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Children identifying as non binary can lead to tricky situations

(128 Posts)
didigram Wed 18-May-22 17:53:33

My youngest daughter is getting married this summer and has asked all her sisters, sisters in law and nieces and nephews to be in her wedding party. All is fine EXCEPT that one niece who is 13 years old seems to be identifying as non binary and is, according to her mother, too uncomfortable and anxious to wear a bridesmaids dress. The bride wants all the girls to be in bridesmaids dresses (they are very tasteful). Although I can understand both viewpoints, I ultimately feel that a child shouldn't be dictating what she wears if she wants to be part off the bridal party. Similar to if she was on a dance team or a gymnastics team, she wouldn't be able to wear her own costume if she didn't like the team costume. I also think it's good for children to learn that sometimes they need to dress up for an event. Any ideas how this problem might be solved? It would be terrible to cause any family rifts over this and quite frankly, I sometimes get a little tired of everyone having to be so woke.

Galaxy Wed 18-May-22 20:45:32

Cant she just wear similar but not a dress. I am a bit mortified that I didnt think to offer my closest friend an option for my wedding when she was bridesmaid. I have never seen her in a dress/skirt at any other time and I have known her for 30 years.

didigram Wed 18-May-22 20:47:50

Casdon, both my daughters have been asking me my opinion, so they have actually been involving me already. The two of them will ultimately work it out but I am just hoping to get some ideas in the hopes that everyone's feelings might be able to be respected and that there are no hard feelings between sisters over this. Thank you everyone for your input - lots of good ideas to consider.

MawtheMerrier Wed 18-May-22 21:06:04


How times change. At 13y and at school I wouldn’t even know what non-binary was.

Maybe not urmstongran but I think we all knew girls who were tomboys, who refused to wear girly clothes and only wore a school uniform skirt because it was compulsory.
What about Enid Blyton’s “George” ?
I would have thought a smart and reasonably androgynous outfit could be found for the wedding - trousers and a top or Nehru jacket for instance.

Grannybags Wed 18-May-22 21:07:18

When I was 13 I was bridesmaid for my sister. I never wore skirts except for school uniform (no choice)

I wore the most hideous frilly dress and felt terrible in it. I wore it without complaint because I loved my sister and it was her special day.

A year later I had to do it all again for my brothers wedding.

I think if she wants to be part of the the bridal party then she should wear what the bride would like her to wear

StarDreamer Wed 18-May-22 21:38:57

Would one way out of the problem be to invite her to be an usher at the wedding?

That way she would be part of the modalities of the wedding ceremony and the issue be diplomatically sidestepped.

ElaineI Wed 18-May-22 21:56:27

Why can't she be a page person not a bridesmaid? She is not a little girl and even if she was it is wrong to exclude her if she won't wear a dress. She could wear what the nephews wear for goodness sake! What does it matter in the long run! I saw a photo of a bride and groom with their child dressed as Spiderman - they had a wonderful time. It's not woke whatever the heck that is. It is considering the feelings and mental health of a young teenager when all you need to do is find out what they would prefer to wear.

NotSpaghetti Wed 18-May-22 22:10:16

I don't see why she can't wear trousers and jacket in the matching colours. It seems simple to me.
Most brides give people a say in what they are wearing these days I think.
I wouldn't want to push anyone at my wedding to wear something that would make them feel uncomfortable and anxious. I'm sure the sort of bride who wants all the young people involved in the wedding is not going to insist this young person wear a bridesmaids dress.

Glorianny Wed 18-May-22 22:18:59

Would she wear a trouser suit in the same material? I think some of the best weddings have a similar colour/material for the outfits but allow different styles because bridesmaids come in different shapes and sizes. There are lots of lovely trouser outfits with wide legs around.

Shelflife Wed 18-May-22 22:26:22

This is much more than a 13year old causing a scene ! Seems to me the solution is simple , ask your GC what they would feel comfortable wearing and go with that. Your two daughters are not daggers drawn over this so all is well there. It does not matter what your GC wears , what does matter is that your GC fees comfortable in the outfit - whatever that is! Your GC is most certainly not ' a little girl' They are being incredibly brave during what must be a very confusing time. I hope your family can see beyond the brides maid dress and support your GC. Good luck to all.

Ali23 Wed 18-May-22 22:31:55

Well said Shelflife. This is the beginnings of the family accepting this young person for who they are.

Shelflife Wed 18-May-22 22:45:40

I agree Ali, this is the start of a family accepting a situation they never thought would happen. This young person is trying hard to be accepted by their family and needs the love and support from those who love them . Whatever the future holds this child is dealing with what is happening now and deserves to feel respected and loved. If a great fuss is made over the bridesmaids dress then this is not in their best interest.

FarNorth Wed 18-May-22 22:54:00

The problem is that she really wants to be part of the wedding party and is really excited about it, she just doesn't want to wear a dress. The bride really wants her there too but she also wants her to match with the rest of the girls.

People are what is important.
They could all be in outfits from the charity shop and still have a great time.

The bride should consult the girl, explain the colour scheme she wants and together come up with a suitable outfit.
It sounds as if no-one is trying to be difficult, so it should work out fine.

(Ps- it's ridiculous that someone should feel they must call themself non-binary just because they don't want to fit into the stereotypes associated with their sex.)

MawtheMerrier Thu 19-May-22 03:46:20

EXCEPT that one niece who is 13 years old seems to be identifying as non binary and is, according to her mother, too uncomfortable and anxious etc etc
I have just spotted that word seems and think you have a very real point @ Far North

Blondiescot Thu 19-May-22 07:38:38


The wedding is all about the show.

It shouldn't be...

Shelflife Thu 19-May-22 07:40:49

Your GC may or may not be non binary, only time will tell!.What is paramount is how the child feels now! They would not be voicing this opinion if they / she were not in doubt. This request not to wear a dress really is not a big deal! Two important issues here 1 - the significance of your DD marriage and 2- the need and necessity for your GD to feel comfortable at at ease . I sincerely hope everyone has a wonderful day.

Gingster Thu 19-May-22 08:07:40

This isn’t HER day. It is her aunts. She has the Choice of wearing the dress or not being part of the wedding procession.
I’ve worn bridesmaids dresses I hated but you have to go along with the brides wishes.

nanna8 Thu 19-May-22 08:10:06

If she is feeling stressed by it rather than just being awkward I wouldn't force her to do anything. Let her hand out things at the door or something where it won't matter what she wears. If you make a big deal of it it will get worse. Thirteen is a tricky age.

Shelflife Thu 19-May-22 08:32:14

Gingster, I really do understand your point and a small part if me agrees with you. However , if a relative of yours felt this way would you feel the same ? Trans issues are prevalent just now and must be taken seriously. I know it will take a long time but it really isn't anything new. Homosexuality, even today carries stigma but thankfully we are getting there! Trans issues are a long way behind, but will eventually become understood. I feel that if this child is non binary they would be devastated if made to wear what they consider inappropriate clothing , just as I would if I had to dress as a man at a family wedding. This child is not asking too much. What would be great cause for concern

would be if the child had these feelings , was withdrawing from family occasions , depressed and having dark thoughts - and I am sure no one wants that! This issue is very real to this child and can not be overlooked or disregarded. The priority of this serious and significant day is the marriage of two people who are committing to spending their lives together, that is what matters , not the relativity small issue if what someone wears! I apologize if my post sounds harsh but I do have strong views on this .

Oopsadaisy1 Thu 19-May-22 08:41:53

As others have said it’s up to the Bride to decide, but surely ‘non binary’ means that they won’t be happy wearing trousers and a jacket either?

Cabbie21 Thu 19-May-22 08:48:47

So what does that leave, Oopsadaisy?

DillytheGardener Thu 19-May-22 08:53:13

I find this a non issue. One of ds school friend’s (a man) was married and his ‘best man’ ( a women) wore a suit rather than a dress, as she didn’t wear dresses and she looked a total knock out.
How many women do we see now on red carpets in suits who aren’t non binary but just like wearing suits?
Just let the child wear a suit so they are comfortable and enjoy the wedding. The people and family should be the important thing, not the pictures.

Mollygo Thu 19-May-22 09:02:58

Let her wear a suit and do something else. That way she’s included but not pressured to wear a dress.
Doing a job often involves wearing clothes you don’t like, but you can always not do that job.
I get the “I don’t want to wear a dress” whether she’s non-binary or not. I’d love to have avoided the bridesmaid dress I had to wear, but at 13 I was still thinking more about others than myself.

Glorianny Thu 19-May-22 09:03:14

There have been quite a few posts on GN from grans who didn't want to wear a dress to a wedding so perhaps it is time we started broadening the traditions associated with weddings. American weddings seem to have a procession of people including groomsmen down the aisle before the bride. Maybe we should just be finding a way of having people other than bridesmaids and a cute little page boy involved.

eazybee Thu 19-May-22 09:05:32

This girl has three options:
1 wear a dress as the other bridesmaids are doing;
2 wear whatever the nephews are wearing, presumably trousers:
3 don't be part of the wedding party but attend the wedding in clothes of her choice.
She is apparently thrilled and excited about being part of the wedding but also anxious and worried about wearing a skirt. Does she not realise that if she dresses differently from the others in the bridal party she will be an object of attention and excite comment, not all of it favourable?
Or is that what it is all about?

This sounds like an episode of Say Yes to the Dress: the Bridesmaids and it needs the firm hands of Lori and Randy to sort it out.

rafichagran Thu 19-May-22 09:16:04

This girl has a option, if she does not want to wear the dress, she does not have too, but she should not be a bridesmaid.
The bride has lots of things to consider and as I said above I would not pander to her. She could maybe do something else.
This girl can call herself non binary if she wants I have no problem with it, but it is the brides day and if she wants the bridesmaid to wear a dress, she should wear it, or decline the offer. This girl at 13 is old enough to know the day is not all about her or her feelings. I always respected my adult childrens beliefs but they also had to have respect, and sometimes they had to do things they did not like.