Mia Rincon of Phoenixville recently launched Pink Boy Nation, a group she hopes will connect and provide support and resources to families with children whose presentation and interests may not align with gender stereotypes.
Rincon, who owns and runs Pennsylvania Tree Service with her husband, said her 8-year-old son, Rincon Woods Clark Kent Thompson, started exhibiting indications of gender-nonconformity at age 3.
“I could tell he was perfectly fine but he was different. The things he would play with, was interested in and the way he was, was different,” she said. “I remember saying to myself, ‘He is going to be gay.’”
Rincon has four other children: three daughters and another son. She said her other son enjoys playing with stereotypical male toys, while her 8-year-old gravitated toward Barbies and dollhouses and loves wearing fairy wings and playing with stereotypical “girl” toys.
She said her children are all accepting of each other and she never puts pressure on them to behave a certain way, although Rincon has already experienced alienation in school because of his nonconformity.
“He knows he is different and struggles with that even at 8 years of age,” his mother said. “He even says that he is half-girl, half-boy or that he should have been born a girl. He is feeling that he is different and we try to let him know it is OK.”
Rincon spent three years garnering information and language to put together a website for families like hers.
“I reached out to the Internet to see if there were organizations or resources but I found very little, so I decided to start my own website,” she said. “I found a great website designer and really carefully crafted the language on the site to reach out to other parents like us who have great kids but they feel they are the only kid in the world like this.”
The website is geared toward families with boys, age 4-17, who do not conform to gender stereotypes. Rincon is eager for it to create a space for parents or guardians to get advice, expand their understanding about gender identity and make friends with other families — all while maintaining a positive and affirming environment for their children.
“We want children and parents to know that it gets better and it could get worse too, but wouldn’t it be great to have a place where people can exchange information and share experiences?” she said. “I think we could do a lot of good for other kids who are feeling isolated if their parents aren’t as progressive as we are.”
Rincon said that, while the website focuses on her family’s experience, she hopes other parents of gender-nonconforming children can learn the value of fostering their children’s interests, regardless of gender stereotypes.
“I want other parents to look through my website and the words I have chosen and see in us inspiration for maybe how to love and accept their children,” she said. “This is not about encouraging our kids to be gay. I am just breaking down gender stereotypes and allowing these boys to be themselves where, if they do become gay, then they will be ready to come out without any angst or shame. It is about love and acceptance.”
For more information, visit www.pinkboynation.com.