Lesbian Couple Worried About Son’s Halloween Princess Fantasies

A lesbian couple profiled in the L.A. Times is concerned about letting their young son go out on Halloween dressed as a princess in a tiara, not because of the outfit itself or what it might say about his gender identity, but because of how he might be treated by others:

PrincessA few weeks ago, the 4-year-old boy's desire to trick-or-treat as a princess sparked a dilemma for his two moms, Anna and Louisa Villeneuve: Which do you honor and protect, your child's independent spirit or tender feelings?

"My first reaction was 'He wants to be a princess? We're there!' " said mama Anna. But almost everybody she talked with about Luc's intention told her, "Whoa; that's a bad, bad, bad idea."

For a girl who grew up wanting to dress like a boy, Luc's choice felt like a blow against stereotyping. "But I'm trying to leave my inner activist at home," she said, "and just do what's best for my son.

"It's one thing to say 'Son, you can be anything you want. Our society needs to be less uptight.' "

It's another thing entirely to consider how a boy in a princess dress will be treated when all the other boys are trick-or-treating in Superman or Power Rangers costumes.

In this couple's case their dilemma was solved when their son went to a Halloween fair and saw several other costumes he wanted to try.

"What I don't want is for somebody to open up that door and say 'Dude, what are you doing in a princess dress?' " Anna said. "It might just be confusion, not disapproval. But that's the comment that will make my child feel like he's done something wrong."

In any event, they should probably talk to the parents of Princess Boy to see how it's really done.

The princess costume and the trick-or-treat dilemma [la times]


  1. J says

    I’d say it’s a fair parental concern that they have for their kid.I mean,as gays here,I don’t think I need to say more.

  2. Jack M says

    The problem is they might be accused of trying to turn him gay if they let him wear a dress. Then all the over-righteous, self-described “Christians” would be at their door with pitchforks. Sadly, this is the land we live in.

  3. Come on... says

    My question is, How does a household conversation and delima go from the house to the media? Why would the couple broadcast this unless they just want attention?

  4. ohplease says

    Why would they not want attention to matters of concern to LGBT people and families in general? Instead of complaining that they’re stepping up, maybe you should be at least neutral about the fact that they’re doing something to help others by making this public.

  5. wtf says

    If my kid wanted to wear a damn dress, I’d let him wear a damn dress, and stand up for my kid to any idiot adult (or child for that matter) who tried to be a jerk. Maybe y’all should GROW A PAIR and be an adult if you’re going to have kids. You PROTECT them while allowing them to be themselves. Duh.

  6. Chris says

    Honestly, not letting a 4-year-old boy dress as a princess for Halloween is not going to scar him for life. Kids either come up with crazy costume ideas or change their minds all the time. Since when does every child in America always get the costume they want?

    What could scar him for life is being taunted by friends and strangers for dressing up as a princess.

  7. Continuum says

    My straight next door neighbor allowed her 4 year old son to pick out his own Halloween costume a few years back. This was shortly after he had gone to see one of the Disney princess movies.

    Yuppers, he choose the princess outfit, even though he had the body build of a futre burly linebacker.

    Daddy was horrorfied, but Mama prevailed and the little boy walked the neighbor as a princess complete with wand and tierra.

    Other than Daddy, no one was amazed, shocked or made fun of him.

    For Pete’s sake he’s four years old. Cut him some slack.

  8. KEN says

    My niece when she was 5 wanted to be batman very badly for Halloween. I was reluctant to buy a batman costume for her (because I was afraid of bullying or ridicule) and ended up buying her a batgirl costume instead. When I suggested she be batgirl she was very disappointed. I didn’t tell her I already bought the batgirl costume but brought it over for her to try on. When she saw it, her reaction was excitement only because to her the costume was batman. She didn’t care about it being batgirl because all she saw was the bat emblem and to her it was batman. Yet she was upset when people called her batgirl, she constantly corrected them. Now she is 6. This year she wants to be a Jedi. Particularly Luke Skywalker. I thought long and hard about this and have decided that no matter what she’s getting the costume she wants. There’s something wrong with me if I didn’t let her do this. So on Friday she told her friends in class she was going to be Luke. The kids were very supportive and thought it was a great costume idea. Go figure. lol

  9. Nick Anthony says

    If only I could have been a princess on Hallowe’en. I’m might not have been so screwed up. Actually, I’m fine, but let the boy be the boy he wants to be.

  10. Joel says

    Eff’ everyone else; let him be a princess. Honestly, I understand the concern, but really, there’s always going to be someone who doesn’t understand.

  11. Andalusian Dog says

    I think there are two things: 1) these parents say they are concerned with judgment and ridicule from other kids, but really other kids won’t care, probably. Other PARENTS, on the other hand…

    2) I think there is probably also some fear that the parents, being gay, will be accused of forcing this costume on their kid, and trying to make him gay too. No matter how you play that out, it will lead you to a double-standard that is unfair: gay parents having to be extra-careful to make sure they present to the world a “normal” child.

    If they were straight (liberal, open-minded) parents, they’d probably just let their kid dress up like a princess. So I say let the boy do whatever he wants. If someone says something negative, just walk away and don’t make a scene.

    A lesbian couple who were friends, many many years ago, had a little boy who liked to paint his nails and play with Barbies. He also liked to dress like an army dude and play with army dude action figures. Their take was, whatever gets him to play quietly and be happy is fine by us.

  12. says

    Trick or treating has become so dangerous, I would not allow my child to go. My parents curtailed my own Halloween soliciting when I was about seven years old. I would hold a costume party at home where my child would feel free to dress as he or she pleased. I would not, under any circumstances, let a four-year-old go out into this cruel world and become a target for gender expression hostility. That would be totally irresponsible. And as soon as my child was old enough to understand the concept, I would sit down and explain transphobia to him or her. LGBT folk need to prioritize protecting their kids, and stop viewing society through rose-colored glasses!

  13. Fred says

    Where is this kid getting his feminine influence? Surely it can’t be from his mom’s. Let him wear the dress!!! It’s Halloween

  14. Fenrox says

    He is 4, do it when he is 10, when he could take something away from it. Or just trick or treat in a remote neighborhood.

  15. Fenrox says

    Also, quick point, You can not grow up to be whatever you want, So if you are worried that telling him no will shatter that notion then GOOD. Your kid will become who he is, IE whatever he will be, “anything” is something of a dangerous and gross over-summary of your options.

  16. scooter says

    if their son wants to be a princess, the only true manipulation of the boy should be to emulate the princess Leia Organa, she kicked ass! But if he wants to be a princess that’s a helpless gigantic labia majora…then he needs to clean up the chimmneys until he’s 18 where he’ll runaway to the balls and vogue until he’s 80.

  17. Don says

    I’m a gay dad with 2 kids. Any time I can help one of my kids realize a dream as simple as a Halloween costume, I rejoice. As parents, we so often have to say no to things that are real – this one isn’t. Say yes. And give your kid the chance to deal with negative reactions too – it is a part of life. It doesn’t have to leave a scar. Rather than focus on what may be one or two negative comments, surprise yourself with the tons of positive reactions your son will get. Have fun!

  18. Jay says

    Wow – Halloween first came into being as a means for youth to break the rules one night a year. Now we have rules for how to break the rules? Structured anarchy! I hope it’s all twittered and facebooked!

    The boy is 4. If he is going out alone, the parents should have the child taken away from them. If he is going out chaperoned, no physical harm should come to him. If he is verbally abused, he is about to enter into his school years when pressure to conform is beyond anything his moms can combat over this Halloween. If they are afraid of this conversation today…what’s it going to be like when he comes home from 1st grade with a black eye because he was strong enough to make his own choices?

  19. DB says

    My first reaction was to say I would only allow my son to dress up as male creatures and characters. I am a pretty strong advocate of traditional gender roles overall (and of course the stereotype that gay people don’t follow traditional gender roles is a completely bogus 1950’s stereotype). However, this is a costume – why is the gender of the character even relevant? If my son dresses up as a vampire that does not mean he will want to drink blood; similarly if he dresses up as a female character that does not mean that he will be in any way less manly. My son is only 20 months old so my husband and I have a couple of years before we have to worry about this personally.

  20. jaragon says

    There is nothing wrong with wearing a costume on Halloween-unless like the parents of Princess Boy who seem to what to turn their son into an money making business.

  21. ohplease says

    “(and of course the stereotype that gay people don’t follow traditional gender roles is a completely bogus 1950’s stereotype)”

    So traditional gender roles involve having sex with people of your own gender? That will come as news to my gender role-conforming heterosexual parents. They have a lot of same-sex lovin’ to make up for.

    Being gay is the very definition of not following traditional gender roles. OBVIOUSLY. Honestly, where do some people get these ideas?

  22. ohplease says

    “…unless like the parents of Princess Boy who seem to what to turn their son into an money making business.”

    Because nothing brings in the riches like having a non-gender conforming child. Who doesn’t know that? That’s why everybody wants one.

    Seriously, is it Opposite Day today?

  23. Paul R says

    Come on. I dressed as Betty Rubble (Flintstones) when I was 5 and won the neighborhood costume contest. As someone mentioned, kids just get weird ideas in their heads. And that was 1977.

  24. Jersey says

    I am the oldest of 4 sons, no sisters. When we were kids my mother, who obviously wanted a girl somewhere in there, dressed each of us in dresses for Halloween. It was the only day she could fulfill her fantasy of making dresses for a daughter. Thankfully she stopped when I was five. That would have been 1971. No scars on me or any of my bros.

  25. says

    Wow. I have less and less hope for our LGB community ever fully comprehending the T in the acronym. Once we recover from the camp treatment of “trannies,” perhaps we can look to the person so easily objectified, feared and marginalized. The fear of gender expression outside of the binary is rooted in our own homophobia.

    We are two dads. Our child told us at 3 years old we had the pronouns all wrong. We redirected away from “girl clothes” hoping our little boy would stay that way. After causing our child extreme distress by rejecting the consistent and persistent message that she was really our daughter, at 5 years old, we began to affirm our child and deliver our message that we unequivocally love her and “have her back.” Now, we think of her as a girl.

    It took some mental gymnastics, but who can watch a child suffer and not respond? Our child’s care is being directed by experts: MDs at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, a psychologist and teachers and school administrators who will give our child every chance she deserves to have a normal childhood. She does not feel like a transgender girl… she feels like a girl.

    The fear is so strong within our gay parenting community… as well as among those who want us to be happy and safe. If we could just redirect this, it will all be okay.

    I have come to understand that a very small number of kids are transgender… many more are testing gender roles, so they can understand their own identity within their gender assigned at birth. If the kid is actually transgender, no amount of caution, care and redirection will change that.

    We have been conditioned by our history as gay people to accept and believe that something did this to us… the assumption that we can nurture someone across genders is absurd.

    Anyone who is interested in info or support, visit TransformingFamily.org. It has saved our child.

  26. Jack says

    I was never a princess but, the Wizard of Oz fan that I am, I did go as Glinda the Good Witch as a five-year-old in the early 90s. I remember my mom being hesitant, but I was very insistent. Everyone just thought I was a girl. In fact (according to my mom – I don’t actually remember this) when I knocked on one door and a little old lady said, “Oh isn’t she so pretty!” I turned around and gave my mom a devilish grin. But, no, I don’t think being allowed to dress up as Glinda scarred me.

  27. K says

    I still don’t understand why everyone freaks out about how kids dress up. My three daughters have always been big into dance & theater and we have about 60 costumes in our basement. All the neighborhood kids come over and try them all on — boys in tutus, girls in ninja outfits — or a mix of whatever they can put together. They put on parades and shows and no one freaks out because the boys are in princess outfits. They’re dressing up — that’s the whole point!