When a five-year-old boy began wearing skirts and dresses, he was often mocked or stared at by schoolmates and strangers.
So his father decided there was only one solution – to start cross-dressing too, as a show of support.
The family live in a small, traditional town in southern Germany, but Nils Pickert claims his radical decision has given his son confidence in his choice.
All dressed up: Nils Pickert claims his example has allowed his son to feel confident in his choice to wear women’s clothing
Long skirts with elasticated waistbands ‘suit me quite well anyway’, Mr Pickert told German feminist magazine Emma, according to a translation by Tumblr user steegeschnoeber.
The pair used to live in the well-to-do borough of Kreuzberg in cosmopolitan Berlin, where there was little or no reaction to Mr Pickert’s son wearing dresses.
The issue would simply spark debate among parents, he said, over whether allowing it was ‘wise or ridiculous’. For open-minded Mr Pickert, it was never even a question.
He would sometimes dress in a skirt or dress himself, during mild weather.
When they moved to a ‘very traditional, very religious’ little town, however, Mr Pickert’s son became too embarrassed to wear women’s clothing to nursery school – and asked his father if he would dress up again.
‘I didn’t want to talk my son into not wearing dresses and skirts,’ said Mr Pickert. ‘I had only one option left: To broaden my shoulders for my little buddy and dress in a skirt myself.
‘To this very day I’m thankful for that woman who stared at us on the street until she ran face-first into a street light. My son was roaring with laughter, and the next day he fished out a dress from the depth of his wardrobe. At first only for the weekend. Later also for nursery school.’
Mr Pickert says his son’s choice is now a subject of conversation for the whole town – and he feels proud of his own role in that.
He calls himself ‘part of the minority that makes a fool of themselves from time to time, out of conviction.’
He added: ‘What’s the little guy doing now? He’s painting his fingernails. He thinks it looks pretty on my nails, too.
‘He’s simply smiling, when other boys (and it’s nearly always boys) want to make fun of him and says: “You only don’t dare to wear skirts and dresses because your dads don’t dare to either.” That’s how broad his own shoulders have become by now. And all thanks to daddy in a skirt.’