Tell Me Again Mom …why Did You Raise Me As A Girl?

Yesterday, I stepped back into the alternate universe occupied by my mother. From that visit, three things I now believe as true …the world is in fact round …my mother should not wear prints and stripes together …and I no longer think of her as the wicked witch of the west who raised me as a girl.

I sat down at lunch with mom in an attempt to repair a relationship damaged from harsh words spoken months ago. But the truth is …I’ve come for answers that might help me find my place in this world. Specifically, why did she feel the need to dress me as a girl for the better part of my life?

My father died when I was 7.   My stepsister and I often play together particularly during the summer even though she was a couple years older.  About a year later, I recall playing dress-up with my sister, something we were prone to do in the absence of real friends.  One night, my stepmother inserted herself into our games which extended my time in dresses and skirts through the weekend and then into the summer.    By the end of the year my mother took my sister and me out of school and finished our education at home.  The education, particularly living as a daughter and a sister continued through to today where I live with my sister after moving out of the house. I am now 20.  

I wanted my mother to realize my emotional struggles and I looked seriously at which kind of man's clothing would best show my conviction.  I decided to be true to my heart.  After being greeted by my mother with a hug at the door …we shed a few tears and then sat down at the kitchen table to a nice salad. I wore a light brown pleated skirt with a gold belt and a ruffled black blouse trimmed in gold.  My mom wore a print house dress with the strangest striped jacket. After some small talk during which I could only peck at my food until, I couldn’t wait any longer. I blurted out the question that had been hiding in my closet with the rest of my dresses for years …”Why?” It was not the time or place to argue whether I am currently happy with my life, but only why had she dressed me as a girl for so long …robbing me of what should have been my normal boyhood youth? We were both crying as she recalled my reaction to my father’s death.

Finally, at one key point, I had to speak up. It was she who wanted me to wear a dress, or at the very least her and my sister …not me. My willingness to participate was at point. She left the room briefly, but soon returned only to set a light blue album down on the table. “This is how we survived after your father died.” She said as she pushed it in front of me. I honestly did not want to look almost as much as I had to look. And on every page, were clear pictures of a familiar, smiling, girlish boy in colorful dresses appearing happy with life.

Jumping to the end of our emotional moment, we cried over the possible “why’s” of my mental state at the time, but it is still basically an un-answered question. Perhaps it was my fear of becoming a man since my Dad died so young …maybe I wanted to feel closer to my new stepsister and stepmother. But it was pretty obvious that I was not unhappy to be in girls clothes. And the “why” of my mother’s actions …I now understand. My mother said she watched her increasingly gloomy boy find comfort within the softness of girlish clothes. My feminine behavior became so persistent that my mother took us out of school so she could protect her emotionally troubled son from the cruelty of public schools. She did not take me out of school because she wanted to dress me like a girl as I remembered.

Regardless how or why I have learned to love being feminine, I would like to offer this…: I didn’t write this as a “poor me …feel bad for me” account of my life. I am where I am …trying to look forward, not back. I love every day I wake up and go to my closet for a new colorful skirt and blouse to wear …along with other girlish clothing. I have no dreams or aspirations to compete in a man’s world and would be happy enough to find a fulfilling job, then come home to people I love, and let my evenings fill with the simple things I enjoy …like cooking or reading and such. Although I have limited relationship experiences in my life, I guess my next question to answer is …who do I want to come home to at night?

I would certainly welcome any comments, interpretations of my past, or recommendations for the future.

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23 Responses Apr 4, 2012

Would you like a husband, I'm

Awe!!! I remember when i had to face my fear of my real mother.. it was not based from fem cloths but her divorce with my dad and the effect on us kids and me. your answer seems to be more solid. and I believe you to be lucky.

I want to switching place with u.

Kaylee, what an amazing and frank insight you have on yourself. To be able to look back and see a broader picture instead of just resentment can be a very difficult thing.
I applaud you!

We are all products of our environment. Perhaps she thought dressing you as a girl would create a stronger bond for you between she and your sister. Perhaps she saw a sad little boy who'd lost the most significant person in his life much too early. Perhaps she saw you alone, needing a connection substantially more than what you were displaying. Perhaps your mom felt as isolated as you did, and had concerns about her own abilities of raising a young boy.

Boys and girls create such extreme dynamics in a house. Your father was your mentor and your guide. There is no way in the world to replace that kind of relationship. The strength of it simply runs much too deep. I'm sure, having no boys of her own, her dealing with you were mimics of your father's lead.

No one can speak to her motivations but her. But the overwhelming sense of loss must have resonated through each and every one of you. People cope with that kind of loss in very different and sometimes, very curious ways.

I'm sure the passing of your father left her feeling empty and afraid. I'm sure she saw at least some small resemblance of your father lingering in you and maybe it was just too much for her to bare.

But once again, I find myself going back to the initial thought that we are all products of our environment. If you were raised wearing feminine cloths and acting in a feminine manor, being taught to accept 'the new you', then it is no surprise that you became the girl you see in the mirror day in and day out. The early years are the most formative, and though it may have been confusing to you at first, your need to fall into step and feel accepted by the rest of your small family doesn't surprise me in the least.

Now, at 20, having lived more than half your life as girl, and with your sister acting as a constantly positive reinforcement, this drive to feel accepted has undoubtedly only grown stronger. There is no question that seeing the remnants of the young man you think you may have been would be devastating to them.

Having watched you grow up molded as daughter and sister, it is, for the most part, how they've always known you, and how they've come to accept you. The idea of isolating yourself from that love must be incredibly terrifying for you, and surely leave them feeling as though another loved one, they Kaylee they've grown to love, you leave them with another deep sense of loss.

Kaylee is who you have been for more than half your life, and Kaylee is who will continue to be. As you move forward, your acceptance will only become more resolute.

Once again, I ramble.....


It's always so much better to look where you're going, rather than where you've been. We cannot change what's in our rearview mirrors. Only remember and grow from the experiences.

What a lovely story.

Questions can be misleading, especially if we pose them ourselves. For one it implies an answer will some how resolve an issue. It's a quest of self understanding here and you seem to be well on the way to knowing who you are better than most people I know.

I feel the same way not withstanding inexplicable memories and influences in getting to where life has left me. Can't help but envy your level of self discovery.

first i love your story,next life is funny because i had same happen but with a aunt who dress me from age 6 to 21 and when i left at 21 i could not understand it,why and kept running away from my self and i figure out it was me and untilli came to grips with it then i was happy. it hard to say why we do it,and feel this way it hard to fiqure why,did she want a daughter? but i love her dressing me that way deep down and maybe i needed some one to love me and show me affection she did. so if your happy which i think you are then go for it and you found someone to love you for you,i did she loves me and understands me. you have to do what makes you happy not the worlds whats right or wrong you have a friend here so be happy. dawn

Apparently your mother simply wanted you to be who you wanted to be. Her goal was your happiness as she pointed out in the early pics.
I don't know what I would do in your circumstance . Right now I would think I would embrace femininity.
But I did not have an older sister or a open minded mother to offer me the opportunity to experience the feminine world. Though I did at a very young age wish I could have worn pretty dresses to school and church and have a loving mother dolt over my her and clothes.
You have special kind of mother that is rare... ;-)

I have to think about this for a while! Some of this hits me in a strange way! In a very big way I envy you!

Wearing skirts more often and in the open! I would not be in the proverbial closet!

I feel exactly like this. My parents had raised me as a boy until I hit puberty, where I started to develop breasts and then started to raise me as a girl. I was confused and a bit hurt but never questioned it. They told me that it was easier for me to live this way and that it would protect me from bullies. I ended up wearing my twin sister's clothing and soon, got my own. I have liked it, I never used to think it was a bad thing but it has left a lot of life problems. It's hard telling people I am really close with about who and what I am and it's exhausting trying to explain over and over.

My parents and I have had a talk about everything and we did get it all off of our chests but I feel like I was forced through something out of their own fear. I love my parents to death but I feel like they've confused me into oblivion. I had realized that even though I love looking this way and being this way inside, I struggle because I am truly a straight male. I've tried to live as both but I feel very paranoid about it. I've tried to love myself as well as trust people 100%, but I just can't. I am afraid to make new friends because I feel like they shouldn't have to know, it's none of their business but that thought makes me stuck. I feel like I'm lying to them if I don't tell them and if they don't like it, they leave.

It hurts and I wish my paranoia would stop. Thank you so much for sharing this. Really, thank you. I am so happy to have found someone who truly understands what I'm going through, I feel as if I am no longer alone. Thank you.

I used to fear the same thing. I was afraid of posting pictures of me in a bikini because I didn't want people to find out. I ended up just doing it regardless. I have many pictures of myself up there and I've done some very bold things just to get it over and done with. Don't be afraid. One thing I've noticed was that EP is really good for things that you can't say in real life. Like I've said before, one or two people MAY judge you but those people are not to be cared for. If they think they can judge and wiz on by like it's nothing, they have another thing coming. I'm not saying you have to post pictures I'm just saying don't be afraid of who you are.

Who are you attracted or women? That should help you cut the field in half. It may not be an easy answer, but you need to follow your heart. Dressed as a would SEEM natural to be with a man, but perhaps girls are your thing. Are you still a virgin...with respect to either male-female or male-male relationship. If you tried (I suspect) had to be more satisfying than the other.

That (submission) was the reason I was also attracted to guys as Marcy. Never in my life thought I would be in that position...but it did happen - twice. And both times, I asked myself at the moment, "what am I doing here?". This is not where I belong. But that was my heart, not your's. At the moment, I do not plan to meet any more men for dates. The date is wonderful...just want it to stop at the door.

Interesting is somewhat outside of my experience and therefore am at a bit of a loss for words. That said, it would seem that your mother did what she thought best for you, and the fact that you are to communicate safely......and able to articulate your thoughts in a way that gets people talking proves her success in raising you.
I think that if you follow your heart when choosing a life mate that you will find the one that will understand your needs. Also that you will therefore be sensitive to the needs of your mate.
Good luck in your quest.


with my experience, i just sucked it up and embrasedmy femininity. i have had a full gender reasignment and i still to this day refer to myself as a man. ps i was born a boy

i want to keep my father happy but i dont mind wither way

<p>The tenor of your story tells me that you have now addressed the "why" of "your mother raising you as a girl". You don't have an answer and likely will never have the full, satisfying answer that you desire. Your mother had many, many feelings, emotions, fears, etc. through the several phases of her life. She likely cannot explain all of them to herself much less to you. It is now up to you to accept that you will likely never fully understand how things came to be as they are right now. Once you accept this, you will be able to move forward. <br />
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As to the "what do I want to come home to at night", again the answer lies within you. You need knowledge to make good decisions about anything. You say that you have had limited relationship experience, so no decision is reasonable until you know more. So now it is time to date, date men, date women, date other T's. My guess is that you will eventually wind up with the "person" that you love and respect, just like everyone else.<br />
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Good Luck.

At the end of your story you ask who do I want to come home to. If you would read your story yourself, you answer your own question. You have no desire to be or compete as a man and are happy with your life style. So that's your answer. Maybe your mother actually had the intuition of knowing who you wished to be at that early age and desired to protect you from the internal struggles so many of us are fighting today. I do wish she would have sought out the many avenues of professional help that was available for you. I'm hoping you are still happy and still have a relationship with your mother and sister. Candice

I am so happy for you! I often wonder what would have transpired in my youth had I come forth and confessed to my parents. I do think I would have been a much better person in those early years instead of being so angry and trying to be a male/ ***** to those around me putting on a front! All I can do is gradually repair myself and with my wife's undying support the path is clear and I have changed my attitude as to how I view others, how I treat others, and the realization of what type of person I was really saddens me! I am so happy now and I wish you the best of what life has to offer! Candice

If you can forgive that is fine, I wouldn't say a thing about what your mother did. However, Forgiveness isn't obligatory because you adapted. Also, according to your story she hadn't done this maliciously and with humiliation. There is a lot of particulars missing in your story like how you initially reacted to her putting you in dresses. Your mindset during this period of time is key to deciding if she was being a parent or abuser.

I must admit reading all these replies are very interesting, I just didn't know all the feelings behind all of this. I hope you are all happy

That really is so sweet. We as moms do like to know that what we do and think is appreciated even if our choices are not seen by many as normal. But then what is normal?

Wow. Reading your story and all the comments has left me speechless.

I don't think 'poor you'. Though I am sad for the loss of your father, I can be sure enough that if he hadn't have passed on when he did, then you would not have spent your formative years as a girl. Right now, you would probably either be playing catch up or trying to deny your femme side. I see you as extremely fortunate for this. X

I would adore a wardrobe with colourful clothes. Of all my clothes in my wardrobe, I have 2 colourful T shirts. Everything else is in shades of brown or grey, except for the badly fitting blue jeans.
I long to get my legs right out, but apparently that "looks a bit gay"(wife). I would adore to wear something light and silky, rather than these heavy rough cottons.

I was also about to talk of the courage of your mother, but now you say step mum. What happened to your birth mum?

I too, was brought up as a girl by my mum. my twin sister, Megan was a girl and I Danny was a boy, mum had very little money and found it easier to dress me like my sister and treat me as a girl, by the tine I was 8 I only knew how to act and behave as a girl, mum had tought me to do everything little girls do, like how to use a toilet like a girl, to walk, talk, eat and play like a little girl. Megan and I would share our dresses, skirts ect, but had our own knickers, mum had styled my hair to that of an 8 year old girl and I was only allowed to play with dolls or play other girly games, mum had put us in an all girls school where I was tought sowing, knitting and other things girls do, useing the gym in school was no problem because mum knew how to tuck by boy parts in so well that in my knickers I was as smooth and flat as Megan down below and in the toilet I just used a cubicul. On reaching puberty and Megan started her periods, I too, would have to use tampax for my periods. After being brought up this way I would not no how to be a boy and I could not wear trouser as I love my skirts too much. mum had allways thretend me with the removel of my boy parts if I ever dare tell anyone I was really a boy and that time has now come,as from next week I shall become a real girl and looking forward to haveing eventually,a boy freind.<br />
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Kay, my mother dressed me as a girl ,some where around 5 and keept me that way un till i was 12 .by then I was much more of girl then a guy and wanted to dress and be fem. it was what made me comfortable with my self. How I related to my life . Back then it was much more tabo then to day. it was hard ,with many troubles , but to me there was no chose by then,it had to be. if you wish to talk more about it , just let me know we are freinds sue

I couldn't hope to discern your Mother's true motives when dressing you as a girl but I will say that as a newly widowed, single mother, she knew, somewhere deerp within her, that girls would be easier to raise than a boy and a girl. I can imagine your Mother being overwhelmed by the responsibility of two children. She noticed you dressing in your sisters clothes and subconsciously she knew that she would succeed raising two girls. She likely proceeded easing you into the female role without considering the long term effects on you. <br />
And, it remains a subconscious decision. One that she cannot verbalize for you because she doesn't consciously know why she did it..<br />
A well written, wonderful story. Thank you for sharing.

Kaylee, I apologize, but this comment may be long.<br />
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For me, I also had to come to terms with the dressing--not just whether or not it was what I wanted, but why did it happen in the first place. Unfortunately, I cannot sit down with my mother and ask her the questions you asked your mother. My mother did not care for my direction in life nor did she care for who I married, and the interactions between us became so nasty I had to cut ties.<br />
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Looking back at my life (and discussions I have had with a therapist as well) leave me with a lot of questions that are not easy to get answers on. "Why?" is the biggest question. I can point to a lot of things that put the burden on her, but at the same time I have wondered if some of it is for me to bear.<br />
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Earliest memories of wearing dresses for me where at age four, when I was still in diapers and being in one of my sister's old dresses made changing me easier. When I was older, the decisions behind it become muddied. My mother never really wanted a boy from what I know, and a bitter divorce between her and my father left me stuck as a constant reminder of him.<br />
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Was I in a dress because I was happier that way? Quite likely, but thinking about it the happiness did not stem from the clothing I wore, but rather the acceptance, attention, and affection I received while dressed. But was there something behind it that was my desire? I can't say for certain.<br />
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Needless to say, one of the biggest things that opened my eyes was having children of my own. I realized that, as a parent, you can't always make the 'perfect' decision regarding raising your child. You can only do what you think is best for the child. Will it be the exact right decision for the moment? Different people will have different ideas.<br />
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You have made the right step in accepting this not as a piece asking for pity, but rather as accepting this for what it is: your past. Your experiences shape you, and you can pull the best from them to become a beautiful person overall. Where you go from here is up to you.

When it comes to the memories, I try not to get overly caught up in the emotions of them anymore. There were memories that were happy, there are many that are nervous and scared (worried about being found out), overall a whole range of emotions that are attached to that time in my life. My biggest unhappiness does not come from times when I was dressing, but rather that when I truly began to grow up and find my own true path in life, my mother did not want to let me go my own way and became very nasty in her attempts to be controlling. After reading Deven44's comment, I don't think my mother could ever verbalize her reasons behind dressing me either as it was not likely a conscious decision on her part.