Not all family members can see eye to eye and, let's face it, some can even be judgmental, particularly in terms of how we choose to raise our kids. But if we're lucky, we have at least one relative who truly gets us. That person who understands what makes us tick, our curiosities, and acts as our champion.
For one little boy in India, that person is definitely his older cousin Diksha Bijlani. The 22-year-old adores her younger relative, even giving him the pet name of Little Cuz. When someone messes with Little Cuz, Diksha has something to say about it.
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
Recently he expressed an interest in makeup when he noticed a family member preparing to throw away a lipstick. Curious, he asked if he could have it, then proceeded to apply the bright color to his own precious pout.
In an interview with POPSUGAR, Diksha explains that another relative yelled at him from the other room, asking if he wanted to be a "chakka," a term for transgender. Unclear about what that word even meant, Little Cuz could tell by this person's tone that they didn't approve of him wearing the lipstick. He immediately began wiping the color from his lips and proceeded to dive under a bed to hide.
In an effort to boost his confidence and let her young cousin know that it's perfectly okay to play around with makeup, no matter whether you're a boy or girl, Diksha encouraged other family members, including her brother, to apply the very same shade Little Cuz had just been wearing. She documented the story on Twitter (as one does) and strangers across the social media platform applauded her efforts to reassure the boy.
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
"In such a house it takes constant work as elder cousins to undo the conditioned gender binary, normalize gender neutral acts which are deemed feminine," she wrote in a series of tweets. "So we all wore lip color to make him comfortable & accepted."
Once he saw other family members wearing the shade, including male ones, Little Cuz smiled and had the courage to re-emerge from underneath the bed. Diksha says she helped him reapply the lipstick that he had desperately tried to wipe off so they could take photos together. Needless to say, the whole thing is pretty heartwarming.
"So cool!!" cried one Twitter user. "Kudos to you and the brother and hugs to lil cuz. More power to him."
Update: On a video call w/ Little Cuz today he shows me all lipsticks in his mom’s room & says “I’ve tried all & picked my favourite shade”. Then he keeps phone down, takes 10 proper mins to meticulously put it on & shows me. His fav lipshade is maroon & fav nailcolor is blue! 🤗 pic.twitter.com/95Vkjx1Vf8— Diksha Bijlani (@BijlaniDiksha) June 21, 2018
Dozens of other tweets echoed that sentiment, supporting both the boy and his incredibly thoughtful older cousin. Sometimes it's these little gestures that can make all of the difference in a child's self-expression and sense of confidence, and we're grateful Little Cuz has someone like Diksha to help lead the way.