Since he was 4 years old, blogger Martie Todd Sirois' gender non-conforming son has wanted to shop at Justice, a tween girl's fashion store. But the child, who is now 10 years old, thought he was stuck trying on clothes from boys' department stores. Sirois says that there was something off-putting about the words "just for girls" in the Raleigh Justice's window.
Sirois' family has always supported her son's gender non-conformity.
"He may one day be LGBTQ+. He may not," she wrote in a Facebook post. "We're open to whatever, as long as he's happy, true to himself, and not hurting anyone."
Sirois and her son finally worked up the courage to visit Justice during spring break, but then their home state of North Carolina passed the controversial bill HB2. Known as "the bathroom law," HB2 forces people to only use the public restroom intended for the gender listed on their birth certificate.
"I have to call ahead to certain stores to make sure they're open to providing traditional 'girl' services to a gender non-conforming boy," she told Newsday. "Because they'd be protected under law to discriminate against us, if they so chose to fight that battle."
Lisa, a friend of Sirois and a fellow mother in a support group for parents of transgender and gender non-conforming kids, personally vetted Justice on her behalf. A store manager told her that everyone is welcome at Justice.
After learning the good news, Sirois rushed her son to the tween store last week. With the store manager acting as a personal shopper, her son was able to try on many types of clothes — and he cherished the entire experience.
Sirois posted about the experience on Facebook in an open letter to Justice. As of September 16, her post has received over 40,000 likes.
"It was pure joy," Sirois wrote on the social platform. "My son dropped his frequent doom and gloom look and suddenly sprang to life in these clothes. There was no denying he became a different, more confident, and happier child when wearing pretty things."
While gender non-conforming children face many hardships, it is extremely helpful to have the support of loved ones. Studies have revealed that transgender and gender non-conforming kids thrive when their parents completely embrace their identities.
Sirois concluded her viral letter to Justice by thanking the store — and the store manager — for giving her "son a safe place for two hours of his life that will no doubt impact his future in a big way."
A Plus reached out to Sirois and Justice's parent company, Ascena Retail Group, for comments.
(H/T: Scary Mommy)