Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Q&A with author Lori Duron

Lori Duron is the author of Raising My Rainbow: Adventures in Raising a Fabulous, Gender Creative Son, and the creator of the blog Raising My Rainbow. She lives in Orange County, California.

Q: What do you hope readers--parents of gender-nonconforming kids, as well as a more general audience--gain from Raising My Rainbow?

A: When people read Raising My Rainbow, I hope it makes them think; that it inspires them to live with open hearts and open minds; and that it prompts them to be mindful of, kind toward and have empathy for differently gendered people.

I hope people will realize that you don’t always get what you expect when you are expecting. Having a gender nonconforming child can happen to anyone, your friend, your enemy, you. 

This isn’t something that my husband or I caused or wanted, but our son made us realize that parents aren’t supposed to change their children, they are supposed to love them. So, that’s what we’re doing.

I also hope that my book helps readers better understand the differences between sex, gender and sexuality.

Q: What has the impact been for you and your family since you began your blog and published the book?

A: The blog and book have had a massive impact on our lives. When I started the blog I obviously knew that my son was effeminate and girly, but I didn’t have the proper terminology, information and research. 

My readers immediately educated me and taught me that C.J. is gender nonconforming. Strangers on the internet taught me so much about my son. That’s a beautiful thing.

Through the blog and book I’ve also learned that even though there are so many families out there raising gender nonconforming kids, this parenting journey can feel really lonely and isolating. It doesn’t have to feel that way, it shouldn't feel that way. 

I like to think that I’m doing something to ease those feelings of loneliness and isolation. I definitely feel like my life has purpose now. It’s all been very rewarding. The blog and book have made me a better person.

Q: You write, "I never set out to be an advocate; I just hoped that through my giving people a peek into our lives, their perceptions of LGBTQ kids might start to shift." How do you think attitudes have (or haven't) changed about the LGBTQ community in recent years, and how do you think things might change by the time your kids are older?

A: There’s a new civil rights movement happening in our country. It astonishes me that in 2014 we need a civil rights movement at all. It should be a given that all people are created equal and should be treated as such – whether it’s on the playground or in the nation’s capital. 

My blog and book are my way of taking a firm stand in the movement. It is my way of publicly saying that my son (who is gender nonconforming) and my brother (who identifies as gay) deserve the same human rights and human decency taken for granted by the majority of the country’s population. I want my son to be treated like a human being. 

Since my blog started three years ago, there has been a lot of progress made toward equal rights for the LGBTQ community – but we still have a long way to go.

Q: You discuss special-needs families throughout the book. What are some of the ways in which your experiences could help families with other special needs?

A: I think my book will help other parents raising a child with special or unique needs not feel so alone – and hopefully it will give them a laugh or two. 

More than that, I hope other people read the book and blog and have more empathy for these children, parents, siblings and family members. Out and about in our hometown, we get far more judgment than kindness. It shouldn’t be that way. 

If a child has special or unique needs, their primary caregivers shouldn't be blamed or judged for those needs. They should be respected for the path they have to travel, because it's not an easy one.   

Q: What are you working on now?

A: I thought that life would slow down and get less hectic after the book’s release. I was wrong. I continue to blog and write essays about raising differently gendered children for various media outlets. I’ve been presenting wherever I can to educate audiences about kids like my son. 

I recently launched Rainbows At Play with one of my best friends who blogs at Living A Bold Life. Rainbows At Play is an online community that connects gender creative families and allies so they can playdate and find fierceness in numbers. 

I’ve also been toying around with the idea of writing a second book.  

Q: Anything else we should know?

A: Nope, that just about covers it. Thanks so much for this opportunity.

--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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