Raising My Rainbow is a charming story of what it is like to raise a gender non-conforming child in a world that sees only male and female genders. Lori Duron’s youngest child takes an interest in Barbie’s at the age of two, and by the time he is three years old, his world revolves around sparkles and glitter, and blue isn’t a color he will acknowledge.
It is a story of love and acceptance, and of one family trying to parent their child well while navigating his way safely into the world. Duron’s mother supports C.J.’s obsession with everything girly, and when she challenges Duron to face what she’s most afraid of, it’s an answer many parents of transgender children will recognize.
“I’m afraid that he’ll get teased. That we’ll get teased. I’m afraid of what other people will think and say.” (p.20)
Duron begins a blog to document her family’s journey. As news of the blog gets out, everyone has an opinion on how they should be raising C.J.. Bullies target Chase, C.J.’s older brother, at school. The family receives hate mail. Still, C.J. also makes other gender-nonconforming friends. And the Duron’s get connected with families who have walked the same path they are on and can offer support.
“We’d learned a lot about our sons and ourselves. We’d learned that for the safety of our family, we might have to distance ourselves from certain types of people. We’d learned who our real allies were, the people who would, no matter what, support us and join us as we took our journey and raised our gender-nonconforming, possibly LGBTQ son. Most important, we’d learned that we weren’t alone.” (p.192).
Raising My Rainbow is the perfect book to read in a Book Club. It would also be good as part of a school’s professional development curriculum. There is a reader’s guide in the back with fifteen reflection questions. There is also a section for educators with ten tips to help you and your classroom be more LGBTQ+ inclusive. Additionally, there is a list of Twelve Things Every Gender-Nonconforming Child wants you to Know. Finally, there is a section of resources helpful for every LGBTQ family and ally.
At 255 pages and thirty-six chapters, Raising My Rainbow is an easy book to read over a week or so. At a chapter a day, you could have it read in three weeks. However, once you pick it up, you may not want to put it down. If you find yourself wanting more, Lori Duron has a blog and is on social media under Raising My Rainbow.