch – and the school teachers/principal don’t worry about it. In fact, his grades started to slip and we were told we should have him medicated, maybe he would fit in and focus better. Right before winter break he kept telling me, “I’m just not good at school, mommy”. It breaks my heart!

      • Nina

        “Have him medicated”??? I cannot believe that was the solution suggested, it rattles my bones

        • Rina

          Oh, she was so carefree with it. My husband and I went in seriously concerned for our child, looking for help, tutors, extra support, knowledge…ANYTHING! and she said well, he just doesn’t fit into the box that I like the kids to be in. BUT if you take him to his pediatrician, tell her the trouble I’m having, she’ll send me a form, I can fill it out and she’ll prescribe a little pill that will make him adaptable to his surroundings. SO, I marched my happiness to the pedi…with our son and told her exactly what was said, and our pedi spoke to our son for a little over two hours, interacted with him, checked his grade performance by her standards and turned to me and said. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOUR SON THAT REQUIRES MEDICATION. He is unique, intelligent and an all around cute kid. My hubster and I have gone about helping him more, and slowly are watching his grades improve. He’s just too smart and too bored with what’s being taught in school, so we have to make it interesting!

          • Life With Teens

            It may interest you to know that it is ILLEGAL for that admin to suggest medication. What she did was not only unethical, it crossed the line into what is, legally speaking, a chargeable offense.

            It’s a common practice amongst admins and teachers to make suggestions like that, but they are not qualified to diagnose, nor to recommend medication or even treatment. I learned that when our school refused to work with us and our counselor.

            Long story short- I homeschool my son now and although there was serious damage done by administration that insisted upon treating mental challenges (anxiety and depression) as a “discipline problem,” he’ll get his GED in the spring when he turns 16, and the world will be open to him. He can go to college if that’s what he chooses, or get a job for a couple years before deciding on a career path.

            What he won’t do is live in my basement playing video games. :-p I’ve told him that and criminal activity are the only doors absolutely closed to him.

            It took several years to rebuild his confidence, but I’m watching a young man bloom, in SPITE of the administration at our school. That’s a sad thing, but it’s reality for us. Good for you, for standing up for your son and making sure he knows he has your support. That, above all else, is what makes the difference in a child’s life. <3

      • Ash

        Dude. CHANGE SCHOOL. Your school is full of shitburgers. (Auto correct changed that to ‘shot urges’ and really, I had to agree with it for once). Any time the adults suggest medication when the kids are being uneducated little bastards, that’s your clue.

        • Laura R

          NOT ACCEPTABLE. Change schools if there is any way to do so. Go and talk to teachers and the principal multiple times if you have to. Be a pain in the ass. Your son is worth it.

        • Rina

          Oh, we’re working on it. Unfortunately, moving is involved or trying to find someone to let us use their address for the school a city over. I’ll fight for him and I’ve told him this – I’m his biggest voice and I’ll continue to build him up. Even as they keep trying to knock him down. ***I do like the term shitburgers…very refreshing, lol!***

  • Jessica

    I wish peace and empathy for your precious little one, but just reading this, I am grateful that she has you. I am willing to wager a large sum that your rock solid support means way more than you know. For the kids around her, I wish eyes opening. I wish an education in empathy. I wish grown-ups who understand that teaching kids to seek to understand and value one another is as important as (more important than?) understanding the alphabet or numerical fluency.

    • renegademama

      So true! SO TRUE. we should teach “how to be be a nice human” ONLY and then reading. When they’re like 9. haha

      • Biz

        Agreed! xo

  • LisaC

    My heart aches for each little soul damaged by mean little shits.

    Kindness and Generosity of Spirit should be a mandatory class since some of us obviously aren’t that skilled in teaching it at home.

  • Ailbhe Slevin

    I just told my five year old son what happened to Georgia and he wants to go to her school and do his ninja moves on those kids. We live in Ireland, but we can make it work.

    • renegademama

      Yes, please! They can do it together. Thank you.

  • Jane


    I want to utterly destroy a world like this.

    • renegademama

      Yes. Yes. My first thought is always “I hate people.”

      I don’t. But I do. Fuck.

  • Jen

    Georgia is now and has always been such a Beauty! We loved watching her explore the world around her while hanging out at the softball fields waiting for Big Sis & I have loved reading about her growth through your blog in the years since. Sending lots of Love & Hugs!

  • Katie

    My heart aches for her. Kids can be cruel and kids can be thoughtless, and to call it unfair is an understatement. I’m so glad that she has you, that she has a warm safe place to come home to, a place she feels safe and comfortable enough in to speak to you about these things. That means the world.

    Here’s to trying to raise children that are respectful and understanding.

  • B

    My 5 year old daughter came down in a yellow paper crown, navy blue top with polar bears, blue polka dot skirt, luminous yellow trousers and pink sparkly trainers.

    She smiled and stated ‘I’m so cute fashion aren’t I mummy?’

    Yes, yes you are darling!

  • Robbyn

    Oh my heart. More importantly, your heart. Most important, Georgie’s heart. Sending much much love from Alberta.

  • Kate

    My heart aches for you and your gorgeous Georgia. I was bullied at the age of five, just because I was poorer than the kids I went to school with. My son was constantly questioned about his long hair because he was a beautiful little boy, who insisted I cut his hair before he began school. Where do people learn to be mean? I don’t think they are born with it. Keep saying. We need your voice to help.

  • Julie

    May she know her own strength and not let them steal her beauty (inner and outer)! This gender stuff is crap. My baby boy is 10 months old. He was born with a full and beautiful head of hair. I’m getting pressure from left and right to cut it. But I didn’t cut my daughters until she was 2 years old. When I put a pony in it, people think he’s a girl. I’m not ready to cut it. Then I saw the pics of Arlo with his pony and I decided on the spot…fuck the gender stereotyping and everyone who has a problem with my baby’s hair. I’ll cut it when I’m good and ready even if it is down to his butt! You are an awesome mom and an inspiration.

    • 3in2years

      just a high five to you,
      my mom-in-law gave in 40+ yrs ago to cutting my spouses hair when he was at that age of cute long curl wisps. she regrets it to this day–and told of it many times when our (her grandkids) were tiny! Only do it when you or your kid are ready, if, when, or never!
      Grab your cape, and do YOU!

      I love that.

    • Elizabeth

      My youngest is 7, and his hair is down to his butt. It’s gorgeous, and everyone who knows him loves it. Most people who don’t know him think he’s a girl, but we always correct them – because, dammit, boys can have long hair, too! It’s his hair and his decision. He’ll cut it when/if he’s ready.

  • Kelly

    I want to fucking cut someone just reading this. Capes? FUCKING AWESOME. Rock on, little one.

  • Gina

    I hate these kids and I hate their parents. If that’s wrong, I don’t wanna be right.

    Your baby is a beautiful, shining star with an infectious smile and evervescent personality. Anyone who has trouble recognizing that is a shitbag.

  • M

    I had to pull my kid out of his first kindergarten this fall because of this exactly. It left me feeling very stabby- towards the teacher (who seemed to miss everything, including when a classmate actually stabbed him), the administrators (who turned a blind eye and kept refusing and rescheduling my requests for a meeting), his classmates’ parents (who, by the way, also bullied him in the classroom), and even many of the the other kids in his class. The capacity that kindergartners have for cruelty is absofuckinglutely astonishing. I had no idea.

    He’s at a new school now, and his classmates don’t care whether he wear a tutu and pink flowered rain boots to class, or a ninja turtle sweatshirt (with an awesome hood that doubles as a mask) and sweatpants. He’s not getting bullied anymore, and the kids in his class, who have accepted that he’s cool with both masculine and feminine pronouns, all invite him to play during recess. Because he’s an awesome kid and a kind and wonderful friend.

    There is hope. It’s just hard to find sometimes.

  • Teri

    I read this and read the comments…I love the responses to this post. I have read this blog for years, and although my “baby” just turned 18, I can relate. Kids can be cruel, and yes, they probably learned it at home or from other kids who did. Or the television, or the world in general. Sadly, those mean kids grow up to be mean adults…it is our duty as parents and people to do our very best to raise kind, caring kids so that the world will get better…one expressive, kind individual at a time

  • Trish

    You’ve probably already considered this, but could you find a school for her that has like minded families and staff that will support her and really address what is happening with the other kids? I know they exist bc that’s the kind of place my kids go. There are several kids there that dont conform to the expectaions that they dress their “gender” and I hear how the teachers and faculty model kindness and and will not tolerate anything less. Curiosity is natural from the younger kids so a private conversation adressing those questions and appropriate behaviour around their classmate is an expectation. At least for the hours that the kids are there they arent being influenced by ignorant assholes. Usually that means a private school and I get how financially impossible that feels but I still wanted to suggest it. Sending love and strength to you and your beautifully spirited family.

  • Liz

    I know her pain. When I was 8, I wanted my hair cut short, REALLY short. I loved pink and dresses and lots of “girly” things but wanted a “boys” haircut. First day back at school, I was dragged into the boys washroom and called “it”…this went on for 4 months everyday until my hair grew back to an acceptable “girl” length. I told no one because I thought it was my fault. I have never cut my hair that short since. This was nearly 30 years ago. Thank you for being so kind and empathetic to who George really is. She is going to grow up and do amazing things thanks to your love and acceptance. Please keep making the world a better place Janelle, you sure make mine better!

  • Cath

    I don’t know whether this will help – I hope it does – my oldest son was badly bullied at school but somehow he’s come out the other end as such a strong, independent young man who thinks for himself (now 27) and recently spent some of his hard-earned cash on buying a meat pie for a homeless man (you can’t imagine my pride – even when the homeless guy told my son that he doesn’t like meat pies – haaaaa). The bullies are still just run-of-the-mill losers. As long as she has you standing with her and listening to her, I’m sure she’ll be splendid. And those lousy little shits will still be losers.

  • Shae

    My biggest problem with my daughter who chooses short hair and clothes from all
    Parts of the shop is not that she makes these choices…it’s that people can be so so mean about it. It brings out my mama bear. If we lived around the corner they could play together so they saw how fucking normal and awesome they are. But Australia is a long way away! Email if you want them to Skype.

  • Stephanie

    “Fuck’em. Wear your cape.”

    I want that on a t-shirt.

    Can I stab things with you?

    • renegademama

      um brilliant. i may do this. love you Stephanie.

      • Jennifer K

        Yes! Please make t-shirts with some of your words of fucking awesomeness on them!

    • Jessie


  • Doni

    My youngest has represented as everything from a girly-girl to a tom-boy to…

    When he finally transitioned to a transgender boy (at 13), my biggest fear was him having to endure the sideways glances, the whispers behind his back, the general shit fest that is junior high. He’s always had a strong sense of who he is — even if it morphed or wasn’t always as clear to the rest of us. My biggest fear all along has been that he will lose that. That he’ll squash down everything that makes him so uniquely him. But…so far, so good.

    He came home yesterday and told me they started their “couples dancing” segment in PE. He framed it as, “wanna hear something annoying, Mom?” I’m ready to go all Mama Bear on the 8th grade class. But we both try to keep it in perspective. There are “ignorant” people in the world. He’s going to have a more interesting and fulfilling life than any of them.

  • Stacey

    I had a few thoughts while reading this. Firstly, loads of empathy for the pain your little girl felt, I definitely relate to feeling alienated from peers as a child (I didn’t get called an it, just a weirdo etc). Second, I’m so glad the teacher was able to name it truly and not try to gloss over what the other kids did. I think a lot of adults try to minimise gender policing behaviour as harmless, so it’s good the teacher is aware of the dynamic. Third, you’d be surprised at the kind of kids who gender police. My daughter had a really short haircut at age 4/5 and we were hanging with a bunch of kids and mums I thought were really switched on feminist types. And yet the other kids still insisted my daughter couldn’t be a girl, because she had short hair. Even though several of the adult women had short hair. In my experience, most parents reinforce gender stereotyping without really thinking about it, or don’t challenge it when their kids seem to be absorbing what society is telling them. Even the parents you’d think would know better.

    It gets better. It’s really hard at this age. They want to be accepted and most kids conform to be accepted. To have a child who refuses to conform is an amazing and wonderful thing, even though it brings pain because other kids are fierce in trying to make them conform. I hope your little one can hold onto that inner spark and continue to be herself. Hopefully the teacher can initiate discussions about standing up for people (this is something teachers did at my kids’ school… talked about how when you see someone being mean to someone else, to stand up and say “that’s not ok!” Trying to combat the bystander effect from an early age). *hugs* to you.

    • Debra

      Yes! Ages ago at the most hippy dippy progressive preschool in town, a 5 yr old girl said a most illuminating thing. My son (about 3 and pretty obviously a boy) was wearing purple sandals. She asked me whether he was a boy or a girl. I said, this is D., he is a boy. ‘Hmm,’ she said, ‘no, he isn’t. He can’t be a boy because he is wearing purple sandals.’
      I was really taken aback at how deeply some gender bias had taken root there, but tried to use it as a teachable moment.

  • Lisa

    Thank you for being her advocate. And let George know there is an entire world of mama bears out here who will fight for her right to be herself, to dress as she wants, to be her spectacular self, any ol’ day of the week–she is never, ever, ever alone. And yes, to all of our daughters and sons, who define the rules for themselves and dare to be who they are. They will change our world.

  • Laura

    I love you!

  • Shawna

    Ah, yes. The norm. When my daughter was 7 or so, she presented me with this lovely bit of logic:

    Mom. If everyone is weird, why isn’t being weird normal? And if weird is normal, Isn’t being normal weird?

    Proud to be mama to kids who rock their cape and fly their freak flag.

    • Amber

      My kiddos 10 and 6 are going through something similar. We moved from Indiana to Montana, so the way of life is really different. My babies come home everyday upset or mad about something. People ignoring them, teachers being rude, and I think to myself “you’re all shits”. And I’m that mom who will have no hesitation to go to the school, and explain to these “its” (let’s be honest, these are the true it’s of the world), exactly how this is going to go. If not, I have no reservations to pull them and home school.

  • Rachelle

    Poetic timing. It’s amazing that elementary aged kids can be such douchecanoes (love your word). Don’t they have parents? (Maybe their parents are douchecanoes.)

    My daughter – who we nicknamed The Governor when she was about 2 because she doesn’t know a stranger in the world – is witty, caring, generous to a fault, a talented little actress, and smart as a whip. She’s also a proud freak flag flying, comic book and barbie obsessed person of her own. She’s 11. She wears her brothers old rock tee shirts, dresses with combat boots, and giant funky jewelry that she makes herself.

    I’m honored to know my kid – at 11 – has the self awareness and self confidence to be her own person. (Plus, she’s freaking cool!)

    And then she comes home from school hurt because one of her ‘friends’ (a suspected douchecanoe) said everyone only pretends to like her. That they feel bad for her because she’s different.

    They WISH they had the balls to be different. To be their real selves and not some Stepford version of an 11 year old.

    The only thing keeping me from going all Mama Bear and calling a bunch of parents is PITY. I pity that these kids have set themselves up for years of insecurity. That they spend their days caring whether they look/wear/said/smell/did the ‘right’ think – rather than the real thing.

    But I have the wisdom of age. And my sweet kiddo has a bruised heart. Sometimes kids are assholes. Douchecanoes. Whatever. I want to step on them, but first I have to love on my daughter. Good parents unite.

  • lindsayvail

    Heartbreaking. I don’t want the jerks to get Georgia down, don’t turn her light heart hard. You are an awesome mama.

  • Patty

    My children are told it’s their job as members of humanity to stand with the child being called names… They do. I wish your daughter went to our school. My girls would not let her feel that way….


    This is a beautiful piece. I’m so sorry that your child is having to experience this at school. Please know that as a teacher and a Mom, I do everything possible to make my high school classroom a safe environment where everyone is accepted and comfortable. The fact that a teacher knew her students were tormenting your baby and did NOTHING makes me steam with anger. Thank you for this – I’m sharing it because everyone needs to read it. I don’t care about what anyone’s political or religious leanings are, it is NEVER okay to victimize someone just because YOU can’t get your head around the fact that they don’t fit into a neat little box. <3

  • Monica

    This hurts my heart, but it makes me glad that Georgia’s teacher was not turning a blind eye and let you know what the kids were doing was unacceptable. So glad she has you. You rock, she rocks, your whole family rocks.

    People need to remember, Don’t be a dick.

    Rock on with your cape on!

  • Suzy

    Oh Renegade Mama, you’re raising a unicorn. That’s a wonderful thing! I’m an older, wrinklier version of you. About a decade ago I had that kid who the assholes picked on for no other reason than he was sweet and breathing. I told him we loved him, he needed to ignore the mean kids, befriend nice people and that he should continue to shine on! Fast forward a decade: He’s a nice, Jesus loving, GOOD guy. I really like his kind, sweet friends. He’s a really, really decent human being. My husband and I have 6 (foreign adopted) teenagers. They can be assholes now, but usually people tell me they are “good” kids. I’m not taking any credit except to say we have always loved the “unicorns” they are; we adore what makes them different from the other iPod bearing, selfie snapping, koolest kid on the soccer team type peeps.
    It’s all going to be okay. Hopefully, you know that. A renegade mom’s love goes a loooooong way in a unicorn’s life.

  • Renee

    Kids are assholes! They were 45 years ago and they haven’t gotten any better. At least
    back then they had a chance to grow up to be decent adults because they grew up in the 50’s and 60’s. Now, a lot of them don’t have a chance in hell to make it out alive. Sorry that happened to Georgia. I love kids like her. I am sure I would love her as well. One day, she will put them back into their place and you will just shake your head and smile and say “take that suckers”. Until then, just hug her a little more and tell her she is perfect!

  • Jennifer

    This post struck me hard. I’m fairly new to your blog but love every minute of it and this one…this one…

    I am raising three non-binary kids. All three identify as queer. One is gender fluid and one identifies as agender. The bullshit they have had to endure is absolutely heartbreaking and gutwrenching. I have spent so much time in school offices trying to defend them and get support and I have felt like I was shoveling shit against the tide. On the other hand, I have three of the most amazing kids on the planet. They are smart and funny and talented and just these little justice warriors. I can’t believe they came out of my body sometimes. This is not what I had pictured for them and maybe I wouldn’t have chosen these paths for them, but that’s the point. I didn’t choose. God did and I have to put my kids in His hands like I gave him my sobriety. I wouldn’t trade my kids for anything. I can actually feel pity for those who don’t see their light….on a good day. On a bad day, I want to tear up the haters.

    • Kagi

      We’re a multiple (alternate personalities), but most of us identify as non-binary, genderfluid, or queer in other ways. Your comment hit us hard because…you said you didn’t choose, God did. My parents are deeply religious evangelical fundamentalists, and cannot accept one single thing about who we really are.

      Non-binary is incomprehensible to them, though we have explained repeatedly, or tried to. Gender non-comforming, queerness in general, is considered ‘not God’s plan’ and ‘we just want the best for you, God has something so much better for you if you would just be who he made you to be’, which in their opinion, is a submissive little woman. Singular, with no alternate personalities. They don’t understand that all of us are vital, necessary, functioning parts of a whole, an All that works as a unit, supports each other and makes it possible for us to function with our heightened sensitivities – being sligtly autistic is another thing they refuse to accept.

      I’m the front, the outside, the one that’s usually ‘out’ and speaking/acting – I speak for the All, sometimes, and sometimes just for me. Personally I am non-binary because I am neither male or female, but sometimes somehow both? it’s kind of a neither/both thing, and if gender is a spectrum, as our resident hgenderfluid Rien believes it to be, then I am squarely in the middle of it. We’ve also got an agender (Ilka), and a femme nb (Tira) who uses female pronouns but insists she is not a woman, just a person who happens to like a lot of ‘girly’ things.

      Then we have Key, who is effectively a transman since the body is female, a lesbian (Jetaan) and an asexual (Liliat), or possibly demisexual, she doesn’t really know yet. Jet and Key are demisexual as well, and Rien is pansexual. I’m kind of bi but prefer women, and my parents just….don’t handle any of it well at all. Queerness is, to them, ‘unnatural’ and something that needs to be fixed or a phase to be gotten over.

      You saying that about your kids just…kind of makes us teary, and grateful they have you. The value of your support and belief in them is incalculable; know that it does make a difference, and always will, no matter what they face in the world. We wish you and them all the grace and peace and love it takes to survive being different in a world like this.

      • Jennifer

        Took me a while to get back. Thanks for your comment. I hope you find support and love – for what it’s worth you have mine. I can understand parents not understanding the spectrum, but I cannot understanding not loving your kid anyway.

  • Caron

    I’d like to get a cute little tshirt made up that says: “You may call me “It” if I can call you “Bully”

    The kids won’t get it but the teachers and other parents will very fucking quickly. Little assholes bred from big ones allowances.
    I hope they stop soon!

  • Nicky

    So sorry you had to endure that hurt and see that ugliness. Know that the world is changing so fast on these issues that however your beautiful sparkly child identifies will be embraced by all but the most regressive little corners of society. These kids are woefully ill equipped for the emerging future! Your baby has all the love in the world and her own fierce little heart to protect her. I hope these other kids get a chance to learn the skills and gain the understanding they will need to live similarly full and happy lives as they grow up in the modern world!

  • Alysicia

    This hurts my heart in so many ways. I remember taunts, I fear the same pain for my kids. G is definitely not an “it”, she rocks on so many levels and wish my daughters had more friends like her. Fight the good fight and keep reminding her how much she rocks and that there are more people who think so.

  • Trisha

    I LOVE THIS!!! I hope that George will ALWAYS want to wear her cape!! It is very sad to see how young kids are now who FULLY understand that they are being a dick. Because Mommy and Daddy are dicks. Fucking dicks!!! I have a son who has fully embraced his “weirdness”, and that kid has more confidence than I could of ever dreamed of having at his age!! I think partly because he KNOWS that I and his Dad love him, no matter what!!! Geroge will be okay cause she has you!!

  • Eve

    When you first posted about this incident a few months ago I immediately went in to talk to my kindergartener about what we call someone when we aren’t sure of their gender and the importance of never intentionally hurting someone else’s feelings. This is something we discuss regularly but hearing about this happening to one of my top ten favorite people made me feel like punching someone. I hope my kids will never be mean like this. I hope I’ve raised them to be kind. I hope.

  • Kaitlin

    My 3-year-old daughter said to me the other day, “I think when girls grow up they get penises.” I think this comment was mostly about reindeer, and how I told her I found out that Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer movie is wrong because it’s only the female reindeer who have antlers in winter (woah by the way). Anyway, I responded with “Well no, not unless they really really want them and then they go get surgery or something to get them.” Queer education starts young. And it’s for everyone. Parents need to be active in telling each of those bullies that gender is a form of self-expression, not something to be policed. I would wish and hope the school can do some kind of gender education. Read a book. Discuss stereotypes. Find out what the kids are actually thinking. Unfortunately this usually is done by volunteers and you obviously have time for that yes? Maybe you have some solid ally parent friends in the class who’d volunteer to do it?

  • Jay

    I am incredibly sorry your precious, beautiful, child was hurt like that…and that you were hurt as well. I’ve been dismissed as a ‘whatever’ when someone wasn’t sure of my gender. And it was done in a very public, very humiliating way. And I’m not even an innocent child, I’m a 44yr old adult. I’m so SO happy your baby has YOU for a mom. I’m also glad you have this blog platform to make such a beautifully stated, albeit heart-wrenching post for millions of others to see. I will share this and encourage others to share as well. Peace to you and your little one <3

  • Lyndsy

    This is beautiful, Janelle. She is so lucky to have you guiding her, letting her be who she is, giving her the courage to eventually tell the ass holes of the world. .”hey, this is me….you don’t like it? FUCK OFF.”
    Hang in there. We are behind you.

  • Emily

    My girl was picked on too. Different reasons. Your stomach really never unclenches.

    Why oh why are there so many douche bags

  • Chloe D

    You are a great Mom.

  • Nyk Snow

    Love them. No matter what, Love them.
    We need this most of all.

  • Evan

    Oh, man. I’m so sorry George is having to learn about this side of life already! People, including some kids, are dicks. Plain and simple. My 2 year old son loves pink sparkle nail polish, tiaras and fairy dresses almost as much as he loves trucks and trains… Kids don’t “know any better” than to love what speaks to them. Keep doing what you are doing, mama, and just trust that there are more parents like you every day that are raising more kids to love what they love outside of the gender typed “norm”.

  • Cassey

    All of the beeeeeeeeeeeeg hugs for her and you. People are such…ugh.

  • Janna

    Love your writing style. So raw and poetic. And what you wrote about touched my heart . I’m a mom to a transgender child who was gender non conforming at a young age.
    I feel so sad your child was treated so disrespectfully.
    One story came to mind:
    When at the gender spectrum conference a mom told us her child wanted to be referred to as “it”. She found it incredibly difficult and it broke my heart.

  • kathys

    People suck. Other people’s kids really suck. George is going to continue to be a fine, good, strong, remarkable person just like her mom.

  • Elizabeth

    I feel ya, Mama. I’m raising two amazing, creative, intelligent, mind-blowing gender non-conformists, and every time we go out of our little comfort zone, I have to prepare myself for the idiots of the world who will undoubtedly make unsolicited comments on their appearance. Luckily, the kids/teachers/parents at their school accept them for who they are, but my oldest starts middle school next year, and I’m already having anxiety over what fresh hell that may be. *sigh*

    P.S. All four of your little humans are perfection. (But you already knew that.) 😉

  • Lauren

    Did the teacher imply that the students understood the implications of words, or did he/she refuse to intervene?

  • Bess

    Oh, George…. I’m so sorry that people hurt you, and that the way you decide that you’ve had a good day is when the other kids don’t call you “it.”

    Janelle, keep doing what you’re doing, because you’re obviously doing it DEAD RIGHT.

  • Kerry

    My son is 8. His favorite color was pink until he started KG and was told that boys don’t like pink. Sometimes I hate the world, until I remember that there are people like you and your beautiful kids floating around out here with me. Stay strong mama and don’t let the bastards win.

  • Amanda

    My daughter is 18. From the time she was 9 until she was 13, the bullying would not stop. She did not have any friends at school. Kids called her weird, retarded and annoying. She sat alone at lunch every single day. She would beg me to buy her the latest fads thinking that this gadget or jacket or shoes would finally be the key that gave her a circle of friends. It never did. After 4 long, horrible years, we finally saved enough money to move to a different school district. It was better, but not perfect. We kind of resigned ourselves to thinking that she might always be the odd man out. And then she started applying to colleges and guess what? Admissions Committees LIKE kids like ours. The ones who think, act and behave differently. Because our kids make the world more interesting and they sure as hell challenge the status quo which is something that is expected when people leave behind their little worlds and their stupid stereotypes and embrace humanity. I have no idea what happened to all those awful kids but my daughter is kicking ass in NYC at Columbia majoring in Human Rights. You all will get through this. It will always be painful, but Georgia is going to be alright.

  • Mariek

    For all the days I have read your blog for comfort, strength and laughter, today I just want to hold you (and George). Kids are like people; we need to raise better ones..

  • Marta

    No!!!! 🙁
    Fuck you, mankind!
    It breaks my heart that children as little as this, who should still have open hearts, are repeating crao like this. Beautiful, wonderful, inspiring Georgia. Can’t begin to imagine the animal rage you must be feeling.
    Keep rocking and being the awesome supportive mother you are.

  • Maggie

    For what it’s worth, I think your daughter is so beautiful, and am so thankful that moms (and dads) like you exist; those willing to let their children be exactly who they are, and supporting them in whatever way needed to stay that way. It takes strength and courage to be different and be willing to stay true to yourself. The world is full of ignorant people and the only way we can change that is by continuing to stay true to who we are, and continuing to support our children in being true to who they are. One person at a time.

  • Mary

    Thank you for sharing. You’d be surprised by how many of my students have school as the only safe place to be who they are. What they all need is a mom like you. We teachers who love them feel helpless sometimes.

  • Pat

    I was a gender-fluid kid – a “tomboy,” in the parlance of the 80’s, although in retrospect I was far more “trans” than anyone, including me, would have admitted, because admitting it would have been a one-way ticket to Hell or forced conversion therapy.

    Anyway, when I was in middle school, some of the other kids started calling me “Pat” after the androgynous SNL character. My parents and I never watched the show so I didn’t really get the joke. We happened to catch it one night, and I saw Pat in all his/her glory, a person like me being played for cheap laughs, humor in the currency of revulsion. I was mortified. My parents didn’t seem to care.

    I realized that they thought *I* was the one with the problem, not the other kids. After all, I was asking for it by looking the way I did. If I wanted people to stop making fun of my gender, I should be more feminine. Right? Sigh.

    You and I occupy divergent worldviews in many respects, but I hope that one day, when I become a parent, I’ll take on that job with a heart as big as yours.

  • CJ

    A note to George:

    Hi George. My name is CJ. I am a mommy with a mostly-bald head and big glasses. Sometimes I look more like what people think a boy looks like and sometimes I look more like what people think a girl looks like, depending on how I feel. I have a husband and a little boy who is 3 and a cat and a dog. Sometimes people say mean things or look at me funny or look at my family funny. And sometimes they look because I might be wearing a bright pink wig and that’s just pretty awesome! But I have a mom that loves me AND I’m a mommy that loves my little boy and he loves me even if I don’t look like the other mommies. So keep being the best and most fun “you” that you can be, George, because knowing you’re pretty awesome, smart and fun is way better than trying to be anyone else. And also give your mommy lots of hugs. We mommies like hugs. 🙂 ::High five!::


    Hi Janelle,
    I love your voice and hope to be reading your novel one day. I have two boys (one has special needs) ages 8&9 and I am always on high alert for bullying because through my own experiences growing up, I know how it can eat away at our children’s self esteem. I would LOVE to see a state mandated EVERYDAY anti-bullying class placed in every school and in every grade for our kids. It could hit on every topic from cyber bullying, where to go if they need to find help, how to not exclude and recognize exclusion, down to the very basics of how to play nice and use common sense that so many parents don’t teach because we’ve forgotten how to be civil humans ourselves. I’ve written to my governor about placing the ABC’S (anti- bullying classes) in our schools but I don’t get an answer, so maybe your fan’s and readers can give me an understanding as to why we don’t have this type of class in our schools (and I am not referring to the once a month anti-bullying campaign the schools currently run) Idea’s anyone?

  • Dawnbee

    From one mother of a kid who is a little bit different to another- I’m sorry that this happened to your beautiful child and to you. Recently dealt with a situation with my own kid, her classmates and a lame response from the school administration morons that are supposed to be keeping her safe that made me want to burn my whole town down to the ground, so I feel where you are at here and it sucks. We are considering a charter school and in the meantime, we just keep loving our fabulous, brilliant, beautiful, a little bit different kid. Hang in there. And would totally buy a “fuck ’em, wear your cape” shirt. Please consider sizes for both kids and their moms and then we could all wear them on the same day…would be so helpful to be able to immediately identify the people we may actually want to hang with lest we waste any more of our precious time on those other fuckers.

  • Jennifer

    I’ve been following you for a long time and I’ve watched as your family has grown and your kids have started to develop their own identities. I love that you don’t dictate that G conform to a certain standard or expectation. I have suspected there are many parents out there that don’t recognize the need to be supportive or a decent human being and I worried that she was going to experience the results of that type of parenting. To hear it happening at such a young age is heartbreaking. It’s heartbreaking G had to experience this AT ALL (no matter what age) but also these kids are forming a mindset that is unlikely to change as they grow up. Keep fighting the good fight.

  • Katie @ A Mother Thing

    My beautiful oldest son will be five next month. His entire life, he’s loved everything girly. Princesses, pastels, Dora the Explorer and makeup. Makeup has always been his thing. He has always insisted on getting his face made up so he can “be beautiful like mommy.” He was so excited this past Halloween because he wanted to dress up as Elsa, and I said he could.

    But sometime in October the other kids in his daycare started making fun of him, “explaining” to him that boys don’t wear makeup. Boys don’t like princesses. Etc. He suddenly became VERY aware of gender norms and started rejecting all the things he used to love.

    He still makes me put makeup on him, and he stares so happily into the mirror for about ten minutes afterward. Then he gets extremely sad and makes me remove it because “I don’t want anyone to see it.” My heart breaks for him.

    I’ve tried so hard to explain to him that he can be whomever he wants to be and express himself however he wishes. My husband has even put makeup on just to show him that boys can do anything they want. But I feel like those kids broke him.

    We took all the boys out of daycare, and they’re home with me all day now.

  • Nataly

    Your girl is resilient and these experiences will make her stronger. We can’t assume that all mean kids were raised that way. Sometimes it’s just playground politics. Kids get into Lord of the Flies mode and do what they can to survive out there. I’ve seen it in kids as young as four. We have to guide them and teach them coping skills and reduce the fight or flight response in the brain. If we go around blaming the parents, we’re no better than the playground bullies.

  • Heather

    Well shit! This makes me so angry.

    I have made it very clear to my 5 year old son that if he isn’t sure weather someone is a boy or a girl that he ASK. He had beautiful long blonde curly hair (I recently had to cut it off because it was getting matted – ha) and I had people either 1) think he was a girl or 2) say “to bad he isn’t a girl.” wtf. Because boys shouldn’t have long blonde thick curly shiny hair? His poor sister with the thin brown straight hair (which I think is beautiful). Are people thinking “to bad she isn’t a boy?” People are idiots. And here I am telling them they can be whoever they want to be – boy, girl, or not. My son goes to kindergarten next year. Terrifying thought.

  • Laura

    My 2 year old cut her hair, bad. So we had it cut into a pixie. People cannot fathom a girl with short hair! We went to a kids museum and one kid laughed ‘why is that boy in a tutu and tiara??’ And the mom looked at me crazy and said ‘I don’t know!!’ The best was at a park when she was dressed in my little pony sweats, pink shoes, and a pink barette. She was playing in the dirt and a man commented ‘what a good mom, letting a boy play in the dirt!!’ So I said ‘ thanks! But she’s a girl’ and he replied ‘ and you let her play in the dirt??’… blows my mind. Wish your kid was around the corner from mine!!!! We could play date and confuse everyone! I wish you and her the best!

  • Meridith

    My proudest moment so far was my 4 yr old telling me that sometimes boys marry boys and girls marry girls and sometimes girls marry boys….she’s four, she thought this out on her own. I am so damn proud of her open mind and heart. Kids ARE little people, not all their crap comes from home sometimes they figure out stuff themselves….it’s our job to make sure it’s the right stuff like being inclusive and loving and open to all the ways people are.

  • Kim

    Think of what an amazing person she will grow into. With the thick skin she is getting (there will AlWAYS be jerks, I guess 6 is as good time as any to learn) but having you, dad, and siblings making sure her soul doesn’t break. Only people with thick skins and soft souls can change the world. And you’re making one of those humans right now. Good luck, raising a hero will not be easy.

  • Slp

    Woooooof. My son is 15 months, he’s our first. I’ve already allowed these awful thoughts into my head, thoughts of him being bullied, pushed out, rejected, hurt. It shakes me to the core. Being a rookie mom, I have no advice. All I know is some of the weirdest kids I went to school with are now some of the most rock-solid, grounded, confident and rad people I am lucky to be associated with.

    Tell that sparkle-face of yours she’s loved. Tell her she’s gorgeous, in more ways than those shit kids know how to quantify.

  • Real Life Parenting

    How is it that I’m sitting here moved to tears of compassion and triumph and rage all at the same time??

    We’re changing the world–you are, she is, her teacher is, I am, my kids are … and all those who believe that compassion is what should drive our actions are. We will keep fighting for good. Along the way, we might have to punch a few people in the nuts–compassionately, of course.

  • Oana Costachescu

    I Just want to whip those little jerk’s asses raw… And to G, Shine on, you crazy diamond!

  • KT

    I am so glad you decided to post this. The raw feelings displayed in this post touched every millimeter of my mothering heart. I don’t understand why people don’t have the forethought to teach their kids not to be assholes. It is one of the most frustrating things in the world to me. If everyone grew up knowing kindness matters, the world would be a truly better place. Thank you for standing up for the kids who are the victims of this kind of behavior, and I applaud you for supporting your daughter so ardently.

  • Kate

    So I’m late to this post…
    But I’ve got to comment anyway.
    I agree so much with you.
    When I read your posts about your daughter and see the pics you post…i think of my little 6 yr old guy.
    He’s got mid-back length hair that is the color of butter. He has no desire to cut it and refuses even a tiny trim to keep the knots away.
    His favorite color is pink, but he mostly wears a tie-dyed t-shirt every single day.
    Over and above all of the extracurricular activities in which he participates, his very favorite is ballet.
    Every single trip to the playground finds him immediately running up to the biggest group of kids and asking them if they want to play hide and seek or tag or some other game.
    He is the sweetest and most affectionate child I’ve ever known.
    And yet…there is the boy we’ve known and seen every week for 2 years now that still calls my son SHE and HER. This boy has been told repeatedly that my son is a boy by…my son himself.
    The kids at the playground often call him ‘her’ or do not refer to him as anything because they don’t know what to do or how to show kindness when confused by gender roles.
    Kids at gymnastics laugh at him and wonder why ‘she’ is in the boys class…and “look at that boy with the ponytail!”
    And the parents of these little twerps….all standing around playing Candy Crush on their phone and ignoring the hell out of their kids…never say a word to their kid. Not ever.
    I’ve started to ask kids if their moms are boys…when they bug my son about looking like a girl…and these kids have moms with short hair. They get all confused and uncomfortable. I don’t care. Most often, these kids know full well that they are acting like jerks and they do it intentionally.
    It’s awful. It’s sad that you would need to worry about your daughter at school and how the other kids will treat her because she is simply being who she wants to be rather than conforming to the rest of our shitty society.
    Just keep being the amazing and supportive mom you are. You really seem to be an awesome parent and to have a really genuine family.

  • Lesa

    Homeschooling rocks.

  • Julie

    Fuck em is right! Thank you for this!