Dancing with the Stars: A Great Opportunity to Talk to Your Kids

@aaronvest your daughter would like you to tie her a ninja bow
I didn’t exactly plan on discussing ‘transgender’ with my children this morning. But it seems a movement of Christian mothers has forced my hand.

A group called the One Million Moms is apparently confused as how they will ever explain Chaz Bono to their children. Now, I’m not sure if their speaking skills are poor, or if their children are bad listeners, but whatever the problem these mothers can’t seem to grasp how to discuss transgendered with their wee ones. Why? ABC has cast Bono on this season of Dancing with the Stars.

Apparently this means some God-fearing women need to sound the alarm that Satan has entered their tv and for the sake of the children, this abomination must be protested. Or something.

On a recent news appearance these up in arms Moms spent the entire segment exasperatedly saying ‘But WHAT will I TELL my CHILDREN???!!!’

Might I suggest they start with the truth? And a simple definition? This really is NOT that hard.

I decided to have the discussion with my eight-year old son first, because I really didn’t want him hearing about any of this anywhere else. It seems if I left it up to groups like the One Million Moms or Fox News, he would come out of it thinking there is something wrong with being transgendered or gay or lesbian or bi. He might even do what kids do, and go along with what ‘everyone else’ was saying, so as not to seem like an outcast.

Being a responsible mother, I see it as my job to educate my kids on everything. The good. The bad. The ugly, and the very ugly- like hate groups parading as Moms concerned about the welfare of my kids.

But as always, my kids are smarter and more kind than most of the population.

So they don’t want him to be on a dancing show? Because he’s being himself?

Well, it’s not that simple. They think he is defying their God. And that you seeing him will somehow screw you up.

Me? Why me? That’s stupid.

But I know how I feel inside. And he knows how he feels. Mom, these people are really dumb.

Yes, I know. But they really think it’s bad.

If I saw one of them I would kick them.
The boy child has a battle to get to cc: @aaronvest

Then we had to have a discussion about why kicking and hurting someone is just as bad. That’s not to say I don’t sympathize with my son. He was frustrated just trying to understand why anyone would have a problem with Chaz Bono. In his eight-year old mind, kicking seemed reasonable for these people intent on hurting someone else.

The conversation with his six-year old sister didn’t fare much better.

It seems these days any talks about love or marriage or boyfriends or girlfriends elicit nothing but giggles from her. So much so that as her father descended the stairs this morning as we talked it over she giggled and hid her face and demanded we continue our discussion later.

I obliged, and then picked up the discussion again with a different tack…

…and we would never make fun of or laugh at anyone different from us.

Of course not Mom. And if I hear someone else doing it, I stand up to them and make a new friend.

Yes. Very good. So what do you think of transgendered people or the people who are upset over this man on this show?

Mom…this is so stupid. I don’t know why we even have to talk about it, except that it’s because they are stupid. Everyone knows that everyone is different. I’m different. This guy is different. Dad is different. Nicky is different. Everybody is different.

For the record, Nicky is our dog. But her words remain true. And to my children, making a big deal about our differences, enough so to bar your children from seeing or experiencing these differences, is so alien to them that I got a lot of eyerolls and ‘why are we even talking about this?’ looks.

So thank you One Million Moms and Fox News for making a big deal out of all of this. It gave me the opportunity to discuss the transgendered community with my children. It gave me the opportunity to remind them that everyone is different. It gave me the opportunity to discuss bigots, hate, and evil. And it gave me the opportunity to show the world that some of us mothers are not afraid to talk to our kids and we know exactly what to tell them: the truth.


  1. Kids are smarter than we give them credit for. It bothers me that these million mothers are raising a whole new generation of intolerant haters. All we can do is teach our children better and hope they pass it on to their peers. It’s only a big deal to the kids if WE make it one.

  2. I wrote about this too. Only I think really, all the kids need to know is Chaz Bono is a man. There is no way they know who Chastity Bono was. Nor do they need to know. When they look at Chaz, they will see a man, and why does the rest even matter.
    Now if you *want* to get into with your kids, that’s your prerogative, but not necessary.
    Chaz is not the first transgender who has family family. Alexis Arquette, sister of David (who is also on DWTS this season) and Patricia Arquette was born male. And nobody even bothers her. Apparently it’s ok to exchange balls for boobs (and she is gorgeous) but not ok to trade sequined jumpsuits for business suits.

    Very well written. Thank you for being a voice of reason. .

  3. I’m with Becky. Why would these woman have to explain anything to their kids. I am sure they are not going to watch the show and say ‘hey that’s a girl why is she dress like a man?” If the subject comes that is when it needs to be approached and at the level the child is at. My kids were always very inquisitive and I always answered honestly. Drove my g-aunt crazy. LOL.


  4. While I can see not even mentioning the backstory on Chaz, it seems like a great opportunity to talk about it with your kids. It would be very easy to just ignore and say ‘that’s a man’ and move on… but I think you’d be doing your kids a disservice. It’s a built in conversation starter so you can discuss LGBT and all that it entails in a great age-appropriate way.

  5. I applaud you for the way you speak to your kids, Erin, as always. I wish there were more people willing to tackle the tough conversations with their children – because it leads to open-minded kids who are willing to (gasp) think.

    And I agree with what Becky said. If people weren’t making a big deal about Chaz Bono being on DWTS, no one would care. He looks like a man. He is a man. And he’s dancing with a female partner. 90% of all the people watching the show would have no idea that Chaz Bono was once Chastity Bono. So all those people making a fuss about it have only themselves to blame for “having” to talk to their kids about it.

  6. Thank you for this. Bottom line: if you can’t talk to your kids, don’t have them. This doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult.

  7. I think I might have to follow your example…oy. See, I don’t let my kids watch tv. AT ALL. We don’t even HAVE tv in the house. But my oldest is going into fifth grade next week and I hadn’t considered that he might hear about this from his schoolfriends (who once ruined Hannukah from afar by telling him we’d all go to hell if we didn’t believe in Jesus…and that their dads would smack his mom for voting for Obama…oh yes, we live in THE SOUTH). So yeah, I need to have a conversation with my kids. Thanks, Erin 🙂

  8. A-Bloody-Men. We will be watching the show as well, it’s one of our favorites & Short Boy loves it. The subject of Chaz Bono hasn’t come up here yet, but it will. And we, like you will answer honestly and openly. I’m certain his response will be very similar. It’s awesome to have smart kiddos.

  9. I love your kids! But discuss it at all? He looks like a he. These moms would never have to explain anything if they never brought it up and now with it all over the news we are forced to define things instead of letting him be himself. These moms create more work… sigh 😉

    Great post!

  10. Excellent post, kudos to you and your kids.

    But I do have to mention than “transgender” and “transgendered” are adjectives, not nouns, and therefore need to be followed by a noun… “transgendered people,” not just “transgendered” (which makes them sound like a weird species of something, instead of just people, which is what they are).

  11. I found that more the most part, kids are very accepting and just like everyone who is nice to them… unless someone teaches them otherwise.
    And I agree with the previous posts that had the issue not been raised, kids would have no idea who Chaz is.

  12. Thanks Criss. I actually thought I had it right, but apparently not. Does the same apply for bi? The confusion for me comes in ‘GLBT’ … not GLBTP? Do you see what I mean?

  13. Erin, as always, you are spot on! I always found that answering my kids truthfully was the best policy. Also, we had the kind of relationship where nothing was taboo to discuss! Kids are way smarter than many people give them credit for … And as for these Million Moms … I just understand their line of thinking. I can’t decide whether they are just ‘uneducated’ or what … how does anyone, in this day and age, have such a very narrow mind!

    I love to read your posts, Erin! Keep up the good work!

  14. When you have to talk to your kids because of what some of the ass-hat Christians are doing, do you also make sure they know there are some of us who believe in the same God without attributing our personal issues and agendas to Him? That some of us are reasonable and rational and not dicks? ‘Cause I’d like to hope that those people aren’t giving ALL of us a bad name. 🙁

  15. Erin, you are a terrific mother!!

  16. *sigh* So proud to know you, Erin. 🙂

  17. What’s funny about this to me is that, don’t kids learn this stuff from older friends and relatives anyway? I can remember being about 8 in the 80s and my cousins, who were pre-teens at the time, coming to visit us from Chicago. They told me that there was an operation a man could get to become a woman and that some men like to wear women’s clothes. I was totally incredulous and asked my mom and she confirmed to me that yes, this was all true. Huh, I thought, and moved on. My mother was very open with me, but I doubt that she thought she needed to explain what transgendered meant or what sex change operations were at age 8. But when the opportunity presented itself, she told me the truth and that was the end of it. I don’t get parents who think they need to hide everything from their children.

  18. You give me hope for the world. You give me hope that there are good people out there, who are fighting the good fight, TALKING to their children and instilling values in them that are so intrinsically…GOOD. That one day..we may just have a world full of people who are so focused on kindness, compassion, love and happiness…instead of being petty and ridiculous.

    And that makes my heart soar with possibilities, and makes ME want to be a better person.

    Thank you for being an amazing mother, and a role model for others. I hope if I ever have kids..I can instill the same values in them.

  19. You’re totally right on.

  20. I knew I liked you.

  21. Brava, awesome.

  22. I always spent my half an hour to read this webpage’s articles every day
    along with a cup of coffee.


  1. NYTimes.com says:


    Dancing with the Stars: A Great Opportunity to Talk to Your Kids

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