Dear Annie: On a recent trip to visit my daughter, I found out that my 12-year-old grandson has taken up Irish step dancing. What bothers me is that he dances in the girls division.
My daughter told me it began when a girls troupe needed one more dancer and he agreed to join them. He had to wear a girl’s costume, and the judges allowed it. Now my daughter is regularly entering him in competitions for girls. The last time I saw an event program, I noticed that his name was spelled with an extra “i” at the end so it appears to be female. And I have to say, dressed in a girl’s costume with wig and makeup, you can hardly tell he’s a boy.
Is this fraud? There is prize money involved. Could my daughter be sued? When I talked to my grandson about this, he said he doesn’t mind. Should I inform the judges at the next performance or just leave it be? – Surprised Grandmother
Dear Surprised: If there is money being awarded, then yes, it is fraudulent. The first time it happened, the judges were aware that a boy was competing and allowed it. But if your daughter is disguising his gender, it puts his entire troupe at risk for elimination.
Nonetheless, we don’t recommend you get involved by reporting it. Caution your daughter that at some point her son will be discovered and there will be consequences, but what she chooses to do about that is up to her. There is no reason her son cannot compete in a boys division. (And we won’t get into the possibility that your grandson may enjoy dressing up as a girl.)