Boy in the Blue Dress project says 'Let It Go' to gender norms 

Local hosts Frozen sing-along in whistler, encourages boys and girls to embrace their inner Elsa

click to enlarge Saturn, a Squamish local, dressed up as Elsa as part of the Boy in the Blue Dress project. - PHOTO BY JOEY ALYEA
  • Photo by Joey Alyea
  • Saturn, a Squamish local, dressed up as Elsa as part of the Boy in the Blue Dress project.

Last week, Dean Venture did a photo shoot in support of the Boy in the Blue Dress Project.

Dressed in a shimmering full-length gown, a snowflake cape and braided blonde wig —meant to evoke Elsa, the ice queen from the Disney movie Frozen—he posed in front of mountains, on an icy lake, and with a snow castle in Creekside.

At the time, he publicly identified as Dean and used he/him pronouns. Since then, he has come out as transgender and identifies with she/her pronouns, now going by the name Saturn. The pronouns might have changed, but the aim of the project is still the same: to demonstrate that it's OK to be who you are, whether that means being a boy wearing an Elsa dress or a boy transitioning to a girl wearing an Elsa dress—or any gender wearing any dress at all.

"I went off and did a photo shoot with a professional photographer [Joey Alyea] and the photos are unbelievable," says Saturn. "I couldn't get over how good a job he did."

The Boy in the Blue Dress project first started after Saturn saw a post from a Portland-based Facebook friend about how his young son loved to dress up as Elsa, something he encouraged.

"I contacted him saying, 'Dude, this is awesome. You're such a good dad. I support what you're doing,'" says Saturn, who's originally from Ireland, but now calls Squamish home.

The next day, she had an idea. It's one thing to have your dad support you, but what if a stranger took photos dressed as Elsa as an example of a grown-up casting off societal norms in an effort to be themselves?

"To have someone who's not their parent show them it's fine—[kids are] used to their parents being encouraging about everything," Saturn says. "If he has these photos, maybe it would be another little thing [to help]."

"I've been using the slogan, 'No bullies, no boundaries.' I think there's proof gender boxing isn't working," she says. "I think we need to debunk these gender norms and roles and it will have a positive outlook on the world."

Saturn posted about her project on a couple of local Facebook pages and, after receiving encouragement, decided to expand its scope. On Thursday evening, Feb. 20, she put together a sing-along in the village, encouraging all kids—boys and girls—to dress up as Elsa and sing songs from the film.

click to enlarge Saturn, getting ready for her day as Elsa with some help from a local drug store's beauty department. - PHOTO BY JOEY ALYEA
  • Photo by Joey Alyea
  • Saturn, getting ready for her day as Elsa with some help from a local drug store's beauty department.

Around 25 kids showed up.

"The sing-along went great," she says. "I think we played 'Let It Go' five or six times. It ended and they hit it again. One of the parents suggested we do that and it was probably the best call."

click to enlarge Saturn hosted an Elsa sing-along in Whistler Village last Thursday, Feb. 20. - PHOTO BY JOEY ALYEA
  • Photo by Joey Alyea
  • Saturn hosted an Elsa sing-along in Whistler Village last Thursday, Feb. 20.

Afterwards, when everyone had left and Saturn was packing up, a teen boy approached her for a photo. (She was still dressed as Elsa.)

"He had a pink iPhone with a pink background, and a pink cartoon character on it. I said, 'Is pink your favourite colour?' And he said, 'Yes!' I said, 'Pink is an awesome colour.' It was really so special," she says.

click to enlarge About 25 kids showed up to the sing-along. - PHOTO BY JOEY ALYEA
  • Photo by Joey Alyea
  • About 25 kids showed up to the sing-along.

The event went well enough that she's hoping to do it again—ideally, at as many schools or town centres along the West Coast as she can. (Her background is in concert promoting and putting on shows and festivals, giving her a leg up on event organizing.)

click to enlarge Posing for a photo while axe throwing. - PHOTO BY JOEY ALYEA
  • Photo by Joey Alyea
  • Posing for a photo while axe throwing.

"I think that more young boys need more role models in dresses," she says. "I firmly believe the kids are the future and if they grow up being who they want to be and not being commented on or bullied or penalized for what they want to wear, they're going to be happier and give back to the world in a better way."

For more information on the initiative, visit patreon.com/saturnsreconstructiveart or email heyaspace@gmail.com.

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