My Son Wears Heels

  • From the Publisher
May 3, 2016

When Julie Tar­ney’s only child Har­ry was two years old, he told her, Inside my head I’m a girl.” It was 1992. The Inter­net was no help, because there was no Inter­net, and book­stores had no lit­er­a­ture for a mom scram­bling to raise such an uncon­ven­tion­al child. The terms gen­der cre­ative, gen­der non­con­form­ing, and trans­gen­der were rare to encounter and not com­mon­ly known.

There were, how­ev­er, main­stream experts whose the­o­ries mir­rored a neg­a­tive stereo­type of Jew­ish moth­ers: a sis­sy” boy would be gay because his moth­er was dom­i­neer­ing. Julie did­n’t real­ly believe it, nor did she want to care what her neigh­bors thought — but she did care. Dom­i­neer­ing moth­er” meant bad moth­er: it meant she’d become her own mother.

Lack­ing a pos­i­tive role mod­el of her own and fear­ful of being judged as a Jew­ish moth­er poten­tial­ly mess­ing up her kid, Julie embarked on an unex­pect­ed par­ent­ing jour­ney that spanned twen­ty years before even­tu­al­ly draw­ing Julie to the real­iza­tion that her son had known who he was all along: her job was sim­ply to get out of the way and let him be.

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