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Mrs. Kilodavis did try diverting Dyson’s attention as a toddler by providing his day care with a little more flash for boys in the dress-up area. She brought in a red-and-gold karate outfit and a band uniform, but they didn’t interest Dyson. “The next day when I went to pick him up, he was in a yellow dress,” she said.

At age 4, Dyson and his 8-year-old brother went shopping with mom for Halloween costumes. Older brother settled on a ninja turtle. Dyson begged for Cinderella. The worried mom made the purchase and made sure his private school was aware of his costume choice.