This is my son Cian. He LOOOOOOVES to wear dresses.
My name is Crystal Kells and I run Kells' Natural Photography. I've decided to write a personal post as I strongly feel something needs to be addressed.
I have personally been a victim of bullying all of my life. As a child I simply ignored it, went on with my life and as I grew into an adult, I discovered that bullies are nothing but miserable, pathetic people who feel terrible about themselves on one level or another.
Now, along comes the internet and Facebook and the development of "keyboard warriors" who think *they can say and do as *they please because *they are able to hide behind their computers without having to deal with the ramifications of their actions if they were to present them in person. Enter Cyber Bullying.
Once I became a mother, I REFUSED to be silent ever again.
Because I need to be an example for my son.
I want my son to grow up knowing he has a voice.
Grow up knowing he can do and be ANYTHING he wants to be in this world.
Grow up having the confidence to express himself.
Grow up being able to LOVE himself.
This is my son Cian and he loves to wear dresses.
Cian also loves to wear a cape and play Superhero. He loves Ironman, Paw Patrol, playing cars and cutting his hair short to look like other men he sees.
My son is a boy.
He knows he's a boy.
Girls have a vagina and boys have a penis.
He has a penis, he is a boy.
Plain and simple folks.
He doesn't use his penis be be able to wear a dress, nor does he use his penis to operate the dolls and cars he plays with.
His gender does not dictate what he should wear or what he should play with because he does not use his gender to operate or use it.
My husband and I are raising him without gender stereotypes.
He doesn't understand the concept of "This is for girls and This is for boys"
We've never taught it to him and we never will.
Why should we?
What difference does it make?
For Easter, Cian saw a beautiful yellow dress in a store. He ran in and begged if he could have it and wear it for pictures.
This was the result:
Having been proud of my son, and myself for the lovely image, I posted it in a Photographer group for members who use actions in Photoshop created by Greater Than Gatsby (https://www.greaterthangatsby.com/). It was a group where we could share images and the recipes of actions we used on the image for other members to see.
I got some glowing comments about, not only my son, but my work with the actions and editing I did.
I also got some rude and disgusting comments as well.
The worst came from a woman named Amber.
Unfortunately she was over come with her ignorance, close-mindedness, and homophobia when she had seen that someone in support of the LGBT community commented on my post.
I liked the comment.
The comment was not calling my child gay or transgender, just merely supported the type of change my photo evokes, as it relates to the similar change the LGBT community evokes as well.
I then received THIS message:
She feels sorry for my son, thinks I'm a piece of shit mother and should have my son taken away from me because I let my son wear a dress and because someone in support of the LGBT community liked my photo.
I don't care if you agree with what I'm encouraging my son to do with expressing himself. I'm aware that it's unconventional. I don't expect you to agree.
What I DO expect is respect.
What I DO expect is not to be treated like I'm abusing my son.
What I DO expect is for people to see that my son is HAPPY and realize that that is all that matters at the end of the day.
My post on the Greater Than Gatsby Facebook group was removed as well.
Once I got this message from Amber, I sent a message to the admin and creator of the group and actions Joshua, requesting some help and assistance to her behaviour. I was met with silence.
I waited till late the next day and posted in the group asking for a response or for another admin to assist me in regards to being bullied.
I was removed and blocked from the group.
I was removed and punished because I had a call to action against bullying and demanded that someone at least address the issue.
I reached out yet AGAIN to Joshua asking why I was removed. I was met again with silence even though he had seen my messages.
Silence that I REFUSE to support.
I REFUSE to be silenced by bullying!!
As a business owner, I understand that the things I say and do are a reflection of my business. My business is a reflection of me.
Given Amber's behaviour and her lack of decency and humanity, I took to her business page to let her clients and potential clients be aware of her behaviour.
I posted a review on her business page with a screen shot of the message she sent me as well as an explanation as to why I was posting the poor review.
My friend and fellow photographer Oana Adriana Thompson explained it perfectly:
Amber proceeded to comment on my review and others reviews who supported me and played the victim card. She tried to say that what we were doing was wrong, slanderous, and SHE was the one being bullied.
No, you are not being bullied. You are dealing with the consequences of attacking someone with your ignorant and bigotry comments and behaviour.
No, you are not being slandered. Slandering implies something said that is false. No one has said or done anything that is false.
There is photographic proof of what you have done.
I will NOT let you play the victim.
I will NOT be silent about what you did, what Joshua did and what others continue to do everyday in this world.