June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ+) Pride Month. The rainbows of Pride month are an especially welcome sight in 2021. As we emerge from the difficulties of the past year, the rainbow as a symbol of hope seems quite appropriate. The rainbow flag is the well recognized way to display pride and support for the LGBTQ community and is the symbol of the social movement for LGBTQ rights. The Pride movement has significance for families in different ways. How do you talk about, recognize or celebrate Pride in your family? How do you respond to your children’s questions about why there is a Pride month at all?
The History of Pride
Although public events during Pride month are often celebratory, there is a deeper purpose and history to the tradition that is important for kids to understand. On June 28, 1969 police raided an establishment in New York City called the Stonewall Inn which allowed LGBTQ people. The people of that community and neighborhood fought back in a series of uprisings called the Stonewall Riots. Pride month commemorates those uprisings and the fight for equal rights that gained traction following the riots.
Talking About Pride with Your Kids
There are many opportunities to educate yourself and your kids about LGBTQ families and issues. Here are a few ideas:
- Use Pride events in the media and locally to bring up the subject to kids who may not have another frame of reference. Giving examples is helpful. “You know how Molly at school has two dads, right? Some people have one parent, or two moms or two dads.” Or, “Imagine how it might feel to know on the inside that you are a girl but based on your outside people call you a boy.”
- Show your support through your actions. You can patronize LGBTQ owned businesses, comment positively about Pride events or merchandise, counteract negative messages when you hear them, put a rainbow “safe space” sticker in your window if you own a business yourself, or attend Pride events.
- Connect your kids to books and other resources. For younger kids, these LGBTQ Picture Books are good choices. For older kids try Jerome Pohlen’s, Gay & Lesbian History for Kids: The Century-Long Struggle for LGBT Rights.
- Commit to learning more about being an ally. PFLAG National’s Straight for Equality project has an excellent and free online guide to being a straight ally.
Why It’s Important
Remember that you are not only modeling allyship (or Pride in your own community when you are part of the LGBTQ community yourself) but you are also showing your kids the message that you will support them as well if it turns out they are part of the LGBTQ community. This is powerful to convey because family support is key to health and well-being of gender and sexual minorities. Broaching these topics opens up a safe channel for future conversations with your child.