No matter how progressive we get, bullying will never go away. Many people's insecurities will lead them to disparage those who are just a little different. A nine-year-old known only as “Little Cuz” was on the receiving end of such bullying one day for wearing lipstick. Thankfully, however, some of his family wasn’t willing to let a bully dictate how he acts, so they rallied behind him in the most supportive way.
When Diksha Bijlani’s cousin was bullied for wearing lipstick, the family wanted to show him that it was okay to express himself in whatever harmless way he felt necessary. So they joined him.
My cousin, 9, is the most “effeminate” in the house. Let’s call him Little Cuz. Loves to paint nails, wear lipcolour, learn home science! But in this stereotypical alpha male-centric household he’s often the pivot of jokes. Today he applied lipcolour & got called a “chakka” (1/n) pic.twitter.com/mZ2FplPNyP— Diksha Bijlani (@BijlaniDiksha) June 18, 2018
So he hid behind the curtain & under the bed, shielding his lipcoloured face from the camera & from his mom. Somehow it is always the moms that feel most “embarassed” with their masculine, hardy sons trying makeup. Or anything feminine. (2/n)— Diksha Bijlani (@BijlaniDiksha) June 18, 2018
In such a house it takes constant work as elder cousins to undo the conditioned gender binary,normalise gender neutral acts which are deemed feminine. So we all wore lip color to make him comfortable & accepted. He felt a specially empowered when he saw my brother wearing it(3/n) pic.twitter.com/aixXrfMpbw— Diksha Bijlani (@BijlaniDiksha) June 18, 2018
My brother gave up any toxic masculinity & complied to influence Little Cuz. Little Cuz came out & smiled comfortable in his skin.— Diksha Bijlani (@BijlaniDiksha) June 18, 2018
So important to realise that we owe the responsibility of giving every younger kid a safe space to embrace his place within the gender spectrum(4/n) pic.twitter.com/d9ffsJbsTa
So important to tell little kids gender is a spectrum, a repertoire of places they can visit w/o losing their identity. I hope all of us tell kids we know that they are valid, they are accepted, & they are beautiful today. I hope we don’t become the bullies we warn them of. (5/5)— Diksha Bijlani (@BijlaniDiksha) June 18, 2018
Diksha described Little Cuz as “effeminate” and said he “loves to paint nails, wear lipcolour, and learn home science,” which has made him the butt of many jokes. After he wore lipstick, somebody in the family called him a “chakka,” a word often used as an insult toward trans people.
Though two of Little Cuz’s cousins were female, one of his avid supporters was Diksha’s brother, a bearded, bushy-eyebrowed figure of masculinity. He, too, was proud to don lipstick to support the child who simply wanted to express himself.
Even with his cousins' support, however, he still faced some backlash from the rest of his family. His uncle, as Diksha explained, called him a girl for wanting to ride his sister’s pink bicycle.
Update: Today, Little Cuz picked up his sister’s pink bicycle. Uncle ridiculed him for riding on a pink bicycle like a girl (bec that’s how petty my fam is). He retorts & says “Gender real nai hota. Kal mene aur bhaiya dono ne red lipstick lagaya tha didi ke saath. Aap puchlo” 😊— Diksha Bijlani (@BijlaniDiksha) June 19, 2018
Little Cuz doesn’t stand alone and Twitter users have come forward to show their support, some verbally, others with memes and GIFs, and some with a picture of their own more “effeminate” traits.
Damn girrl! I was just randomly following u but u r something else entirely, consider me a fan now. Amidst all the glory of celebration u hv an insight that reaches out 2 those who r not so fortunate when it comes to their family. Very well done 👍— The Girl That Wasn't (@GirlWasn) June 18, 2018
PS we need u in public services
The world needs more sisters like you. Thank you for this. Hugs, if I may.— Vivek Tejuja (@vivekisms) June 19, 2018
Tell him he looks super cute and I just love the lip colour. Wish i could carry it off as well as he did.— Priyashmita Guha (@priyashmita) June 18, 2018
And a big hug for him. Tell him he is the most courageous kid I have seen. It takes courage to be different and do what you want. He is doing it