I am a Mum to three amazing boys. The youngest is Ollie aged 10 who just loves animals, the middle, James aged 11 who loves all things sport and the oldest Daniel aged 12 who loves to wear makeup.
From before he could even talk, Dan was attracted to all things ‘girly’. He had a kitchen, a hoover and various plastic hair and makeup sets. He would wrap anything he could get his hands on around his neck so that he had his very own ‘necklace; and he would love nothing better than when I would pretend to put blusher on him whilst I was putting on makeup myself. Little did I know that he would soon be able to put makeup on for me in a better way than I could dream of!
s he got older, the desire for ‘girly’ things grew and at any opportunity he would dress up in heels and dresses. Throughout primary school, he ‘tested the water’ on dressing up days, turning up in princess dresses and heels and thankfully no one turned a hair. He grew in confidence and quickly found himself a lovely group of friends who didn’t question the way he was.
Over the Summer before Daniel started secondary school, we moved house, from one side of the country to another, and for Dan this was a difficult transition. He didn’t know anybody at all which is daunting enough for any child but added to the fact that Dan’s interests were mainly in makeup, he found it difficult to find his place. Over the first couple of terms of secondary school Dan’s desire to wear makeup grew. He would spend all of his weekends practising makeup looks and he so much wanted to go out to show the world… but we were scared. At school, a small group of boys were making his life hell, he was continually called homophobic names like ‘bender’ and ‘fag’ and one day was pushed over and water thrown on him. My precious, innocent, sweet boy being bullied and judged by others was heart breaking and my husband and I were beside ourselves with worry. At home, Daniel was stressed and miserable but yet he still had the bravery and desire to want to be himself and no one was going to stop that.
We met with the school who were amazingly supportive and between us we equipped Daniel with the skills and support he needed to be himself and to stand up to the bullies. Sure enough, before long, they were bored with not getting a reaction from him and they moved on to something else. Dan soon found a group of like-minded friends, both girls and boys who liked him for ‘him’ and once again his confidence started to grow.
Dan pushes boundaries and left to his own devices, he would be out right now in the highest heels, most sparkly dress and a face full of makeup. I have spent many hours thinking about this and discussing it with family. Why should my son not be able to be himself for fear of what others think? Why shouldn’t he be able to go out with makeup on? However, there is a balance to be made here as we also have to keep him safe. It’s a tough balance to make, we need to protect him yet let him not hold him back.
We have ‘rules’ for Dan to follow, after all he is only 12. At home and with family, he can wear as much make up as he likes. He will often be found practising makeup looks on all of us including his younger brothers, Dad, Uncle and even his Grandad! When he is out with us, we will also let him wear some foundation, a lick of mascara and false nails but when he is out on his own with his friends, we don’t let him wear makeup. I wouldn’t allow my 12 year old daughter go out in a face of makeup so I don’t let Dan either.
This weekend, we travelled to Birmingham to catch a glimpse of James Charles opening the new Morphe store. James Charles is an American internet star, famous makeup artist and model. Around 8000 people turned up with riot police called in to help with crowd control. All around us were boys and girls dressed in their ‘Sister’ apparel with faces full of James Charles esq makeup looks all desperate for a peek of James, of the star himself. They chanted and screamed and as I looked around, it brought tears to my eyes. My beautiful son was happy, all around him were people with the same interests. Nobody was staring or judging, I felt like he was safe in the James Charles’ ‘Sisterhood’.
My son is bright, handsome, brave and full of joy. He wears makeup, dresses and high heels and we couldn’t be prouder.