Open Letter to the Gender-Confused Dude in the Beard and Lipstick: My Kid Is Going to Stare. Get Over It

Dear Gender-Confused, Questioning, or Queer Guy with the beard wearing lipstick:

I saw your open letter to parents like me with young children who stare at you when you are out fannying about in your skirt and your lipstick without bothering to shave your face or attempting to pass as a woman in any way. You think it’s rude that my kid stares at you in the mall or at the beach or wherever you happen to be defying all gender-normative behavior. You don’t like it and you especially don’t like it when I tell my child not to stare at strangers or talk about them in public. You think I should drop whatever I’m doing at the moment to explain queer theory to my kindergartner.

Let me save you the trouble of worrying about this a second longer. That’s not going to happen. 

Let me tell you what is going to happen in my house. We don’t subscribe to the current false notion that gender identity is fluid or vast. There are two genders; male and female. Your chromosomes determine your sex. Whatever mental gymnastics are going on inside the minds of people who want to believe otherwise are none of my business. However, I will never lie to my child about biology or what their religion teaches them. We are Catholic. By that definition, we love our neighbors and we adhere to biblical teaching on what is male and what is female. And we thank and praise God for making our bodies perfect just the way that they are.

You suggested I pull my child aside after he asks why you’re wearing lipstick and say to him, “Yes, Johnny, sometimes boys do wear lipstick and that is perfectly okay. You can wear lipstick too if you want!” Except what you are suggesting is that I deny my religious beliefs and science to do so. Would you force a Muslim child to eat bacon to please your sensibilities? Would you have me tell my son that 2+2=5 because it makes you feel better?

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What can i say? I’m a TEAM PLAYER. And in case you’re wondering, my new gender identity is “running shorts” 🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️ had a blast (and pulled an iconic athleisure look) with my sis @rainvaldez at last night’s premiere of @brittanyrunsmov! Also, according to @nylonmag, I “absolutely nailed the monochrome makeup look” which is hilarious because I did my makeup in approximately 5 mins 😘 Here’s some more info on what I’m wearing: Collar: @gnat_glitter_kink T-shirt: an original by @kelseybennett333 High socks: @diesel Kicks: @converse x @jw_anderson Sports gloves: stolen from my dad Running shorts: from my high school cross country team uniform #runbrittanyrun

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As a gender-non-conforming person, it seems to me that you have made a decision to be “queer” in many senses of the word and that comes with a lot of staring. When I was a kid it was the punk rockers who were the queer ones, with their rainbow mohawks and safety pins through the lip. They did those things to stand out. They liked the stares. Now it seems that you want to be that kind of rebel, only you aren’t brave enough to withstand the stares of the curious as part of the burden of that choice. No one says you have to go out painted like a mashup of Lady Gaga and John Wayne Gacy. That’s the choice you made. The consequence of that choice is that small children might be frightened or curious. The solution isn’t for their parents to agree with your fashion choices, but to teach our children manners. That includes not gawping at strangers, no matter how they look.

Your insistence, though, that all people conform to your non-conformity and your personal ideas of what a man can or should be is unsettling. You want to be able to define masculinity for you, but we are not allowed to do the same for ourselves? You cry for tolerance of your strangeness but are completely intolerant of biological sex-affirming philosophy. Most of us normies are perfectly happy the way we are, identifying as the sex that corresponds with our genitals and internal organs. We aren’t unenlightened. We are simply not burdened by sexual confusion. And until you decided to attack us for it, we were perfectly happy to live and let live. I don’t care what you wear. I just want to be left alone.

Speaking of gender dysphoria, it’s a mental disorder. Clearly, you are all working hard to have it taken off the list of disorders but even that won’t change the truth. People who suffer from gender dysphoria are truly living in pain. That is not something I would ever encourage in my children. On the contrary, I would seek out psychological help and therapy if any child of mine had this problem. Gender dysphoria is not a party. It’s a lifelong, crippling disorder that can result in the destruction of healthy body parts and suicide.

When my children ask me about a man in a dress, I will tell them not to talk about strangers in public in the exact same way I will tell them not to comment on an obese person’s looks. And then when we are in private I will explain to them that mental health is a serious issue in our society and we should have compassion and sympathy for those who are struggling with it. I will never encourage my children to participate in or celebrate mental illness. I will never tell my children that obesity is healthy for them if they choose it. In the same way, I will not tell them it’s okay to choose to distort the biology and identity that God gave them.

There’s one other issue that your letter reveals. The photographs of you seem to show a man who isn’t really interested in passing as female. There’s little attempt to hide male traits like your beard and facial features that are decidedly male. Add to that your style of dress, which is more performance art than “running out for errands like everyone else.” A biological woman in your outfits would draw stares too. You’re broadcasting a “look at me” vibe but you don’t want to be looked at. That doesn’t make sense.

To alleviate the staring, you could put more effort into passing as a regular-looking female in a toned-down wardrobe. Those who do, don’t get stared at. But is this really what you want? Or do you just enjoy making people uncomfortable? It seems like the latter to me. You can’t have it both ways and claim on one hand that you are gender non-conforming, and yet want everyone to treat you as if the way you look shouldn’t raise questioning eyebrows. It was a very short time ago when parents like me were very concerned that new bathroom rules for transgender people would quickly result in men in beards using our bathrooms, and here you are. Which bathroom do you use? If I came across you in my bathroom while out with my kids I’d be calling the cops.

So either try harder, or shut up about the staring.

Megan Fox is the author of “Believe Evidence; The Death of Due Process from Salome to #MeToo.” Follow on Twitter @MeganFoxWriter