Growing up, I remember this being a big day for my mom and her partner. Being born in the fifties and coming out in the 90’s, my mother was part of a generation that still found it incredibly difficult to admit that she was gay (in public, with pride no less). Yet despite being nervous and probably feeling like she was betraying those family members who still thought she was “going through a phase,” she nevertheless went downtown each year to join the crowds, watch the procession, and cheer on every awesomely costumed, glitter bedecked, lovely marcher.
Back then (waaaay back in the 90’s that is), seeing kids with LGBT parents was still rare. There were some gay parents with little babies and toddlers, but so very few older kids like myself. When I did spot a tween with two moms or two dads, I’d always try to catch their eye. Seeing all kinds of families, as different and atypical as my own, made me more confident, accepting, and ultimately, proud. Celebrating Gay Pride (whether you go to the actual parade or simply show support in your own way) is empowering not only for those who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or questioning, but also for the children, siblings, parents, and friends who make up this diverse community. Back then, I was still too shy and afraid to even imagine inviting a friend to join my family in any sort of Gay Pride celebration. But now, I wish I had.
Not everyone needs to go to the parade to show support and celebrate diversity. There are lots of ways that straight and gay families can include children in this day.
For younger children, creating a rainbow windsock and talking about love and acceptance can be enough.
For older children, it can be a time to discuss the history of Stonewall and why Gay Pride is celebrated today. There are even lesson plans and activity guides that help explain the history, the current legal battles, and ways to educate children about all the different and unique family structures.
It’s amazing how far our society has come in terms of acceptance in the last few decades. And yet, we still have so far to go. How is your family celebrating today?