My Princess Boy is a true story of about acceptance. It is the story of a 4-year-old boy who expresses his authentic self by enjoying ‘traditional girl’ things like jewelry or anything pink or sparkly and the journey of acceptance taken by his mother, Cheryl Kilodavis. It explores this societal taboo of boys dressing like girls in the hopes of spreading acceptance.
It is designed to start and continue a dialogue about unconditional friendship and teaches children — and adults — how to accept and support children for who they are and how they wish to look.
At first, Dean and Cheryl Kilodavis resisted Dyson’s desire to wear bright, shiny dresses. Cheryl Kilodavis told her son to knock it off — in a kind, motherly way. She explained that boys cannot be princesses.
After repeatedly telling him that boys aren’t princesses, Kilodavis finally understood when he replied that he was a “boy princess” and that he likes being one because it makes him feel happy.
Kilodavis’s story started when she decided to listen to her son. Her older son, 8-year-old Dkobe, changed her mind.
“Dkobe said to me, ‘Why can’t you just let him be happy, Mom?’ I realized at that moment that this was my issue, not his, and not Dyson’s nor Dean’s,” she tells Today. “After taking a second to do some self-searching, I realized I had years of preconceived notions from my childhood, spiritually and culturally. After journaling, I printed a prototype of my book at a local copy center and used it as a tool to share my feelings. It explained how exclusion hurts and how even a basic level of acceptance can really change lives.”
With her book Kilodavis hopes to start a dialogue about individuality and create an atmosphere of acceptance. She questions why people condemn others for not fitting into traditional categories.
“I understand that we all want life to be easy for our children,” she said. “I want that, too. But I don’t think bullying will stop if my son wears traditional boy clothes. We need a wake-up call. America needs one. The world needs one. We need to start asking ourselves why we are condemning people and things just because they are different and make us feel uncomfortable.”
It is the bullies that need to be stopped, she says, not their victims.
“Bullying is taking lives. It is unacceptable. Period,” she said. “We must stop standing by while others are being harmed for expressing themselves. Our children are teaching us how to accept them every day. We all want our children to live in a world where they can express themselves without harming anyone else or being harmed.”
What does Dyson say about all this?
“I’m a princess boy and I love wearing dresses and I love the colors of pink and red,” he said.