The mother who shared a photo with her son at the Orange County Pride Parade in California is speaking out after actor James Woods posted an insensitive tweet about the photo, which shows her and her husband holding up signs that read: “I love my gender creative son!” and “My son wears dresses & makeup… Get over it!!”
Woods, 70, tweeted on Monday, “This is sweet. Wait until this poor kid grows up, realizes what you’ve done, and stuffs both of you dismembered into a freezer in the garage.”
This is sweet. Wait until this poor kid grows up, realizes what you’ve done, and stuffs both of you dismembered into a freezer in the garage pic.twitter.com/1k3ITApFsF
— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods) July 10, 2017
Lori Duron, mom to 10-year-old CJ, tells PEOPLE that she first saw the tweet Monday night around 11 p.m. after a friend came to her defense on Facebook.
“The fact that it was so detailed, it’s really gross to me any time that adults talk about children that way,” says Duron. “And the visual image that he evoked was troubling.”
“We’ve spent seven years sharing our journey to the public,” adds Duron, author of the blog, RaisingMyRainbow.com. “We were on his radar, but he wasn’t on ours. It was shocking. I feel like adults should know better.”
Duron also says that the tweet is “hugely misinformed.”
“LGBTQ youth don’t hurt their parents, they hurt themselves,” she says. “We’re trying to raise our son in way that he doesn’t fall into those behaviors. His tweet was so uninformed. LGBTQ youth do not kill other people, they kill themselves.”
Neil Patrick Harris immediately spoke out after seeing Woods’ aggressive tweet.
“Utterly ignorant and classless, Mr. Woods,” the Gone Girl actor, 44, tweeted on Tuesday. “I’m friends with this family. You know not of what you speak, and should be ashamed of yourself.”
Utterly ignorant and classless, Mr. Woods. I’m friends with this family. You know not of what you speak, and should be ashamed of yourself. https://t.co/ZrbtZH49sp
— Neil Patrick Harris (@ActuallyNPH) July 11, 2017
A representative for the actor tells PEOPLE: “As an advocate for LGBTQ rights, a parent and a compassionate human being, Neil rightfully chose to speak out against these uninformed and ill-mannered words that were aimed at a child.”
Duron says she’s always grateful whenever someone offers her family support and seeing Harris’s public reaction “feels amazing.”
“When someone is so kind and loving and supportive, it’s really touching,” she says.
Duran says that CJ is not transgender and insists that he’s a boy but wants to be treated like a girl.
“He likes girl things, but he also prefers male pronouns,” she says. “We’re trying to educate others about this and share our journey. We’re just parents trying to raise the child we got and not the child we expected.”
Duron — who says that CJ is unaware of the tweet — regularly receives hate mail and threats, which have only intensified since Woods’ tweet.
“Our village and the LGBTQ community has really rallied around us within the last 24 hours,” she says. “I put out some emails for advice, and they closed in with support. Also, we try to remember that we’re sharing our journey for the sake of other families like ours. This isn’t about us, this is about the LGBTQ community.”
She added: “My kids are my number one priority, but I also remember that there are other kids and families that feel unsafe and alone.”
As for her son, he’s still reveling in his amazing experience at the Orange County Pride Parade, which took place on June 24.
“He told me the other night before bed that that was his best day ever,” Duron says. “That’s what we’re focusing on. Sometimes people can’t tell if he’s a boy or a girl, and they whisper and point. He went to Pride and he wasn’t dealing with whispering or pointing.
“People were telling him to never stop being who he was. He was getting so much positive feedback. He loved it, he made us promise that we’ll take him again next year.”