WellesleyWeston Magazine


Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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Page 90 of 219

to see kids' formalwear on display — dresses on one side and three-piece suits on the other. John asked if he could buy a three-piece suit. I thought, 'okay, it's not too expensive, why not?' I can't tell you how many times he wore that suit." The second memory that stands out is a weekend away when the Puopolos stayed at a hotel with a pool but had forgotten John's bathing suit. "We couldn't find a girls bathing suit to buy; they only had boys swim trunks. John could not have been happier." Around this time, John began preferring only boys' underwear. "I remember standing in the boys section at Target, looking at these tiny boys' underwear. As I stared at them I thought to myself: 'What am I doing?' And just as quickly I thought 'I'm doing this because my child wants it.' You can't imagine the expression on his face when I got home and pulled them out — he lit up." This was a turning point. Merrill says, "I thought to myself — I can't fight this." By the time John entered kindergarten, he wore only boys clothes and had a shorter haircut. Merrill notes she was resistant to a traditional boy's haircut. Until then, Merrill and Rob had never heard the term "transgender." They started to do some research. In April of John's kindergarten year, the Puopolos went to Disney– world … and did a trial. Experts often recommend this to see how a child reacts to a social transition. "We called him John. We let him use the men's room. He was totally happy." That summer, they met with three people: their pediatrician, a counselor specializing in gender identity, and Jeff Perrotti — founding director of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's Safe Schools Program for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning Students. And they did more research. 89 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | s u m m e r 2 0 1 7

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