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  1. I am in need of sincere consul. My son (until otherwise identifying, he has not yet explored his pronouns yet and I will fully embrace them when he has) has been recently requesting to wear dresses. I have absolutely no problem buying him the clothes that he will feel more comfortable in and will help him love himself for who he is.. But I do have a problem with wearing them out into public - however, not for reasons you might expect. We live in a considerably conservative city. My son has been in full bloom and expresses his love for all things pink/purple, covered in glitter and exploding with rainbows. He loves unicorns - he will tell you so in as many words as you allow. He loves all things cute. If it's small, in dog-form and can wear an outfit, he probably owns the stuffy. My son is eight years old. My son has also been violently bullied at school. We spent most of last year struggling with four boys bullying him every day. I met with his teacher countless time, demanded an audience with his principal, called regularly to speak to the on-site counselor - and it became easier as my son surrounded himself with the children that accepted him. The bullies persisted, and there were days he didn't want to go to school, but we survived. He wore his unicorns, he painted his nails, he grew out his hair - as long as it was within the school's dress code, I allowed it. Over this last summer, he asked the question I was waiting for. "Mom, can we buy a dress?" I'm no stranger to bullies. I know as he gets older, it's going to get harder. I know that those boys shoving him may come to blows and nose-bleeds. I know it may involve flipped up skirts, confrontation in the bathroom and ugly slurs... I know the boys he was in class last year are still here this year and with many others added to the pack. They already aren't kind, I don't want to add fuel to the already unsupervised fire. We have since bought several dresses that I allow him to wear at home or out in town if he's with me but he wants to wear them to school. I understand why he wants to wear them to school but I also know why I don't want him to. I told him that I would let him wear a dress to school as soon as he could defend himself in one - and he has been in Taekwondo for months since. But I still don't feel it's fair to him. I don't want to closet his identity because I'm trying to protect him.. I also don't want to set him up for failure. He's struggled with depression and I'm at a moral standstill. Do I protect my son and continue to allow him to wear them only at home, where he is surrounded by the love and protection of his family? Or do I allow him to be who he longs to be without restriction and come ready to face the consequences? What would you do in my shoes?
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