An Update

The last 24 hours have been a blur. So much love sent our way, and that little bit of nastiness which makes the love feel even better. I want to thank everyone who has commented, shared, emailed me and spread the word about the events I shared yesterday.

As you can imagine, I’ve been a bit overwhelmed. The blog hasn’t ever seen this level of traffic, and while I am grateful, I am also unable to even get into the site unless I first put it in maintenance mode and don’t let anyone in! This is what I am doing right now, so that I can update.

First of all, I want to sincerely send thanks out to everyone. Your support has been amazing, and I never thought that my tiny little blog would create such discussion across the web. I’ve seen traffic from all the normal social media sources, but there have also been discussions in various parenting forums, women’s sites, LGBT communities and even a bodybuilding website! Not all of the talk has been positive, but that can be expected.

I won’t trouble myself with the trolls who express their disbelief that any of this actually happened. Suffice to say I have nothing to prove. I wrote the post 24 hours after it happened, and I was still angry, though I tried to be objective. It is hard when children are involved.

I also wanted to say thank you to everyone (and there were a LOT of you) who advised me to contact WalMart for the CCTV footage and the police to press charges.

I most likely won’t be doing that. I would like to explain why.

When it happened, I wanted to get out of there as quickly as I could. I was in a bit of shock, to be honest, and the fact that no one else came up to offer any support made me wonder if I’d overreacted.

The entire thing happened in less than a minute. It was over as quickly as it started, and no one was harmed. My shock at what the man said was worse than my upset about him touching my kid.

The truth is that (and I tried to make this clear in the blog post) he did not hurt my son. He cuffed him like you would pat a dog on the head. It was not violent. It was not acceptable, but it was not violent.

My two days of thinking on the whole thing has made me believe that the guy saw a woman with two little boys on her own, one of the boys wearing a girly headband, and he thought he was doing me a favor by teaching my boy to be more manly.

He may have thought I was a single mom in need of a strong male role model. And when he touched my son, I immediately stepped in to threaten him. His reaction was over the top and completely terrible, but we have all said things in the heat of the moment that we are not proud of. The fact he seemed to have been drinking may have exacerbated his reaction.

He left right away.

Realistically, I could have made a scene or called the authorities (of the store or the police) and taken up a lot of time in reporting it. But frankly, I wanted my son out of there and I wanted to get home so I could cry without him seeing and being freaked out.

I am unprepared for the craziness that this has brought on my blog. I can’t even get in to the back end to moderate comments or include a response. The traffic has gone through the roof, and for someone who is used to 150 hits a day, getting 100,000 in a few hours is a bit overwhelming.

I appreciate all the support that people have given, but I am truly confused as to what I should do next. I don’t feel that going to the police or news would be the best thing for my son, as it would bring a lot of attention to something that he has no idea even happened.

My rinkydink little blog is my space to vent, and now it has become a giant magnet for trolls and those who have decided I am not parenting correctly. I don’t really know how to respond.

Again, thank you all from me, Mark, Dash and Pip. At the very least, I am proud that from the ashes of this horrible event we were able to get a lot of people talking about a very real issue.

I’d like to get back to normal as soon as possible. But I have no idea how long before the furore dies down. Bear with me until then.

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  1. says

    You are for sure a better woman than I. I would encourage you to really consider your decision not to press charges. Your son may very well not remember it, but he might. By not confronting this guy or all those people who stood their and watched, you are teaching many out there that it’s okay to be touched when you don’t want to be and you shouldn’t report it in favor of not causing a scene. I understand you wanted to GTFO of there, but it’s never too late to address the issue. I probably would have hurt that man, you’re better than I for not killing him. I want to know what on Earth makes people think it’s okay to touch a child who isn’t yours without consent from their guardian.

    • Eli says

      What happened to Dexter was awful. The homophobic man may not have harmed Dexter physically…however, behavior like that does harm psychologically. Growing up being both into Tonka trucks and wearing my mom’s high heels has led to a lot of straight man “interventions”that made me feel like I was not right. Thankfully, I’m over that.

      Good for you for standing your ground, but I would seriously re-consider not pressing charges against that man. Unwanted physical contact is still technically battery, and behavior like that should never be tolerated.

      Kudos to you for standing your ground!

    • Gillian says

      Katie is making the decision she needs to make for her family and I support her. I was abused as a kid. That stuff has to be reported. We can’t start reporting to the police whenever someone touches our child without asking. That’s neither appropriate nor helpful. Same with making extremely unwanted comments.

      Katie has done a huge amount of good by writing these posts and educating people. She has started a very important discussion. That was a superb way to handle this issue and that is what she will tell her son when he gets older. She has done very well.

      • Susan says

        You are wrong in saying that we can’t start reporting to the police whenever someone touches a child without asking. This person has broken a boundary that they have either broken before or will again in the future. The language used was hostile toward a 2 year old and a female. This leads me to believe this man could have been more hostile if they were in a less open location. Bullying must be stopped, regardless of age. He was a big bad bully. As a mandated reporter, I would have called the police and had him detained.

  2. says

    Honey, you do what you feel in your mommy gut is right. Nobody can take that from you. I probably would have done the same thing – just hightail it out of there and go home to cry. You just teach your children the way you feel they need to be taught and that is the best you can do. Society can suck it! ;-)

    • Marjorie says

      I cannot imagine what I would have done. My son just turned 10 yesterday, and he STILL likes to dress up in a skirt and have me put his long hair in braids. He even calls himself Lizzy. What I love is that he is self-expressed. What I fear is what you experienced. My heart goes out to you and I know whatever you choose to do is the best for you and your family. I’m sure you’ve already talked to your sweet sweet boy about what happened and that there are people out there that don’t think it’s ok for people to be different. Hugs to you and your family, thank you for sharing your story.

    • Ally says

      Ditto! You are doing a great job, no point stewing on it. Sad to say this isn’t the last time your little ones will experience something less than savoury, but the best thing you can teach them is how to cope in these situations.

    • Rachel says

      Krystal is right. Only you can make the best decision for you and your family. Feel good in knowing that you she’s light on a serious situation and made the rest of us mothers aware of things that might happen. Thank you for that.

    • Jon says

      You should have done something about this incident. Tucking your tail between your legs and running is no way to teach your young man how to handle adverse situations. Nor is it helpful in stemming this type of behavior. That guy faced no consequences for his ill will amd most likely will perform some sort of similar act of given the chance.

      • Chel says

        Jon, to use your own words: ‘you should do’ something about how judgemental you are towards other people’s parenting choices. Shoving your judgements out ‘between your legs and’ ignoring the fact that speaking out on a public forum like a blog IS a way to ‘teach children how to handle adverse situations.’ Creating a dialogue alone is incredibly brave and ‘helpful in stemming this type of behavior.’ Finally, I ask, by saying ‘That guy faced no consequences for his ill will amd most likely will perform some sort of similar act of given the chance,” are you seriously implying that this woman and her children are responsible for this man’s future reprehensible behavior – simply because they were once victoms of the same? Seriously?

  3. says

    Ignore the people that are problems you will meet them everyday, they enjoy giving an opinion on things they often are terrible at in their own lives. You have an amazing son who feels loved and nurtured enough to be a little boy with a creative mind who loves to pretend…no more no less….My nephew will be 17 in September and is the compassionate loving person I helped raise him to be and at 2 he loved my high heels…now he is more into computers and girls….but the lesson he learned is that you can be anything you want as long as you do it with compassion and love for others.

  4. says

    Something similar happened to me with my then three year old son in eastern TN a couple of years ago. You were a lot calmer than me. A LOT. The man called my son a fucking faggot for wanting a Barbie. I quietly told him that unless he wanted me to beat his ass with a bat, he needed to remove himself from my presence. I was livid. My son’s favorite color is pink, much like your son. He is “all boy.” This belief that you must teach your sons to be homophobic jerks is wrong. Just wrong.

  5. Nancy says

    I understand wanting to get back to normal, but I really think you should pursue pressing charges. This man needs to be taught to never do this again, and all the men like him (and there are a LOT) need to see that this is not acceptable. Maybe a few of them will think twice before doing something similar, if they know there will be consequences. Please, PLEASE do not try to justify or excuse his actions because he had been drinking. There are too many victims of much worse abuse who believe that what’s been done to them “isn’t his fault” because of alcohol or drug use. It is just not true. Adults are responsible for ALL of their actions, including those done under the influence. Even if you can’t identify the man who attacked you and Dexter (yes, that was an attack!), you can give the footage to a local news channel and put the message out that this is not acceptable, it is not right, and it will not be tolerated or shrugged off. We’ve been telling girls for years that they are just as good as boys, can play with or wear anything boys do, and can do anything that used to be boys-only. I think our sons deserve the same encouragement and empowerment about former “sissy stuff,”and I think we will be building a better world for everyone if we give it to them.

  6. kate says

    I’m going to jump in here for just a second and say, what that man did was harassment and he should be punished for it. I respect your decision not to pursue anything though. One thing, you said “He may have thought I was a single mom in need of a strong male role model.” This is irrelevant. A single mom should be no more a target of this than someone in a strong relationship. Maybe your strong relationship is with another woman. Don’t excuse his behavior.

    • Jenifer says

      Thank you for eloquent reply for what I was searching to find. I’m a single Mom of a 2 year old son who loves to wear his sister’s head bands. Just because I’m a single mom does not give ANYONE the right to come teach him to be manly. I know the author did not intend for it to come across that way… but it still rubbed me the wrong way when I read it.

      And as a person who put up with emotional abuse for far, far too long and was really good at making excuses… I have to agree. Coming up with reasons why the man did what he did to your son STILL DOES NOT EXCUSE his behavior!! We all have our “off” moments, but normal sane people don’t go up to 2 year olds and start verbally abusing them.

  7. says

    I found your page through another blogger that I know when she shared your original story.
    I’m appalled at what that man did… and the fact that people stood there and did nothing about it. Of course, in a way it doesn’t surprise me because it’s Walmart. I think that when it comes down to it all you have to do what you and your husband feel is right for you and your family. There is a ton of advice in the comments… good and bad. Ignore it. Do what you feel is right.
    On another note… I have a 3 year old son and he likes to wear my jewelry, his sisters dress up stuff, and paint his nails. He’s even put little clips in his hair on his own. I honestly don’t care… there are bigger battles to fight and if he’s happy then whatever.
    I wish you the best of luck.

  8. RogeSoja says

    I would suggest, considering what you’ve posted, you read and police the comments sections more closely, for this article and others. Considering the kinds of people you’ve already confirmed live in your area, as well as the nature of the self-righteous assholes of the Internet, you can be setting yourself up for further hardship. I found some damning information about you just reading your “About Me” bit.

    Signed, the good kind of self-righteous asshole.

    • shannoncl says

      Is this some sort of threat to this woman and her family? If so, you are a troll at best and perhaps criminal

      • says

        He is right, as I have been getting some nasty comments using my personal information from my about section. People are using it against me, and I have removed it for the time being. But thank you.

    • says

      Thank you. I have been trying to moderate, but my site has been up and down for the last two days making it impossible to keep up. I have removed some of the personal information from my pages for the time being.

  9. Diane says

    I agree with you on so many levels. Being the peace you want in the world is not easy, but oh so important. When my son was about 4 and we were looking for a “real bike”he fell in love with this sparkly purple one at Wards. He first saw it when we were at an out of town store, so we couldn’t buy it. When we returned home we looked at other bikes, but nothing could compare with that purple, sparkly bike. We went to a few local Wards and finally – there it was. His eyes lit up – we asked why it was different and he replied “It’s just the most beautiful bike I’ve ever seen”. Being a non-traditional family, we wanted him to make an informed decision, so we asked him “Some people might think that looks like a girls bike, is that OK with you?” He replied with and solid YES so we said OK lets buy it. At that point we noticed two older women that had been watching us give a smile and a thumbs up. Not everyone is a bully. As the years went on, he slowly changed some of the decorations so that by the time he was ready for a new bike, the sparkly purple bike was rather gender neutral. He grew into a fine, straight young man who is great with children and animals and will someday make a great father who I expect will have no problem if his son wants to rock a lacy headband.

  10. Brendan says

    I’d ask you, please, to report this to the authorities. The sort of person that thinks it’s okay for someone to be shot for their lifestyle, is the sort of person pulling the trigger.

    It will also silence anyone that doubts you.

  11. Missy says

    What you should do next IS to contact the authorities and the WalMart management. What this man did is NOT acceptable, EVER. I don’t care if he thought he was helping, he just assumed it was OK for him to lay hands on your child, and by letting it go and not filing a police report, you are telling him (and people like him) that it’s OK to be an asshole to small children and touch them without permission, as long as they think they are “helping”. Please help correct that notion, and file a police report. Ask the management to review their security footage and determine if he paid with a credit or debit card (he can be traced that way). Please make it clear to this man that it is NEVER OK to touch another human being without permission, particularly no someone else’s child.

    Your son will thank you for it.

    • Ashbet says

      Please, please, I beg of you, report this man to the police. They can ask WalMart for the CCV footage, but the longer you wait, the more likely it is that the evidence will be taped-over — they re-use the store tapes and purge the footage after a certain point, sometimes daily or weekly.

      The next child he hits, this big, drunk man who probably doesn’t know his own strength or have good judgment as to the force of his blow, could be seriously hurt or killed.

      Imagine if his “rough pat” had knocked your son’s head into the rough metal of the shopping cart, leaving him bleeding. Imagine having to explain to another mother why you didn’t speak up when you could, when the incident didn’t turn out to hurt your child but *very easily could have.*

      And, yes — as someone else said above, the kind of person who talks about gay people “getting shot” is also the kind of person who has the serious potential for actually pulling the trigger.

      Your son will not be traumatized by a police report — they can see everything they need to see from the store tapes and an interview with you.

      Please report this — for your son, and for the children and adults who stand in the path of this man’s harm. Someone who would so casually lay hands on another person’s child is not someone I want walking around on the street, thinking that they got away with it.

      I can understand being shocked and just wanting to take your kids and get out of there. You didn’t want to get into a physical altercation that could leave you, or them, harmed. You reacted like many people do when they’re shocked, stunned, wordless. I’ve been assaulted, and while I fought back (and ran my attackers off!), I was in too much shock to scream — I didn’t find my voice until later.

      But you have a voice now — please use it, for the sake of your son and anyone else this man may encounter.

      His casual aggression toward a very young child leaves open some very frightening possibilities for how he might treat an older child, a teenager, or an adult who he didn’t feel was conforming to his idea of gender or sexuality — because someone who will cuff a toddler might do so much worse to a 12-year-old, or a 20-year-old, or an elderly person.

      I know that you want to keep your kids safe — I’m a mother, I very likely would have had a hard time not attacking him physically — but if I felt unsafe, or that my daughter was unsafe, I would have felt like it was my duty as a parent to get my child out of a potentially-escalating situation.

      Please call the police and report this man, now that you’re in a position where you can do so in safety.

      • Gretchen says

        I agree 100% with the above comment. Instead of being angry at society for not stepping in, look at you ignoring what you are able to now do. I couldn’t live with the knowledge that I did nothing in this situation. God forbid you see this man on the news for doing this to another child, or worse! Because it “takes a long time to report it”? That time could save a life. It’s sad that the help you expect from society isn’t returned. Be the change you wish to see in the world.

  12. Sarvi says

    You are a completely awesome mom, and all I can say is that I wish that cheesedick had left in tears, handcuffs, or both. You did absolutely the right thing to not pour any more energy into it — your priority is your kid, not giving free life lessons to any random scumbag. My heart goes out to you and your adorable kiddo. Regrettably, life can be ugly, but with a mom like you to help him learn that being who he wants, not what somebody so cowardly he picks on toddlers wants, he’s going to be GREAT!

  13. Kelli says

    Legally, whether it was violent or not, touching someone without their consent is assault. That’s a crime, period. Now, you may still choose not to press charges, but you should know this for future reference.

  14. Liz Bure says

    No one has the right to tell you how to parent unless you are hurting your children and require intervention, which you clearly never will. I’ve had Experiences with my own child who is now 11, That has pushed me to the limit as well. We have gotten into many discussions about how although most people in the world are good there are some bad dudes as well. I always tell my son to get away from the Band-Aids and go towards the good ones. We have discussed that it rarely does any good to try to set a bad guy straight, and it’s usually better to ignore & remove yourself from the vicinity. My point isn’t to avoid teaching him how to stick up for himself, But to realize that sometimes sticking up for yourself just means walking away and giving negative behavior zero attention! At school and in the world. I’m glad no one was really hurt, but I think you were hurt! I’m sorry someone hurt you! You didn’t deserve any of it! God Bless!

  15. Melissa Oltman says

    I am so sorry this happened. You trust your gut and do what’s right for you. By the way, Dexter is absolutely adorable. :)

  16. Allison King says

    There is no excuse for what he did to your son. Don’t try to justify it. I agree with everyone else. See about pressing charges. Or at least inform the store about what happened.

  17. Ray says

    This piece of vermin who attacked both you and your son is an extremely dangerous person. By removing that headband, he committed assault. Calling your son a homosexual is – unfortunately – protected by the First Amendment. However; saying that your son will someday be shot, is absolutely a death threat to your son.

    I stand with the others here who say you should report this to the authorities, and to WalMart.

    Regards, Ray

    • Laura anne says

      I completely agree. That man is a potential threat to anyone he encounters, be they a child like yours or an adult who disagrees with him. He is the kind of man who can and will kill someone, if he hasn’t attempted to do so already. As a mom, I understand wanting to cry and not freak your children out doing so, but I can assure you that your child will remember what that man did to him and will know how you defended him. You’ll realize this when you someday run into another who even slightly resembles that jackwagon and your innocent beautiful baby boy begins to cry for seemingly no reason. Please girlfriend, report everything and allow the nice policeman to speak with your angel. You may be saving a life.

  18. Lindsay says

    I don’t have any kiddos myself, but I am a big believer in the fact that people should be who they want to be. Gay, straight – whatever. It’s no one else’s job to dictate that to another person – no matter what their age. But ESPECIALLY not to a small child. Ridiculous. People are freaked out by what they don’t know – and this man obviously doesn’t know anything but white trash and hatred for anything “outside the norm.”Karma will pay him a visit at some point. Regardless, I hope adorable little Dexter continues to wear headbands whevever he wants to. And you are a wonderful parent for loving him no matter what he wears. :)

  19. says

    Katie, first off, I’m so sorry that you had to go through that. Furthermore to be put through the internet ringer — this place has very little moral sufficiency. That said, ignore as many as possible, and take only what you like away from the people interacting with you.

    There will always be haters. The secret is to ignore them as long as possible. I’m sure its added a few years to my life.

    As for what to do and where to go now — I believe that’s up to you. If you’d like, you could continue pushing the issue so that more people continue to learn from your experience, or accept what has happened, take some time to cool down, and do what you feel is best for your family. And being honest for a moment — I can’t say in all good conscience that continuing to prolong the issue is best for you and your family. Only you can decide what that is.

    Though many of us have never visited your blog before, don’t worry — not all of us are here to bring you down. In fact, many of us are here to bring you support. And perhaps that’s what the moment needs — support. Support for others. Support for ourselves. Support for our families.

    The biggest problem with this world is that there are so few people who receive the support they need. People are cold, and angry, hateful. And many times its simply because they have nobody to come home to and tell them they love them. Or never had anyone tell them that they matter. Or any number of reasons.

    Love is the most important thing that can fix all these problems. And the only way we can spread love, is by supporting each other.

    So we’re here to support you and your family, Katie. For whatever it is you may decide to do. And remember — decide not for your readers, not even for the world, but for your child and your family, what you need to do to move on.

    Best of luck.


  20. Lisa says

    You do whatever it is that you think is best for your kids and your family. Teach your children to be who they are and to accept everyone for who they are…let that be your revenge on this ignoramous.

  21. says

    As a mother and grandmother, my advice would be to just talk to your little boy about the fact that the man was naughty for touching him because he was a stranger and strangers should never touch kids. I doubt if Walmart or the police would do anything anyway. The only thing to worry about is what effect the episode had on the child, and what he might learn from it. The fact that you stood up for him to that jerk will be a good part of your little boy’s memory. Mommies are supposed to take care of kids and stand up for them!

    • says

      I agree with this mother and grandmother. I am also a mother, grandmother, and a retired teacher. I also wonder what Dexter thought of the event. I’d be very concerned with his thoughts and a careful explanation that is man did something he was not supposed to do is a good step, and that Mom was there to get him home safe and sound. I would inform Walmart and the police; this may have happened elsewhere and paper trails are always good documentation in getting authorities to act. However, I’d be sure that Dexter is no longer involved in any issues that arise from this. You don’t want him to be afraid of going shopping with you, but he should know about “stranger danger.” Just my two cents; do what you and your husband feel is right. As a side note, my 6’5″ 250 pound son learned to ride on a girls’ Barbie bike that a friend gave us. He is a compassionate young man now.

  22. says

    He might not have been physically violent, but he was certainly violent. I’d definitely, beyond a doubt go to the police and let them know. They’re the best people to go to for advice about a matter like this. After all, they know the law inside and out (or they ought to). Consider this: domestic violence doesn’t have to be physical to be domestic violence. It can also be verbal, emotional, and financial. It’s still violence. By the same decree, this is violent — really violent — and ought to be outed as such.

    You needn’t worry about your son being dragged into some massive investigation — it’ll be okay. He’s very young: you’ll likely be the main witness. When I was about nine, I saw a fatal two-car hit-and-run and identified the car makes and models before they drove off. My mother gave the witness statement on my behalf: I wasn’t involved much at all.

  23. Kristina Curtiss says

    I’m sorry this happened to your son. :( The older I get, the more I realize people just plain suck and this guy is living proof of that. I’m glad your son is young enough that he won’t remember this jackass and his idiocy! I can understand why you don’t want to pursue charges/media attention. Go with your mommy instinct and forget about the people who are pressuring you to do so. If they can’t understand your reasoning, that’s their problem, not yours, and lord knows you’ve had enough of dealing with other peoples’ inability to understand things lately! Hang in there. Eventually our world will grow up a little and jerks like that guy won’t be so prevalent! xoxo

  24. says

    I just want to add that I know it’s scary. Its never nice getting the law involved, but some things in life aren’t nice, are they. This certainly wasn’t — not in any way. You will feel awkward at first, telling your story to the police, but I think you’ll find they’ll be very receptive to what you have to say. You’ll also be protecting other children from behavior like this: if the man’s actions are picked up by the media, for instance, they’ll serve as an example to other people who might find themselves tempted to say similar things — drunk or sober. Know what I mean?

    The more time goes by, the more you’ll rationalize not going to the police. If you do go, what’s the worst that could happen? No charges. But if you don’t go… Well, you might regret it in time and then it’ll be too late. Nothing bad will happen. The cops are there to protect the community and this is just the type of thing they need to know about.

  25. Ms Not Together says

    As a person who works the front end of a Walmart, I would agree with letting management know. They can look at the footage, because he’s probably a regular. And it may not have been the first time he so horribly to a customer. I think you did the right thing. As an associate of a Walmart, I apologize for his treatment of you.

  26. Ellie says

    You are an amazing woman and mom to your kids for your loving support of their (future) lifestyle choice. As you say, I also believe it is not a choice, but rather a truth of who you are. While I agree with what people say here regarding that you have a case reporting it to the police, I also agree with you in not doing it. You would be investing time and stress into this situation where one drunk idiot crossed paths with you and your family. A terrible scare, yes, but I would certainly want to leave it in my past. As a mom of two little ones almost exactly the same age as yours, I would have loved to hug you in support then and there. Much love.

  27. John says


    First, what a beautiful blog–I’m jealous of the layout, the color, and the dedication you’ve made so obvious to yourself and your family through the sites maintenance.

    I understand your being overwhelmed and wanting to move on. That being said, I’m a 29 year old, partnered gay man and living my life “normally”–if such a thing exists–is difficult enough without people like that gorilla walking around and violating your and other people’s security in the name of preventing “the spread of homosexuality”.

    Sometimes, I want to ignore that my marriage rights are constantly in the news. Sometimes I want to ignore that there are people like me in Russia, who have found love, and are being hurt–publicly, politically, and inhumanly–because of who they are. Most of the time, I’d like to ignore that, in my own country, in cities like New York, considered hubs of civilization the world over, gay men are murdered by people like good ol”cutoff-sleeves there; not because of anything they’ve done, but because of how they walk, gesticulate, who they sleep with, what they sound like and, most important, who they love.

    We all talk about it. It gets on the news. Everyone is in an uproarious anger…for a week…maybe a month. Then nothing happens.

    I do know you’re not responsible for fixing the world; that, in fact, your responsibilities are vast and time consuming already, that you have a family, that you just want to get back to your blog and your life. But, I’d ask as favor–to me, to so many other people that have had to endure so much–please don’t ignore this. Please make people see that touching your child, using homosexuality as a weapon, that threatening the life and security of your child and of an entire culture that has been bleeding for decades, is no longer okay.

    Please do something…

    For your son and yourself–
    For me and the people I love–
    For the men and women in Russia–
    And for the families of those that we’ve already lost.

    Thank you,


    • says

      John – thank you for your comments. I agree that it is not okay and has been going on too long, and I am trying hard to do my part to educate. Thank you for weighing in.

  28. Kim says

    Hey, just wanted to let you know that anyone who says you don’t know how to parent your kids is absolutely wrong. You’re a lot better than the majority of them. I’ll give you an example of parents that don’t know how to parent their kids right.
    When I was growing up I was a tomboy, people used to mistake me for a boy, and my older brother used to make fun of me, not to mention the kids at school from the time I was about 7. My mom’s attitude was always to try to make me more feminine. By the point I hit 16, I told my parents I was confused about my gender identity, and started trying harder to change my gender presentation (I cut my hair, binded my chest.) My mother criticized and made fun of me ceaselessly, and my dad and brother often gave me a hard time but nothing compared to my mom.
    At the age of 21 I have finally got rid of most of the self esteem issues I had for most of my life. I always hated myself for being different and couldn’t understand why I was born wrong. I’ve finally come out as a bi trans guy, but I still have to hide these parts of my identity from my family because they don’t want to accept it.
    The point I’m trying to make is that I don’t understand why people who let their children be themselves and do what makes them happy are called the bad parents. It’s the parents who force their views and prejudices onto their kids and sow that seed of self doubt that will follow them through life, who are bad parents. The people who criticize you are the wrong ones.This rigid gender policing has to stop, for both trans kids, cis kids, gay kids and straight kids to grow up happy and free to be themselves. It’s inhumane, but people are too blinded by the norms of their society to see that the norms cause problems and absolutely no good.

    • says

      I am so sorry that you had to go through all of that. I am very much against people policing gender policies, and I can only hope the world will be a better place by the time my kids are older.

  29. says

    You did good that night. You stood your ground in defence of your son and no further violence was committed. Those are important lessons. I appreciate what some of the other commentors have said about standing up for the LGBT community but this post is an important part of that advocacy. Breathe deep and find the path that is right for you.

    Oh, and don’t feed the trolls ;-)

  30. says

    It’s of course up to you if you decide not to press charges, but keep in mind that the same shock you felt at the inaction of the people you say witnessed this assault is the same inaction that most of your commenters see when you decide to not involve the authorities. It won’t hurt you to involve the authorities. They’re the ones who make the decision about whether it’s assault or not. They’re there to give you advice on when to press charges and when not to. Cops are awesome at that. It’s their job.

    If you think your child has been assaulted it’s your duty as their parent to protect them and to stop the perpetrator from doing it again. A stranger who drunkenly lays their hands on random children, calls them profane names and suggests that they’re going to be murdered is exactly the kind of person the police need to be aware of.

    • Char says

      I agree totally with Jenny! You need to alert the authorities and frankly, I’m shocked and concerned you aren’t.

    • says

      Thank you, Jenny. As a fan of your blog, I take your advice very seriously because I respect what you have to say. I agree with your sentiment, but given that I have now had people show up at my home to talk to me about it, and the local newspaper is interviewing the sheriff and the WalMart managers, I don’t think I even have a choice anymore as to whether or not to report it.

      • Diane says

        Stay strong. You have handled this better than most of us would have, had we been in your shoes.

        Some folks have said your son won’t remember this. I don’t necessarily believe that’s true. Only time will tell. It’s okay to talk with him about it at an age-appropriate level a couple more times, just to make sure he knows that the man should not have touched him or come near your family.

        Please trust that the attention will blow over eventually, and now that the choice has been taken from you and the authorities know about it, you don’t have to fret over the decision. I am sorry that the choice became no longer yours to make.

        Thank you for sharing. I’m lifting prayers up for you and your family as you deal with this, and even a few prayers for the bigoted fool who attacked you and Dexter. That guy needs a lot of prayer too. He is ignorant, and I consider him a victim of bad parenting and equally bad societal norms and expectations.

        And please know…if I had been there (though I never really go in Walmart stores), I would have come to your defense. Even if it could have gotten ME shot.

        God bless.

      • Kelley says

        I’m sorry to hear that the decision to contact the police and Wal-Mart has been taken out of your hands. You did the right thing in Wal-Mart, and I’m sure you will continue to do the right thing through this whole ordeal. I hope it is short lived. You have a lot of cheerleaders out in cyberspace. Ignore the trolls, and keep your head high. This too shall pass. (I have a four year old whose favorite color was pink until his TEACHER told him pink was for girls).

  31. says

    Though I don’t particularly agree with the gay lifestyle, gay people are certainly not “less than” anyone, nor do they deserve to die/be murdered. In addition, who is he to be the judge of anyone?! I have three boys. All my boys have, at one point in time, enjoyed putting on makeup with me while getting ready; tried on my bras; worn fingernail polish; played with dolls; tried on my jewelry and clipped my hair accessories in their hair. How on earth does any of that equate to or solicit a label?

    As far as the lawsuit etc. goes you and your husband must make those decisions on your own. You must ask yourselves what message it will convey to your son. You already stood up for him in the moment and he’s likely already forgotten it has even happened or he’s simply just moved on. Kids move on pretty quickly, especially when we stand up for them. It’s not like you were ashamed of him in any way during your trip to the store. He knows you love him just the way he is and that’s all he needs.

    I am quite shocked that anyone would touch your son, however. But…there are all kinds of people in this world and everyone seems to have an opinion that really counts because, somehow, mothers know nothing.

    As for the trolls…they’re all over. Ignore them; don’t give them the time of day. You owe them nothing.

    Bless you, mama!

    • Frannie says

      Jessica, I liked most of your post, but KayBee wrote exactly what I was thinking. Being gay is as much of a “lifestyle” as being left handed. It’s an orientation–an innate trait—and, as such, it’s not something to agree or disagree with. Many people mistakenly confuse “orientation” with “behavior.” If you don’t like the behavior of someone who is gay—just say, “I don’t like the behavior of that person.” But please remember that a person’s sexual orientation is what it is regardless of and separate from behavior. I don’t like misogynist behaviors, such as rape or wife beating, but I wouldn’t then conclude that “I disagree with the heterosexual lifestyle….”

  32. says

    Wow. I have a 2 year old boy too. I let him wear my shoes, play with my make up, and play with his friends’ babies. I’ve let him wear my headband or put a hair clip in his hair. I don’t believe it is at all related to his sexuality. He is told by his father that girls wear make up. My dad recently told him if he was in to interior design he would still love him. I don’t believe my son is gay. He already seems attracted to pretty girls. I can totally relate to you and would definitely have the same reaction. I haven’t read all the comments but I think someone said he didn’t break any laws so there isn’t much you can do. If I was you I would be proud I vented on my blog and awareness was spread and hopefully someone takes a second thought before teasing another little boy.

  33. Jenny says

    Hi :)
    First off, I just want to say how incredibly sorry I am that this happened to you and your son. In my opinion, I believe that it almost sounds like you are trying to justify and make light of this mans actions and words. This man touching your son may not have been violent but his words that he used most definitely were. I personally believe words can be used as weapons and therefore can be a form of violence. This man verbally and in my opinion physically assaulted your son. I believe any kind of unwanted touch is wrong, of course in not all circumstances is wrong but because he came at you in a hostile manner, I believe it was wrong. I hope that makes sense because I am not sure how to word it, lol. No matter what you choose, I am 1000% behind you and support your decision. You need to do what is right for you and your family. I would just hate to see you start to justify what he did to you and make the situation seem lighter than it is. Just because other people didn’t step in, does not mean you overreacted. There are far too many people scared to intervene or stand up for people in need. In my opinion neither you or Dexter are to blame for this. I am sending love and positive vibes your way.

    • says

      Thank you for your comments. I am not trying to justify the man’s actions – simply to clarify that I think I overstated things in the first instance. It is hard to eloquently convey the actions of another when you are yourself angry at the situation. I wrote the post to focus on the greater issue of homophobia and projection than on the physical altercation.

  34. Judy says

    You just keep being an awesome mom. That’s what counts to those boys. Much love to you and your lovely family.

  35. Judy says

    You just keep being an awesome mom. That’s what counts to those boys. Much love to you and your lovely family.

  36. Jenna says

    You have my support. I’m sorry to see the negative feedback you are getting. Young boys wearing feminine clothes and accessories is merely healthy role playing and helps them to develop empathy. My 5 year old grandson happily chose to wear a pink graduation outfit at pre-school has been playing with a very pretty pink and sequined purse (he’s now seven) He’s also all boy, rocks at playing rugby (football in your language) is fearless on his skateboard and scooter, pummels and kicks his brother and loves is family (and his chickens) with all his heart. You and your son have been violently assaulted by the man mentioned and most likely he bitterly regrets his own bad treatment as a young child and is too angry to speak about it. I would encourage you to pursue this through the courts, however your society may try to destroy you for speaking up in which case, it is not worth your time (from Australian) xxx

  37. John Taylor says

    Thank you for your good-willed post. Nothing was wrong with the way you handled that situation, and you don’t need to feel pressured to make a big deal out of it or leave it. You’re obviously a caring, open-minded, and loving mother who has her children’s happiness at heart. Don’t let any of these comments hurt you; when something gets this popular, it’s bound to be commented on by very unintelligent people.

    Here’s a comic I love about being someone who publishes things on the web (the last part about comments is what I’m thinking of):

    Thanks again for your great posts, I’m glad I found your blog :)

  38. says

    I’m honestly not sure I could be quite as restrained as you were. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with the way you chose to handle the situation, I’m afraid I might not have had the control to not hurt the bastard who touched my child.

    Huge kudos to you for showing such immediate and vocal support to your son. No matter what the future holds for him, I have no doubt he will grow up knowing y’all love and support him.

    I do believe that man should be reported to the police (at the minimum, he is guilty of public intoxication but, the minute he laid a hand on your son without permission, he committed assault) but, if you aren’t comfortable with that approach, perhaps you could make sure Wal-Mart corporate headquarters hears about this and maybe educates their associates to show support for people in your situation. The important thing is that you find a solution that leaves you feeling satisfied and empowered.

    If you want to read a post written by a mom whose son has similar clothing preferences, check out the post NerdyApple wrote Don’t be turned off by the post title. It is fabulous.

  39. says

    We can all say that in your situation, we would have done xyz when in truth, I’ve never been in that situation. It is in no one’s best interest to judge you, and those who do do so to feel better about their little lives. If nothing else, your post has opened up a lot of dialog in many different communities. Your heart is in the right place with your family, and I hope you get your ‘normal’ back soon.

  40. Jacque says

    I’m in shock reading the original post! I have a 2-year-old little boy as well, and he has long hair. My husband is military, and we do the majority of our grocery shopping on base. I guess everyone expects even little military boys to have buzz cuts. Everyone confuses him for a little girl due to the long hair and ridiculously long eyelashes he was blessed with. I’m sure I could dress that boy in a superhero costume and people would still just see the hair and eyelashes and think he was a girl. I usually get sincere, profuse apologies when I correct people, if I correct them (sometimes it’s just not even worth it because I know I’ll never see them again). I have gotten some odd looks and even some staring, but have never had someone accost me or my child the way you and your son were. I’d say I would have acted in the exact same way.

    I think that you did the right thing by just getting out for the sake of your son. It would’ve probably only upset him more if you had to deal with giving an account and writing up a report right after it happened. Especially since no one was willing to help you. My heart hurts that you had to deal with this alone. Whether you choose to go back and make management aware that it happened or press charges or not is totally up to you.

    Reading this, I feel the same way you do about raising your children to be who they are no matter what other people think, and loving them regardless of their future sexuality. I also feel the way you do about the fear that something horrible could possibly befall them if their sexuality is anything other than straight. I don’t understand why anyone would rail against any child about sexuality or make the comments that he made. I just hope that by the time our children grow up and have to deal with things of that nature, we’ll live in a more civilized society.

    I feel that I’m rambling now, so I’ll close and just say that I hope you find peace and strength from all the love you are receiving.

  41. R. K. says

    I don’t necessarily think you should press charges, but I think you should consider allowing a news outlet to cover the story just to get your opinions on allowing children to choose what to wear, homophobia, etc. out into the public. It could start a great dialogue about acceptance of all people and the right to live freely.

  42. ActionJacsen says

    First of all I want to remind you that you are a beautiful, wonderful, brilliant parent for giving your little guys the space to just be every day, to be themselves, not gay, not transgender, just themselves as much as they choose to declare. The other major piece of what I want to say to you is that what happened is horrible, terrible, evil intolerance that was probably perpetrated by someone who did those very same things and had the same wants and tendencies as your little fella does now when he was little and the response was to “beat it outta him”. Who really knows because I don’t know the guy but so much of the time people lash out about what they fear most in themselves. That doesn’t make what happened right or ok, but you know what else won’t make it right or ok? The police, or the court system. Because probably the only thing that would make it right is in that moment having been able to show him your horror and deep sadness. The cops and the courts aren’t gonna “tell him how it is about not calling people faggots”. I know that our first response particularly with our children especially when someone touches them without consent is to go directly to “i’m gonna beat your ass” cause that’s usually where I head first but if you really wanted to stop him in his tracks or consider stopping future him’s in their tracks is to look them in the eye, with the tears that were welling up and say something to the effect of “I can’t believe that you would be so mean to my 2 year old child. The things that you have said are awful and you need to get away from me and my child right this minute” This kind of directness and honesty hits the heart deep.

    The final thing that I want to encourage you to do is actually acknowledge what happened with your two year old, as him how he felt in that moment, be honest that it made you feel sad and scared and don’t be afraid to show him your tears about it. I know we all desperately want to protect our kids but I really think that if you can show him through your own feelings that what happened was mean and not acceptable ways to treat other people you will be so many steps closer to building the kind of child and life and world that you want to be a part of.

    Sending you so very much love and please don’t hesitate to email me if you want to talk more about this kinda stuff. I teach this kinda stuff all day long and hope that I can give people the support to build the big beautiful world that gives us all the space to be ourselves.

  43. Haley E says

    Hugs to you, mama! I don’t know what I would have done in that situation. That is…. terrifying. Your blog post made me cry, my little brother (who is gay) grew up dressing up in mine and my mother’s clothes, and he endured a lot of bullying for his femininity over the years. Your description of yours and Dexter’s experience really hit home for me. It’s a sad world we live in, sometimes. I hope things return to your normal soon. <3

  44. says

    Ugliness abounds in the world, unfortunately, and waaaaay too many people think that what you wear is who you are – which isn’t true for adults, and certainly isn’t true for kids. I mean, is your son Batman because he wears a Batman outfit?
    It’s amazing to me that in this twenty-first century world people can get so energized about what is/not “appropriate” behavior–not only the lug in the store but also all the trolls who have oh-so-kindly visited your site. One wonders, really, if these people have nothing else to do? Can they really not think of some other way to improve the world than by yapping at you through the interwebs? It’s all very sad – and of course the person who is probably the least touched by any of this is your son, who may remember the incident for a while but, ultimately, probably won’t. He is, after all, only two…so that’s good. And by venting here, you’ve probably already done a world of good. Headband power, I say!

  45. Do It For The Kids says

    Please seek help, sweetie. Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of but you need to seek help so that your children and husband do not suffer unnecessarily along with you.

  46. Janet says

    I just read your post on the FB page “Have a gay day” and it brought tears to my eyes.
    My 7 year old son seems like he’d get along with your little guy quite a bit — he loves My Little Pony, he has a pink flowered car seat, and his favorite color is Purple, he loves Iron Man and the LEGO Batman series, and he’s the best little cuddler that I’ve ever met. He’d probably wear the headband that your son was wearing and the skirt he’s wearing in the photos! He’s a little brother, but he keeps asking for a baby sister. ;)

    He’s explained to people before that he’s “half girl half boy and that’s OK because that’s what I am.”

    I love it that he’s HIMSELF and he knows it’s ok, but I’m so afraid that someone is going to, some day, do exactly what that moron did to you and your sweet little boy. If I had overheard that happen, I would have been over there in a second — probably AFTER my 10 year old had run over to tell the guy exactly why he was WRONG and being rude to you and outright mean to your little sweetie. (He’s Autistic and is very good at defending his brother’s choices to people who question it even a tiny bit!)

    I just wanted to send your whole family hugs and tell you that it sounds like you are doing an awesome job raising your kiddo (and I’m sure your little one too!). I also wanted to say that I do understand your reasoning for wanting to get your family out of there quickly, without having any more confrontations, and to not really want to bring more media-attention to the situation. I’m not sure that I wouldn’t have the exact same reaction in your situation… It’s a really hard situation to be in, and really one that I think that outsiders can’t really grasp. (My oldest was beaten up and called names by children on the bus at his school a few years ago and his school did nothing — I was told by many to call the local TV stations, but I didn’t really want to because that would bring up more pain to *him* each time he was interviewed.)
    Good luck to your family.

  47. says

    Bravo! I must commend the level head you have on your shoulders for choosing to see the big broad picture that was this situation and choose not to press charges! I wish there were more people like you in this world ! :)

  48. Rev. Sara Beebe says

    Hi Hon,

    I just received notice of what has happened to you and your son via my FB so my comment is a bit late. First, I’m glad you kept your cool enough to keep your little one from a major reaction at the time of the incident; that is best for letting him let go of it. Second, I agree with the folk who think you should notify the store and authorities; you don’t need to press charges but, especially if he is a local, others need to be on the look out for him to prevent a repeat of this incident with any other child. Finally, keep up the good work! My son is grown now and isn’t making a move one way or the other on the sexuality front but I know him having a rainbow, lame cape as a little one and wearing my skirts isn’t a deciding factor as to who he is – kudos to you for understanding that about your little guys as well.

    With sincerest regard,
    Rev. Beebe

  49. Lisa says

    Ignore the trolls, ignore the armchair parents, and just be still with your thoughts and let your heart tell you what you should do next. I agree with the people who have commented that you did better in the event than I would have. I’d have punched the guy myself! But your calm reaction is most likely why your son doesn’t remember it happening, and he has you to thank for that.

    If it were me — and it’s not, so please feel free to discard — I would at least make sure the management at WalMart knows this happened. It’s possible he could try to “help” someone else and things could get even more out of hand. I personally don’t think media is necessary, and the urge to shelter a child is certainly one worth running with. But again, you need to keep doing what you believe is best for you and for your family. You’re doing great so far!

    Hugs to you and your little man.

    • says

      This is on par with blaming rape victims who choose not to go to the police, for reasons that are their own, not yours. How about you go find somewhere else to troll?

      • Ann says

        No one is blaming rape victims, ffs. People are questioning the veracity of this blogger’s account. It does not ring true in many ways. And why is the traffic spike such a shock given that she posted (and her husband re-posted) the link to this article on REDDIT? Why would you post to Reddit in the first place? What are you trying to achieve with that move? Trying to warn the people of Reddit about scary redneck homophobes (oh so many stereotypes in that description of yours)? Please explain the Reddit posts. Why did you post there, and why does your husband continue to post there with links when you are already overwhelmed with traffic?
        And btw, maybe you should write about your many close calls, and multiple kidnap attempts…you’ve clearly led a fascinating life filled with amazing stories (emphasis on the “story”, as in fictional).

        • says

          I posted it on Reddit because I was angry and wanted to raise awareness about the greater issue (as I saw it). I have posted on Reddit before with my blog posts, and I usually would get a few hundred extra hits and a couple of comments. I have since found out that this is not what Reddit is for, and I have been shadow-banned (a term I had not heard of until it happened!). I did not expect the level of traffic, and in all honesty, only a tiny portion of it has come from Reddit anyway. Most of it has been through my original post on Facebook.

          My husband has been posting there because like every good man, he would defend and protect me from anything. He sees the negative and nasty comments and wants to put people right. I’ve asked him to stop now, as it’s not doing any good anyway. I’m sorry you believe my story is fictional. I wish that it was, as it is very difficult to remain strong and keep this online given the threats and horrible comments we’ve received. But in all honesty, I know I’ll never convince you or anyone else because you are determined to be skeptical.

          • syn says

            Girl, keep on truckin’. Regardless of what happened on Reddit, you wanted to share. I hope all is well. I haven’t seen any posts from your hubby but if I do, he’s got my upvote.

          • Stephen says

            If I were you I would file a report with the local police station for assault and battery. Then report the incident to WalMart, give them a copy of the police report, and tell them that you expect that they will preserve the video surveillance footage of the incident for identification purposes and future prosecution. I would also ask that WalMart provide you with the names of the employees seen in the video as witnesses to the crime. That’s what I would do.

          • Stephen says

            If you’re going to report anybody, report the trolls and those posting threats. These people are also breaking the law, can be traces and like over here in England, will be arrested.

          • Kay says

            The people that think this story is made up are people that just don’t want to face reality. Sadly this kind of behaviour is more common than it should be.

        • Stephen says

          Oh so every post on reddit warrants this kind of traffic? No. Most crash and burn. They posted because they were outraged and yes to gd traffic. The entire point of a blog is traffic, no point blogging if nobody reads it. Just like when anything goes viral, people do not expect it and are always overwhelmed.

          Assuming guilt with no proof is a disgusting part of your being. I recommend changing it before you die alone and miserable.

  50. Stacy says

    I am so sorry this happened to you and your lovely boys. Thank you for sharing your feelings and helping the world understand that the kind of behavior this man demonstrated is inappropriate. I am shocked at the comments you have received as well and the gall of those who would “tell you what to do”. I very rarely comment on what I read in blogs but wanted to offer my support and respect for you. For those who would continue to tell you “the right course of action” I ask; Are you any different than the man who perpetuated this offense? He obviously thought he knew how to raise another persons child or the “right thing” for that child. By telling someone else what to do in this situation you are no different. Good luck to you, Katie! I’m glad I found your blog!

  51. Shaz says

    I’d like to say I’m sorry that you and your children had to go through this horrific experience. I’m not a parent myself (unless you count my fur babies) but I would have been mortified if it had happened to me.
    The elder of my two brothers used to play Barbie dolls with me, dressed up, and generally played all the games I wanted to (well I am the big sister) as our other brother didn’t come on to the scene for a number of years. I used to also play so called boys games with them. My brothers and I are straight, not that I should have to say that in this day and age, but thought I would.
    Disregard the unintelligent and ignorant people, their lives are the less for being narrow minded and not accepting of those that are interesting. It is fear that makes them this way.
    **I use ‘interesting’ as I feel ‘different’ makes it appear they are lesser people … the world is made up of interesting people who enrich our lives with their ideas and other ways of seeing things. How boring would it be without them!
    I wish your children all the best for the rest of their lives and no matter what life choices are made I know under you and your partners care they will be happy, loved and accepted.

  52. Mary says

    I love your story, thank you for sharing it. I think the best thing you can do is do what you think is best, for you and your children. I think advice is good, you can listen to what people have to say, maybe some people have experience with this kind of thing, but in the end it comes down to what you think is best.
    I’m glad you stood up to this guy, no one should treat others’ children like that, don’t regret how you reacted. This guy is probably one that things children should be raised a certain way, and if you try to “correct” his own parenting style, he would react the same way you did.
    I wish you luck and happiness.

  53. says

    First – *cyber hugs offered* from one mom to another.

    Second – The trolls exist in all shapes and sizes. Don’t mind them. Some of them may mean well, but everyone raises their kids in the way that best suits //their kid’s individual needs//. No one knows your children better then /you/ and their father. Of course I don’t like it when parents teach their kids intolerance and all, but it’s not my place to say anything as long as it “harms none”. However, regardless if the other parents are my friends or not, I do not tolerate bullies – especially kid-bullies.

    Third – You are their mother. The instinct is strong with you (said in a Yoda voice). ;) Be well. You did right by protecting your kid. You are a good mom.

  54. Mary the Disturbed Stick woman says

    I’m going to venture a guess, that most (if not all) of the people who witnessed this and did nothing are now feeling deeply disturbed and ashamed. If you were to talk to them today, they’d say something like, “I was shocked, I never imagined that someone could do something like that,” and so on. Well, neither did you – before it happened. Now you’re realizing what homophobia is, and what your son might face if he is (or is perceived as) gay. So, as awful as the incident was, it may bear fruit. People who are not themselves oppressed, even well-meaning ones, often slip into believing that oppression doesn’t exist, or that there are “a few bad apples” but nearly everyone is kind and decent and manages to make up for it, or that yes, things happen, but surely not “oppression”, that’s such a big scary word. You, and the people who witnessed that incident and did nothing, got a slap in the face that told you different. What you, and they, do with that knowledge is up to you. The feeling of shame and disquiet WILL diminish over time, if you just tell yourself that same old story about a few bad apples and gosh was it really THAT big a deal? You, and they, can choose to forget.

    But I hope you won’t.

  55. Gilbert O'Sughrue says

    I am very sorry to hear about your traumatic event. I hope you are feeling better now and stronger, after the initial shock and feelings of helplessness you suffered.
    The other people who witnessed the event may have been as shocked as you were and probably afraid. None of us know how we will handle a scary situation until it happens and then we think of ways we could have handled it better afterwards.
    Perhaps the witnesses wish they had intervened and would like to help you now.
    Whatever you choose to do, I’m sure you are doing your best for your child everyday. :-)

  56. KayBee says

    Please, please report this. It’s not just about the safety of your child, but the children he has undoubtedly hurt behind closed doors. If this man felt it was okay to strike your son in public, JUST IMAGINE what happens behind closed doors. I understand completely why you don’t want to, its very scary, but this isn’t just about you and your child anymore. This is about a potentially violent abuser.

  57. says

    As a Grandmother of a dozen youngsters, I applaud you for stepping in to protect your son and maintianing your cool so as to not upset him further. I hope and believe that he will not remember this incident when he is older, unless he hears the story being told in the future as he gets older. How many of us remember things that took place when we were 2?

    When faced with such a random act we do our best for our children and you did what you thought best. I sympathize with you for all your family has had to endure since this happened. I pray that this is resolved quickly whether you reprt it or not. I would also want to put as much distance between myself and the offender as possible at the time.

    As for the negativity you have gotten…you just have to look beyond, and continue to do what you feel is best for your family.

    You are clearly a fabulous mom and I wish you only the best!

  58. Trish says

    I too believe that you should have the man charged. I think it teaches kids that they should just take bullying quietly if nothing is done. It’s the people who stand up for what is right that makes a giant difference to a child and to society. Kudos to you for letting your son be who he is and like what he likes.

  59. says

    I’ve hesitated commenting on this post after reading the comments, and I don’t want to post another negative or sound like I’m judging your parenting. Because, I am NOT. I would have reacted similarly, except that I would absolutely be going to Walmart and talking to the police. If you report this incident, your son will not even know. He’s 2, he’s not going to have any long term damage or even knowledge of this whole scenario, unless you share it with him when he is older.

    Why I think that you NEED to report it though? For everyone else out there. If you smelled alcohol on the man, he probably left the store, got in his car and drove home. DRUNK, or at least a little intoxicated. Also, if he did this once, he’ll probably do it again. Being intoxicated is NO excuse for what he did. The fact of the matter is that he laid his hand on your sons head and then he proceeded to spew ugly, mean, hurtful words at you and your son. So if you don’t feel like reporting the incident is important because he didn’t physically hurt your son, then report it because it was wrong. And report it for anyone else who he’s abusing, for the next person that he might target.

  60. says

    Your actions probably seem ordinary and unremarkable to you, the bare minimum of human decency, but to me they are remarkable. You are one more parent who will not spurn their child, or turn them out on the street, or do any number of horrific things to them, should they turn out to be queer, and to me that is revolutionary. My generation could not take mercy from our parents for granted; thank you for taking one more step to make the lives of the next generation brighter.

  61. Ann says

    Why did you take down your 102 Things post? Does this mean we won’t be reading about all those kidnap attempts?
    And to everyone commenting here, she will NOT be turning this person into the police because he might be a victim of “vigilante justice” and killed in jail (at least according to her husband’s comments on Reddit). Does this make any sense at all? Does any of this story make any sense? The lack of critical analysis is depressing.

    • says

      It was pointed out to me that there is information on that page that people could use to find me. After reporters showed up at my front door, I chose to remove it from my site. That page is a tongue in cheek look at my experiences, anyway.

      • says

        Tongue in cheek? You do know that the list is still available online, right? Listing things Like how you were a flight attendant on an Air Midwest plane? That later crashed? How in the world is this tongue in cheek?
        Seriously, you have a vast online presence, and much of it suggests that you at the very least exaggerated this story in a big way.

        • mark says

          I’m know that she knows it is available still online (everything is) and that it is hard to believe that so many strange things can happen to one person. I always tell her that is the luckiest, unluckiest person that I know and that she should write a book about it.

        • says

          You are more than welcome to call Mesa Airlines and ask them whether or not I worked for them and which flight route I was on. I was stationed in Charlotte, NC after my training was done in Mesa, AZ. I posted a link to the news article about the crash.

          And yes, much of that list was tongue in cheek to drag out some of my sillier stories into much bigger dramas than they were. When I wrote it more than a year ago, I drew people’s attention to it as a FUNNY (though accurate) representation of some of the stuff I’ve been through in my life.

          Again, I’m sorry you doubt what we went through. I have tried to be honest and say that the physical side of what the man did was bigger in my mind than it was in actuality, which is why I was not pressing charges for that. I don’t know if you’re a mom or not, but we tend to act like grizzlies when our kids are being threatened (whether that threat is real or imagined). The man crossed a line by touching my child at all, let alone removing something he was wearing. But it was the hatred he spewed at us that was my real upset.

          There’s not much more I can say.

          • Ann says

            Katie-I have three kids, which is partly why your story does not ring true to me. What really concerns me is that you are fanning the flames of hatred by claiming that this story happened, and taking advantage of the actual suffering that LGBT people experience every day in reality. This is wrong. You yourself have admitted that you have a problem with chronic lying, and have stories online (such as the redneck in the bar story) that seem to be forerunners of this one. You changed your blog from Herpretty (which was not successful) to this one just ten days before this incident allegedly happened. You claim to have been a flight attendant on a plane that is too small to have attendants. You state that you were a “few miles” from the PA crash; later that becomes “60 miles”. I realize coincidences do occur, and I also realize that people can have genuinely crazy lives, but all of this put together makes some of us suspicious. And for me, at least, it’s a problem, because as a cancer fighter who has looked for connection in the online world, I’ve run into an amazing level of deceit and I’m tired of it. It creates distrust and makes play of those who truly suffer. Now, maybe what you say happened really did happen (in some form, perhaps you’ve “embellished”, as you say you are wont to do), and if so, I’m sorry you had to experience it. But until there is some third-party proof that it took place, there are still going to be many of us who have a hard time believing it. But really, who cares, right? It’s gone viral, which is what you’ve been seeking for years, and things like trust, and honesty, are irrelevant. And for those who will want to call me “troll”, understand that I’m coming from the perspective of a mom, a liberal, and a staunch supporter of LGBT rights. Until Katie has provided some kind of concrete evidence, evidence that supports her story and refutes her history of online tale telling, you shouldn’t be making her into the new face of the movement, unless the truth means nothing to you.

  62. Jessy S. says

    If it were me, I would pursue the issue with police. If that sorry excuse for a grown man thought his actions were appropriate for a two year old, I fear what he would consider appropriate for a ten year old (slapping?) or a teenager (punching?) or as he implied he’d do to an adult – deadly force. I wouldn’t be able to stand the weight on my conscience if I later found out that this scumbag had harmed someone else’s child after I let him get away without any sort of police talking-to.

  63. says

    Hi Katie,
    I just wanted to stop by and say how sorry I am that this happened to you and your little boy. From what you said above it sounds like the newspaper is involving the sheriff’s Dept, so it seems like it’s getting investigated either way.

    I understand why you didn’t report it, and I also understand that everyone parents and processes things differently. I probably would have reported it because I live in the South. I understand you don’t feel like the man assaulted your son physically in a way that needed reporting and I totally get that. What alarms me about the man is the hate speech he used towards a two-year-old (in addition to laying his hands on him). I feel like if I heard that kind of speech used in the area where I live towards one of my children, I would be alarmed that this was the kind of person who might do more than just good naturally (to him)cuff a child’s ear. I would be worried that if he did that in addition to using the words he did towards your son that he might be the type of person to assault someone based on their sexual preference. (Also, I totally get what you said in your post about how a two year old can’t be straight or gay. But this man clearly doesn’t get that.) So, the man’s actions plus his words would have caused me to report it.

    However, it didn’t happen to me. If it did I’m sure I would have just wanted to get out of the area and make sure my child was safe before doing anything. It’s easy to say what you would do in someone else’s shoes…

  64. Vicki Hill says

    I know you were in shock when this happened, but I’m an older mother and grandmother. This incident was not about the sexual orientation of a child or the public not stepping up. That man battered you’re child. I imagine if the police were called and the taped was pulled, he would be facing a court date for public drunkness and assault and battery….so from this point forward remember do not be the victim…..don’t wait…ask for help, dial 911, go to the front of the store, get an employee to get the manager, as your following that dude out to get his licence plate, make a scene….that is your child and you have to protect him…nothing may have ever happened to that guy in court…but I guarantee he would never touch another child in the grocery store..that is what this story is about…sorry if I didn’t candy coat it.

  65. Ron says

    No matter who your son is or who he will turn out to be will ever justify what the man has said. I think by all means you should report him to the authorities if not for your Son’s sake for others. Who knows who else will encounter this person and what will happen. That being said, when i first read your article, I thought you meant the man hit your child. By definition, a cuff is usually similar to a slap. I was glad to read the update that it was not what i originally thought, but even still, there is no excuse, none what so ever.

  66. Nikki Powers says

    I’m so sorry this happened to you and your son. It is unacceptable, and unfortunate. It seems odd to me that people seem to think it okay to make fun of boys who play with Barbies or like the color pink or like to play dress-up and the like…but find no issues with a girl who likes to go hunting, fishing, play with trucks and so on. It’s a double standard and it needs to stop. Kids should just enjoy being kids!! Karma will get that man. You just keep fighting the good fight! Thank you for sharing your story with all of us.

  67. Kyle says

    I just wanted to say that I wish I had such a positive influence in my life, such as you while I was growing up. My boyfriend sent me the link about your Walmart experience, and I was horrified to think that people would act this way to a child.

    Growing up in a small town in Northern Canada I know all to well how mean and tortuous kids can be to be each other, but what was worse was how my family treated me for being “different”. They would almost always make fun of me for liking “non-traditional”things that boys shouldn’t like, and would always call me strange, weird, and gay.

    Growing up thinking that I had something wrong with me was not the best way to live my early youth. I think back and remember saying to myself “if my family doesn’t like me for me, who ever will?” As I grew up and came to terms with myself, I realized that the world has many amazing people in it. And reading your post about your unconditional love for your son, and family gives me hope.

    I am now 26 years old. And I have met someone who loves me for me. Someone who wants to be with me and someone who cares so deeply about me, that I never have to think for a second, that I am so sort of reject in this world. It’s because of people like yourself, and my amazing partner that the world is becoming such a better place. People who are willing to love unconditionally, look at people for who they really are, and above all respect people no matter race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.

    I applaud your amazing post. And know that you made some random 26 year old gay man from Canada well up because you gave him a little more faith in the world.

  68. Chad says

    Me being a gay man I would have (pardon my french) knocked the shit out of him in a second. There is nothing wrong with a 2 year old doing so as your son did my 5 year old nephew has done the same things and I could care less. Guys like that are the ones that are secretly seeking out men to be with in their spare time. All homophobs usually do.

  69. Jo Banks says

    My son started to wear headbands when he was about 8 years old. He likes his hair long, and people often mistake him for a girl. He’d go out with the headbands (he had one of every color) and we didn’t make a big deal out of it. He had a lot of other habits that people might see as ‘red flags’ that he may be gay, but he is now 13 and has told us he is definitely straight. He also said he still likes headbands, and wishes they made them for guys. His hair is past his shoulders now, and he’s developed lovely curls with puberty. He’s now even more mistaken for a girl, and he doesn’t mind. He told me, “I’m lucky because I know if I had been gay you would have supported me a hundred percent!” I’m sorry for what happened with your little boy. Stay strong!! You’re a GREAT mom!!

  70. Lori Rogers says

    As a mom of 2 boys, an 8 yr old & a 20 month old, what your son is doing is normal! My 8 yr old wore my shirts as dresses, walked in my heels, wanted me to play dress up with him at that age. My youngest is doing it now. He’s right now in fact! He’s wearing my shoes & brought me my body spray to be “petty boy”. The fact that you let your son explore himself is beautiful & I feel bad for that mans children that he won’t let them! You’re a good momma for trying to get your sons world back to normal. I hope it goes backto normal

  71. Corene says

    I will not tell you whether or not you should go to the police. I will simply tell you that your son is beautiful. Do what you can to keep him that way.

    My son is now five and he loves zombies and Tball and dragons and Ninjago….but he also love shiny baubles like his mommy and big sis. He wants to wear my bracelets and wants to buy jewelry whenever we are at the mall. We recently went to Mexico and he wanted to buy a purse. We settled for a wallet with a handle on it, but you get the idea.

    He is special and loving and cuddly and gives me kisses all the time and I would not change a thing.

    Your son has such a sweet smile and loves what he loves because it brings him joy and you and I know there is nothing in the world wrong with that.

  72. Matt Stevens says

    Your children are lucky to have a mom like you…the world would be a better place if there were more like you. Thank you :)

  73. Brian says

    You are a wonderful mother and role model for your son (children). No wonder he wants to be a superhero, with examples like yours he is getting a great head start. I think (hope) that the man in Wal Mart left that experience, realizing it is him, not your son that is less of a man. Real men (and all adults) set examples and when it comes to children, kindness and acceptance are the best examples to set. It seems that is just what you do.

    Take Care.

  74. Alexis says


    You do whatever you think is best for your son. Forget what anyone else tells you and go with your gut. That being said, I think you did the right thing by putting your story out here on the internet. I had a man once tell me that putting one of those big bow headbands on my daughter made her look like a moron; I was so pissed I started shaking, but I just looked at him and told him it was a choice that I thought made her look adorable. Your son made the choice to wear a pink headband; good for him! My daughter is one who likes worms, puddles, mud, and trucks; that is her choice. All kids need to experience different things, it helps us grow and evolve and understand our fellow humans. Obviously the man in WalMart was taught that men do not wear pink or headbands or anything else considered girly and that sucks for him and any child doomed to have him as a role model. And you are absolutely right, NO ONE has the right to touch my child without my permission, ESPECIALLY a stranger in a public place. Good for you and God bless you and your family and your awesome love you have for your children.

  75. says

    My son, also 2, loves wearing my stuff. So what?! People try to tell me I’m wrong for letting him wear my headbands or my skirts – with cars underwear and spider man shoes, mind you. I think it’s wonderful you give your son freedom to be himself. I’m pretty sure I’d have punched that man if he touched my son, so I commend you for the self restraint!

  76. Rain says

    I am in awe and admiration of how calm and composed you remained. I don’t have any kids but I have worked w kids most of my adult life and have a niece that is the apple of my eye and let me tell you if anybody tried touching her or the kiddies I work with in any way they’d hit the floor faster than they knew what hit them. But you reacted in a way that didn’t bring more attention to the actions of that boorish individual and thus prevented scaring your little boys more than what he already did and that in itself is something commendable. I am so so sorry this happened to you and your child and more sorry still that there were others who witnessed this disgusting display of stupidity and did nothing about it. Just the fact that your little man seems to be such a free spirit and is untethered by idiotic and outdated social mores speaks volumes about you as a mother. Keep being an awesome mom, and keep encouraging you little ones to embrace their true beautiful selves!hopefully someday soon our society will be on the side of love and acceptance instead of the side of ignorance.

  77. Jamie Peacock says

    I am so mad that people said you overreacted. In my opinion, you under reacted! I would still be in Walmart beating that guy’s ass! If I was a witness, I probably would’ve stepped in and said something. I’m appalled that no one did.
    I would’ve definitely flipped out. Acted ignorant, as some say. But I also understand your desire to shield your child from unnecessary drama. Sometimes you need to raise a little hell though. I wish you and your family all the best.

  78. says

    So sorry that this happened. Poor little boy, poor you. My son loved to wear a row of little flowery hair clips when he was that age, and I have been lucky enough to only ever meet people who thought it was adorable.
    I understand that you are concerned about reporting this man. I don’t know if I would be brave enough -after all it does concern your child.
    Do keep in mind that this man is a very nasty person, potentially dangerous. He could do the same or worse to another person, and reporting him may help a little in preventing that.
    Lots of love for you and your little ones.

  79. lordwarden1485 says

    That man is the same type of individual who would tie someone to a fence in freezing weather and leave him to die (Matthew Sheppard) or beat him senseless and throw him on a pile of old tires and then throw gasoline on him before striking a match (that happened a few years back in my corner of America).

    The only thing that type of individual understands is a pair of handcuffs. They will never, ever, change their point of view, but if it were not for handcuffs, fines, and jail sentences we’d still have that same type of individual lynching black people and raping women with impunity.

  80. says

    I’m skeptical. Not a troll. Just don’t believe it. When I saw the title, first thing I assumed was that the parent was a blogger. This reads like a made up story for blog traffic to me. Also, it seems like bloggers get loads of attention for putting their boys in girls clothes and daring anyone to not applaud it. Boys in pink and Walmart-hating–hot topics. You don’t go to Walmart security to seek justice for your child, but you manage to vent on Facebook and your blog. Mmmkay. I’ll believe it when Walmart security cameras show the event and she presses charges. I don’t buy it. Not hating, not trolling, just my opinion. Congrats on the traffic though.

    • Stephen says

      It’s a good job your approval means nothing to her or any of us. What a horrible life it must be to assume lies with no reason for it. I knew somebody like that once and they were the most miserable and hateful person I’ve ever met. Must suck to be you.

  81. Suzie says

    Sweetie, do what you think is right. NO ONE should ever touch your child period. It is horrific that this guy did this. The words he uttered also are ugly and full of frightened hate for that which he cannot understand and so then scares him. Your momma bear did EVERYTHING right so, if you want to let it go, you should. But if you want to raise he** about it, you should do that also. The fact that you can focus on what might have been a good thing in the creep’s heart amazes me. The fact that no one at WM responded shocked me – not the customer’s but the store employees sure should have – you could actually sue WM for doing nothing to stop the guy after he touched your son. Customers were probably in shock – me, I don’t know – I’d like to think I would have at least shouted REALLY at him…. but I would have been in shock at that behavior. Anyway, peace to you – always let your kids be who they are and kudos for your courage to write about it!

  82. Emily says

    You are a stronger woman then I; if any one had touched my child in such a manner – jokingly or not…. I would currently be in jail for assault myself.

    I would truly suggest reporting this matter to the police because what happens if this man does it again? What if he hurts a child/teenager or mom / Dad and it could have been prevented by a simple report to the authorities?

    He threatened death upon your child. I respect your wish for this to be over but those are the facts. He wished death upon a 2 year old boy… What happens if he sees a teenager who is gay or older adult and actually assaults them for being themselves? This kind of act can not be acceptable; and by not reporting it YOU ARE ACCEPTING it as okay or commonplace.

  83. Pearl says

    My son Maynard is 4 and autistic. He loves pink as well. He has a pink hello kitty bed set and a pink headband and a hello kitty backpack. All of which he brags about and wears with pride. I figure he will grow out if it or into it…either way I’m ok with it.

  84. Em says

    There is a problem in your use of the word “cuffed”. I Googled it and this is what pops up first. These are the two meanings most people probably think of when it’s used. Certainly I assumed you meant the second one until reading your update.

    1. Secure with handcuffs.
    2. Strike (someone) with an open hand, esp. on the head.

    While his actions were inappropriate, the use of that word makes people assume he hit your child.

  85. Noel says

    Thank you not only for standing up to protect your son, but standing up for the rest of us. You truly are what the definition of a mother is. Whether you press charges or not your teaching everyone a good lesson in life.

  86. Eric says

    My gut reaction was that you should have nut-kicked the guy and pulled an ear off. However, I am also wary of the fact that as a society, we have become so isolated from one another that something like this has become a near-crime (if not an actual one) when in the past it would have been seen as merely being sociable. It seems as though that was the mindset of the offender. So, although on the surface some serious reaction feels appropriate, I support your decision to let it be; ultimately, the kid will be better off if exposed to more sorts of people than if he’s isolated and spoon-fed ‘social acceptability’ without any context.

    I’d still have nutkicked the guy.

  87. says

    Trust your instincts.

    First, let’s look at what your son saw: A strange man came up to him, took his headband, bopped him on the head and laughed. Annoying and hurtful. But then his mom stepped up, scolded the man and made him go away. Yay mom! Ya done good. A lot of parents would have stood there silently and done nothing, but you stood up for your boy against a big scary guy, and Dexter saw it and he knows you have his back.

    You could go to the store and get the CCTV recording and try to find the guy and press charges, but will Dexter understand any of that? Will it matter to him or change anything? He probably doesn’t understand more of the legal system than “the cops catch the bad guys.” If you follow up, that’s for you, not him. He already learned what he needed to. If you want to go after the guy because he deserves it and you are willing to put in the time and energy, go for it. It’s up to you to decide whether this particular windmill is worth tilting at. Me, I’m a “take no prisoners, sow their fields with salt” kind of guy, so I might go after him, but we both know it won’t have any effect on the troglodyte; even if he went to jail for it, he’d still think he did nothing wrong and that you’re just a vindictive b-word.

    We can’t change the bullies and thugs of the world, but we can teach our kids to stand up to them, and you already did that.

  88. Brad Willis says


    This gay guy thinks you rock motherhood just as awesomely as Dexter rocked that pink headband!

    To be perfectly honest, I would have loved to have read a follow-up informing us that you went back to the store, reported the guy and that, thanks to their security cameras, he was apprehended and ordered by the court to undergo counseling. However, I *completely * understand your decision to get the hell outta there as soon as possible. In the long run, I feel quite certain that minimized the psychological trauma for Dexter. I do hope you gave him loads of props for standing up for himself by giving the drunk homophobe his hand and yelling NO!He sounds like a brave little boy to me!

    Again…and I can’t say this loudly enough…you rock!!! (You are also an excellent writer.)


  89. Karen says

    I understand why you haven’t taken action however, irrespective what the mans complaint was about how you son was dressed, or his views on what your son’s sexual orientation will be when he grows up, that man assaulted your son.
    Your son was physically assaulted in a supermarket. The supermarket should be taking action. The Police should be taking action. Just so this man understands that touching a child in a rough way, hitting them and threatening them is never acceptable.
    Personally I would have screamed blue murder and attracted some much attention it would have embarrassed the supermarket to not deal with it. I am a bit of a nightmare like that!
    BUT, it is your choice.

  90. Edward says

    I completely sympathise with your situation. Everything that you described is completely unacceptable and offensive. I support you entirely and hope that Dexter was not and will not continue to be traumatised by this idiot.

    I must ask, however – why on Earth are you shopping at WalMart? Are you so broke that you can’t afford anywhere else, maybe somewhere that treats its employees better than third world slaves (while sourcing much of its stock from third world slaves)? That has a spotty (at best) record in regard to GLBT issues?

  91. Nate says

    You sound like a wonderful mother. I’ll keep it short, as you’ve got thousands of other messages to read. I wish nothing but the best for you and your lovely children.

  92. says

    I know you are busy with all this craziness so let me just offer SUPPORT. About 30 years ago I had to stand between my two-year old and a RELATIVE. Let’s just say there was no getting past me. If I had been in your situation, I probably could not have acted quickly enough to prevent it. You did the best thing you could do–you controlled the trauma it could have caused for your children. GOOD JOB. I am proud of you. None of us with loving hearts is ever prepared for the hate that it oust there. Keep loving your children and doing what you think is right.

  93. Patty says

    I came across your story through another blog I follow on Facebook. I know a bunch of people have already offered support but I wanted to give a little more. This story hits home because I also have a two year old son and now a 10 month old girl. My boy’s favorite color is pink and he loves anything pretty and sparkly. It’s easy for all of us to say what we would do if we were in that situation but the fact is, you do what you have to do to survive the moment and protect your babes. Good for you for standing your ground, letting your boy be who ever he wants to be, and being awesome mom. I keep telling my husband- let our boy be and like whatever he wants- he’s two…soon enough he’ll be aware of gender and feel the need to conform to society.

  94. Abe Linkun says

    So sorry to hear about this terrible episode.

    But I do wish, that for the sake of the next Dexter, or Darrel or Daniel, or whoever the next victim of this homophobe will be, call the police and have them file an assault charge. To show that what he did is wrong and to point out to others that it’s wrong.

    Stand up to the bullies.

    Say “Hi.” to Dexter for me and good luck in the future.

  95. J.D. says

    Thanks for being a courageous, loving mother. Thanks for sharing your experience; it will help make the world a better place for all our children.

  96. Sammy says

    You did a wonderful job, momma! You are much stronger than I could have been! Way to keep your cool! Forget the trolls and other people with their judgey-pants hiked too far up their rears.

  97. matthew queree says

    i shared this on facebook, with the tag-line “holy crap…not cool!”I can’t believe you showed any restraint at all, but i get just wanting to get out of the situation…please re-consider pressing charges…the support that this man needs may be some sorely needed education, or alcohol counselling, and maybe the only way he gets it is through being charged…nothing extra is going to come dexter’s way, but it might stop him or somebody else from going through something truly shitty…best…

  98. Nicole says

    When my daughter was a year and a half, we visited Washington, DC. It was less than two years post 9/11 and the security at the capitol building was extreme. We were essentially locked into spaces while we listened to the guide. Upon entering a room loosely known as the “room of echoes,” our young daughter found her voice- what else would a toddler do besides make “ah” noises to hear herself. Since I was not allowed to leave the room, I simply took her and her toys to the other side of the room and did my best to distract her. At the end of that part of the tour, a man from another country came over with his hand raised, ready to hit my child. I saw him coming, and moved in front of my daughter, taking the smack instead. He yelled at me “this is not about her! You control your child or I will!” My husband couldn’t get to us very quickly, but two other men moved him away from me and firmly told him to step away from us. I had numerous people asking if we were okay and sympathetic looks. My husband found us then and we exited the room, me quite shaken.

    Only one of us was allowed to go with the stroller in the elevator with an escort, so we split up again. The lovely matronly woman asked me what was wrong and I became a puddle as I told her what happened. She asked me if I wanted to point out of the man and press charges. I told her that I did not and I just wanted to leave. We got to the next room and the gentlemen that helped me also asked me and my husband if they wanted us to fetch the police to press charges. Again I said I did not want to and just wanted to go. Thankfully, it was the last room of the tour and we left.

    To this day, almost exactly 10 years later, I do not regret my decision to not press charges. I defended my child and, luckily, I had others defend her and me, too. It was hard to stop constantly thinking about it, but I know I did the right thing. My situation was also based on parenting differences based on culture and I chose to look at it as ignorance. You do what feels right in your gut and that will be the right decision. That day is still very fresh in my mind, but the decision has always been the right decision for my family.

    Many blessings to you as you figure everything out. I hope hearing about a similar situation involving ignorance and children helps to know you are not alone in these situations.

  99. Michelle says

    I am truly sorry you and Dexter went thought this. Breaks my heart. I have an incredibly strong protective side, when it come to children, animals and Women.

    If I were there I would have helped you. Sending you my support and encouragement to continue to be the great Mother you are.

    Best Regards

  100. Stephen says

    If I were you I would file a report with the local police station for assault and battery. Then report the incident to WalMart, give them a copy of the police report, and tell them that you expect that they will preserve the video surveillance footage of the incident for identification purposes and future prosecution. I would also ask that WalMart provide you with the names of the employees seen in the video as witnesses to the crime. That’s what I would do.

  101. Talatiana says

    All I can say is it is your choice wether to push charges(or attempt to) against the man who dared to lay a hand on your son. To me it doesn’t really matter if he hurt him or not, he had no right in touching him, and even your son knew that the man touching him was wrong by his reaction and telling him no.

    As for the headband, I thought he looked adorable, and obviously alot of other people didn’t have a problem with him wearing it. Sometimes taking a page from our children’s life book(though it is often short) is our best option. He knows his parents love him, and he has the support of his family, and thats all he needs. The rest of the world can either accept him, or not, but with that kind of support, he WILL make the world see him for who he is, and accept him. Atleast in the areas that matter ;-)

  102. Sheryl Khong says

    I think Dexter is adorable and that he has the right to express himself – pink headband or spiderman suit…he is only 2! He is just a kid drawn to beautiful bright, happy colors! I’m glad he pick a headband and not a gun….Dexter will be a fine young man.

  103. The Truth Fairy says

    You **NEED** to press charges against that friggin’ psycho! I can absolutely 100% guarantee that he is an abusive bully to other people in his life, and every time he gets away with it, he gains more power and chooses to have less self-control for the next time. I understand that you’re still upset, but think about the other children this man *WILL* abuse. You have the chance, and the RESPONSIBILITY, to stop it by bringing him to justice now.

  104. Rebekah says

    If this story is true them I do not understand why you would not report this to the police yet you post it on the internet and them talk about all the hits you are getting.

  105. Chris says

    I can totally understand your hesitancy to report the guy. Your case is a bit of a quagmire. Legally speaking, assault is the act of intentionally causing bodily injury to another person. Although it’s understandable that you’re pissed, it would be really hard to prove that he was trying to intentionally harm Dexter (or even that he physically harmed him at all). Most likely if you filed a report, nothing would be done afterwards since the cops would know from the start that they’d be dealing with a case that was impossible to really prove (and they tend to prioritize their case load based on chances of successful prosecution). Like I said though, I can totally understand your anger. I’d be pissed to if someone touched my kid. Even though I wish the guy would suffer for being such a rude asshole, I know being a rule asshole alone isn’t a crime, so I guess I’m just saying that I think you did do the right thing… “fight the fights that you can win” as they say.

  106. DRichards says

    Sorry to hear about your experience and your son’s experience. This kind of thing should not have happened and I applaud your response to this awful man. You have every right to lodge a complaint against this idiot and and you may find that there may be other women and children who have been assaulted or harrassed by this jerk in the vicinity. Also you should tell the manager of Walmert that you expect a salesclerk to call the manager next time and also notify the police. Employees should not be allowed to just stand by and watch this sort of thing happen and do nothing. No one has a right to speak or act that way and use your child to express his predjudice and anger. I wish you and your children the best.
    Dianne R.

  107. Deb says

    I am sorry this happened to you. While it’s not your fault, and you should never have to worry about some stranger mistreating your child, I think it would be safer for your and your family if you never shopped at Wal-mart again. They’re a terrible company and they attract terrible people to their terrible stores. Obviously many of us have no choice, as the economy continues to tank. But companies like Wal-mart are directly responsible for a lot of that economic trouble, so if at all possible we must all do our best to boycott them and others like them. If you want a good place to shop I strongly recommend Costco!

  108. Amy says

    You have to do what is best for your child. If you report this, the media will grab hold and you may end up with a news team in your front yard and strangers with camera equipment yelling at your son for a response. This would be worst than the initial event, which he’ll probably forget any way.

    What I believe is the worst part of this whole situation is that nobody offered you support. Shame on the bystanders for that.

  109. Mitch says

    Your son will be fine because you’re a great mom, but I’m afraid that the person who needs to be taught something in this incident is the guy from Walmart. Our society is messed up enough and it’s only going to keep going that direction if people think it’s ok to do something like that. I could see letting it slide if he hadn’t made the additional comment about your son being shot or called him the name. After all of this attention, you may be visited by the police anyway. When a child is involved, I don’t think it’s up to the parents whether or not they decide if charges will be filed or an investigation undertaken.
    Others not doing something, not helping, is the new normal in our society. It’s just safer that way. Nobody in the US is willing to potentially take a bullet for a stranger in an incident like this and that is a realistic consideration in our country.
    I think you owe it to your community and (“community” being the US if the guy doesn’t live in your area) and family to teach this guy a lesson.

  110. Raychel Sampson says


    Thank you so very much for being the kind, generous, loving parent that you obviously are. And thank you for being open minded enough to allow your children to grow up to be who they are. I wish I could have had that sort of freedom growing up, but it was a different time. I wanted to give you the link to a really great children’s book that I think you and your son might like (no I didn’t write it, nor do I get anything for suggesting it):
    I’m not saying your son is a princess boy, because I don’t personally know you or your children but from the things you said it sounds like he might be.

  111. Deb Tolle says

    That man was not trying to be helpful in any way. He was acting out of pure hatred and ignorance just like all the trolls that have been attacking your blog. You are in the right 100%.

  112. Chris says

    I respect your right to make a decision, but what this man did was assault and battery on a minor. He should be prosecuted. It would likely be easy to do so with the CCTV footage and cash register records. A stranger hit your child. If he isn’t punished he will do it again to someone else.

  113. says

    I just read your story on the Daily Mail. I have to say that if it’d been me, I would have probably decked the man. I have a 13 year old boy and a 32 months old toddler and I can’t begin to imagine how you felt. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there who think it’s okay to comment, or teach other people’s children a lesson. Thankfully, Dexter might not remember this incident. I just hope that it never happens again. Strangers shouldn’t feel entitled to tell parents how they should raise their kids. I hope Dexter continues to be creative, and take full advantage of his imagination, regardless of the world that surrounds him, and teaches his little sibling how to be as expressive as he seems to be in the pictures posted on this blog.

  114. Avery says

    If you won’t contact the Wal-Mart or the authorities over this incident, we will. What this man did was unacceptable.

  115. Kay says

    Do what you think is best legally and concentrate on getting yourself and your family back on an even keel.
    I must say, that you shouldn’t be having to make this decision in the first place. If I saw a man behaving in such a threatening way towards a woman, and one with 2 small children in her charge, I would have called the police on the spot and it’s shameful that no one did so.
    This sort of bullying behaviour is permitted far too often by society at large and that’s why it continues.
    Try and put it behind you and accept my sincerest sympathies.
    (your little fellow’s adorable, btw)

  116. PurpleE says

    While I think that what happned to your son is absolutely appalling, and had I been there I would have said something in your defense because that’s how I roll, I would like you to consider how you referenced the two older women who thought your son was cute. Really, “two old birds”, is pretty derogatory in itself. Not that it was worse than what happned to your little boy. That man should have been called out on his behavior. But calling older women “old birds” isn’t very flattering either.

  117. daisy says

    If someone threatened my childs life directly or no they’d have a mess of trouble. You’re not calling any less attention to your son than you already have by posting his name and photos all over the internet.

  118. daisy says

    If someone threatened my childs life directly or no they’d have a mess of trouble. You’re not calling any less attention to your son than you already have by posting his name and photos all over the internet.
    Turn him in.

  119. says

    I think your strength in choosing to get your precious boys out of there was commendable. You acted in the moment and did the best thing you could for them.

    However, a stranger touched your son. It doesn’t matter if he hurt him, tickled him or gave him a piece of candy. Without Mom’s permission, these are ALL illegal actions. No person has a right to touch another person’s child, regardless of the situation.

    I know you just want this to be over, but perhaps by demonstrating to this man that touching someone else’s child without asking permission first is a criminal act, you could accomplish something important.

    We spend so much time teaching our children about “stranger danger”that I believe by pursuing the case, you could move others to talk to their kids about it and let the Neanderthal know that what he did was completely unacceptable, both from a moral and legal point of view.

    For the record, I wish I had been there! I would have stood with you and I think that when folks see one person do it, they think it’s okay for others. Dexter and Dash are very lucky to have you as their mother. Be well. :o)

  120. John Rogers says

    I would re-consider reporting this incident and pressing charges in that people like this need to be held accountable for their actions, and publicly, so that it doesn’t happen again to some other mother and child where the result is more violent and detrimental. You certainly have the support Katie. I think that we have a responsibility to watch out for one another and when something wrong like this occurs, a responsibility to the community to act for the sake and safety of everyone. Be as the strong woman that we all know that you are; file the report.



  121. Fanny says

    I’m so sorry this happened to you. I would have torn his face off.

    That said; you need to protect yourself and your babies. Report this guy and any threats that come your way. I agree with Stephen, report it to the police and hold witnesses within the WalMart staff accountable for not stepping in.

    I nearly punched a guy who cut in front of me in line at the grocery store when my daughter was crying on my hip. The woman behind the register told him to step to the back of the line and apologize to me. Granted, it was nothing compared to what you went through but it made all the difference knowing that someone who witnessed it was on my side. It must have been so hard not having someone there to defend you while you defended your son.

    Wishing you a calm mind and a strong heart through this time of strife.

  122. Don Marchand says

    I am an 80-year-old grandfather and I appreciate your concern for you son. I’m certain you are a great mother – and certainly were flummoxed at the outrageous behavior.

    I am not a great fan of Walmart, but they have very little to do with who their customers are.

    Unfortunately you ran into the 1% of the population who are true bigoted idiots.

    You will have to pass it off as an unfortunate circumstance – and just another learning experience.

    Keep smiling!

  123. Billy Vick says

    First of all, the act of touching someone is ASSAULT. If harm was implied or fear of harm was felt by the individuak, that is BATTERY. Second, if you allow this man to get away with no punishment or at the very least a warning, what might he do the NEXT TIME he is a bit DRUNK to a child or someone else? What might he have done that night after leaving driving drunk? So you need to think of othet things besides just your situation. PLEASE DO!

  124. really. says

    Ok, sorry, but if this story is true, then you should be doing something about it. Let’s see the footage from wal-mart. Wether or not you press charges, now that you’ve opened this can of worms you need to follow through. I for one suspect you made this up, and were unprepared for this kind of attention, and now you’re backpedaling. Does your blog not have long entries about your own admission to being a pathological liar and story embellisher? Prove me wrong please, accept one of these TV interviews, go to the wal-mart and retrieve the footage. You don’t need to press charges. Do it to bring light to the issue and expose this ‘redneck freak’

  125. says

    (I wrote this yesterday but it didn’t go through…trying again :-)

    Mama, all the love in the world. Ignore the trolls.

    I came across your story today, and it was such odd timing because something happened at Costco yesterday with a stranger coming up to me to make a comment about my daughter. It got me angry enough to write a blog post about it last night.

    Then today, I come across your story on HuffPost. What happened to me yesterday is NOWHERE NEAR what you went through, but I just wanted to take the time to say thank you for sharing your story.

    It’s so important to protect our kids’ personal boundaries and to talk to them about boundaries. That’s all you can do. You can’t control the trolls. You’ve done your job, mama.

  126. William says

    I think you a stronger person for thinking rationally and having a level head about the whole thing. Probably more rational than I would have been.

    Kudos for not getting into a legal battle that might have caused more trauma and tears than it was ultimately worth.

    Allow me to make clear, I don’t think what the man did was right in any way, but in terms of picking your battles, I think you did the right thing.

    Much Respect,


  127. says

    As the mom of two pink-loving boys, I am deeply disturbed by what happened to you and your son, but I am also grateful that you shared this experience and gotten such a huge response! I keep a mommy blog about our adventures with gender at My guys are older (7 and 10). While our oldest is dealing with gender and sexuality issues, my younger son is just simply a boy boy who loves princesses. I do believe the US is growing more tolerant, but clearly we still have a long way to go.

  128. says

    Sooo very sorry that you and your boys had to go through this ordeal. I understand about not wanting to press charges – I don’t think I would want to put my children threw the extra drama or ordeal either. If he was not scared, harmed or alarmed enough to constantly talk about it afterwards – why would I want to make him talk about it or remember it later? You are a good person and I pray that God will bless you and your family and that your boys grow up to be happy, healthy productive individuals.

  129. Kat says

    Ray: I do not believe any part of the way that man spoke to this poor child is “Free Speech”. The man’s words were actually slanderous in intent. This is not covered under the First Amendment!
    Even though I, and many others believe homosexuality is just as natural as eye color, to put any sexual intent onto a 2 yr old child is despicable, and his meaning and implication was clearly insulting.

  130. Kapuchu says

    On the matter of the trolls, I will suggest that you just ignore them. They are people that want nothing more than to get a reaction from either you or somebody else.

    On a slightly different note: I wish you luck with your boys and hope that neither of the three of you will ever be put into a similar situation.

    – Kapuchu (It’s a nickname ;))

  131. Sarah says

    There are homophobes reading all about this story. Violent, hateful homophobes, the kind of dangerous people who would assault a child. They’re very, VERY interested in what happened to you. The part that interests them most is that you have made no effort to identify or press charges against the attacker; in fact, you are making excuses for him.
    This is a very good way to let dangerous hateful people know that they can *hit and threaten a child in public* and get away with it.
    Please, don’t tell them that you’re okay with that.

  132. Anthony says

    As a parent of two it’s easy for me to say if this happened to my little boy I’d call the cops AFTER beating this guys ass to a pulp. But if faced with the same situation I’d do the exact same thing. I’d just want to get out of the store and go home and have a good cry and then try to explain to my 3 year old why it shouldn’t have happened. You did what you thought was best and no one, regardless of helpful they may seem, should make you feel otherwise. You’re a god mom. Keep it up.

    (PS: Until the hate dies down you might think about removing your email address from the bottom of the page. It’s bad enough to have to read the negativity on your blog but having it come straight to your inbox I think would be worse.)

  133. MKK says

    What an awful experience. I am sorry you and your son had to go through that. It is a shame that there are still people who are so bigoted.

  134. says

    I read about this yesterday and I’m still fuming – would love to get my hands on the redneck who accosted this little boy. If this DOESN’T make you very angry, there is something VERY wrong with your thinking!

    Also: where did this happen? I’m very curious to know the locale.

    • mark says

      Of course it makes us angry. If I had been there with Katie when it happened then things would have turned out differently. When she came home crying I wanted to jump in my car and rush back to Walmart and confront the guy. I would of if Katie had not told me that he left right after he said those hateful things.

  135. says

    I just wanted to send you a quick *hug* and let you know that you are a good mom. You are parenting in a way that is true to yourself and your family. Your heart is not full of judgement, unlike some people out there. It is full of love and complete adoration for your boys (your son is GORGEOUS, btw). Stay strong, and take it one day at a time. Remember, your son won’t remember the incident, even though you will. Keep doing what you’re doing, and raising those boys the right way for your family!

  136. Danielle says

    Let me start off by saying that if this story is true, what happened to your son is horrible. I will say that I do question this story. Not because I’m naïve and think that such hate and intolerance doesn’t exist in this world – I certainly do. I’m a liberal, and strong support gay rights…so I’m not some conservative hateful troll. Just reading your story, I thought the wording and your descriptions were very odd for someone that was violated. In the video, when you are talking about the incident, you are laughing and smirking…very odd behavior. What also makes me doubt the accuracy of this story is that I’ve been on your blog before and some of things you write are so over the top. On the 102 Things list – you talk about various kidnap attempts, plane crashes, and other bizarre things…and many of them. I consider myself a very “unlucky” person also, and even I have a hard time believing ALL of these stories…I mean how many times in ones life can someone try to kidnap you??? Its just way too much to be believable. Also, on your blog from November 2011, you admit to being a pathological liar. So that, combined with ALL the many many other bizarre stories, really makes me question that this is true. As a mental health professional, if this story is indeed not true – Katie I’m begging you to seek help. Pathological lying is a very deep rooted mental health issue that requires treatment. I’ve seen it destroy peoples lives and rip families apart. If this story is indeed untrue than I’m particularly bothered by it more than the other “kidnapping stories, plane crash stories”, etc. The reason is now you are using your son as a pawn in your desperate need to draw attention to yourself. With many pathological liars, they often realize they need help, but feel that they are “too far in” to turn back – in otherwords they’ve told too many lies to too many people. I can understand that admitting to your family and friends that you have a problem would feel embarrassing, but trust me – they most likely already know but just keep their mouth shut and roll their eyes (and probably talk about you behind your back). Do you really want to live like this? Do you really want people perceiving you in such a manner? Although it will probably be one of the hardest things you ever do – you need to own up to this illness. Most people are willing to forgive if you are honest and seek treatment. Pathological lying is a compulsion/addiction such like drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling can be. There is nothing to be ashamed of if you are honest with people and seek treatment. Pathological lying often requires years of therapy to correct – especially since you said in your blog that you’ve been doing this since you were a child (the blog that I see you have erased). I hope you know that my comments are given with only the most sincere intent. I analyze people for a living and I’m pretty good at it, so I think my thoughts are most likely correct. I will add that with the off chance that THIS story is true, than please accept my deepest apologies. Good luck.

  137. says

    I completely understand your decision, but at the same time I’m a bit riled up and upset that nothing is being done about this. Even if he didn’t actually hurt your son, there is still a wild ape who has escaped from the zoo and is running loose amongst decent people. But having been a shy child myself, I can understand that this could be more hassle than it is worth. We can always hope karma catches up to this guy swiftly :)

  138. Jeanne Peterson says

    As the mom of a transgendered child, I salute you! I know how much it can ruffle people’s feathers when a child (esp. A boy) steps outside gender expectations even in the tiniest way! I salute you for letting your child wear what he wanted. And no matter what anyone says in response to what you did throughout the entire thing, you done good. All we can ever do as parents is to do what our hearts tell us to do. No more, no less.

  139. Suz says

    What was done to you has a name. It is called sexual harassment. Please report the incident to the store and them the police. You response at the store and the pain and fury that you felt then is what the definition of sexual harassment. Ditto for your son.
    Good luck

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