'My son likes to wear tutus – and you have no right to tell him he shouldn't'

By Kirstin Buick
29 August 2016

A man accosted this mom and her three-year-old son in the park for letting him wear a sparkly tutu, saying, "She's a bad mommy. It's child abuse." She hit back in this powerful open letter.

Little Roo is a three-year-old boy.

He loves trucks, jigsaw puzzles and plums.

He also loves sparkly tutus.

"If asked, he will say the tutus make him feel beautiful and brave," says his mom, Jen Anderson from Massachusetts in the US. "If asked, he will say there are no rules about what boys can wear or what girls can wear."

PHOTO: Facebook PHOTO: Facebook

He loves his favourite tutu so much he's worn it to church, to the shops, on the train and in the sandpit, says Jen.

"We have been asked some well-intentioned questions; we've answered them. It has been fine. It WAS fine, until yesterday," Jen shared on Facebook.

In an emotive open letter, she tells the shocking tale. 

" [We] were accosted by someone who demanded to know why my son was wearing a skirt. We didn't know him, but he appeared to have been watching us for some time.

"I'm just curious," the man said. "Why do you keep doing this to your son?"

He wasn't curious. He didn't want answers. He wanted to make sure we both knew that what my son was doing – what I was ALLOWING him to do – was wrong.

"She shouldn't keep doing this to you," he said. He spoke directly to my son. "You're a boy. She's a bad mommy. It's child abuse."

He took pictures of us, although I asked him not to; he threatened me. "Now everyone will know," he said. "You'll see."

Furious, Jen called the police, who took her statement and complimented Roo on his skirt.

But poor little Roo was inconsolable.

He still feels unsafe, Jen says.

"He wants to know: 'Is the man coming back? The bad man? Is he going to shout more unkind things about my skirt? Is he going to take more pictures?' "

"I can't say for sure," Jen continues. "But I can say this: I will not be intimidated. I will not be made to feel vulnerable or afraid. I will not let angry strangers tell my son what he can or cannot wear.

"The world may not love my son for who he is, but I do. I was put on this earth to make sure he knows it.

"I will show him in whatever way I can that I value the person he is, trust in his vision for himself and support his choices – no matter what anybody else says, no matter who tries to stop him or how often."

Jen's post, accompanied by a beautiful photo of Roo on the beach in his favourite purple tutu, has been shared more than 40 000 times, and attracted plenty of comments.

The response was overwhelmingly supportive of Jen.

"No one has the right to take your son's innocence and shine," one woman commented. "It is shameful that some people are so rigid they try to dictate what others do."

One man wrote, "If you find a purple (or whatever colour) tutu in my size, tell Roo I'm up for a walk anytime."

Whats's your take on the issue? Have your say on our Facebook page.

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