June is Pride Month, an excellent time to teach your children about what it means to be LGBTQ, the history of this month-long celebration, and to have fun together while sharing valuable lessons about inclusivity and empathy!
What is Pride Month?
Pride Month can be considered both a joyful celebration, and a serious political reminder that LGBTQ people are a part of us and deserve the same rights as everyone else. It is a time to remember the LGBTQ civil rights movement and to celebrate the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people.
Why Do We Call It Pride?
The term “Pride” was originally used as an acronym for Personal Rights in Defence and Education, a group that was founded in 1966 to advocate and fight for equal rights for LGBTQ persons in the state of California. There is als the double meaning of the world Pride- one that expresses a deep joy or satisfaction gained by people through their best achievements and traits. We use the word pride to recognise being proud of who we are, as well as honoring an influential organization.
History & Importance of Pride
Pride celebrations are held in June to commemorate the Stonewall Rebellion, which began on June 28, 1969. Police raids on LGBTQ+ friendly pubs and other locations were regular at the time, but Stonewall Inn patrons fought back with a multi-day demonstration that lasted until July 3, 1969. Known as the Stonewall Riots, these acts of protest kickstarted the modern movement towards liberation and equal rights for the LGBTQ+ community.
After the riots, New York City became a hub for gay activism and organisations, igniting a national movement the next year that crossed the boundaries of borders and oceans. As time passed, Pride became an essential reminder of the LGBTQ+ community’s challenges, as well as a moment to celebrate the great progress being achieved. In 2009, the US President Barack Obama issued a Presidential Proclamation declaring the month of June to be LGBT pride month, marking the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots.
This year, we celebrate LGBT Pride Month at a moment of great hope and progress, recognizing that more needs to be done. Support for LGBT equality is growing, led by a generation which understands that, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Pride Month honors the difficult history, lives lost, and struggles endured, while also celebrating the victories. While the world has come a long way in terms of acceptance and celebration of the LGBTQ+ community, there is still work to be done. It all begins with teaching your children acceptance and understanding.
How to Talk to your Kids about Pride Month
It’s crucial to educate kids about love and acceptance at a young age, especially in a world where LGBBTQ+ families are becoming more common and visible. By raising compassionate and inclusive children, you set them up to become better friends, family, and members of society at large. Remember that children absorb everything they see and hear, and opening them up to new experience at a young age can define how they feel about a community. Exposure to diversity and inclusivity at the earliest age allows children to carry an open-minded outlook through their lives.
1. Start the conversation
Parents might assume kids aren’t curious about Pride of the LGBTQ+ community simply because they haven’t asked, but that doesn’t have to be true- rather than waiting for them to come up to you and discuss the topic, use what you see and experience in your life to bring up the topic naturally.
2. Emphasize allyship
For kids, it’s important to focus on being an ally regardless of whether or not they identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community. A parent’s role is to set the tone for allyship by promoting a good relationship between their children and the topics of acceptance and diversity. It’s never too early to promote love and the importance of supporting the LGBTQ+ community. Begin with the notion that members of the community are humans beings, the same as you and your child. Remind them that tolerance and acceptance are not the same thing, and that all members of the LGBTQ+ community deserve to be treated with dignity, respect, and love at a core human level.
3. Keep it simple & honest
Start with asking your children what they know- this gives you the opportunity to correct misinformation. A simple explanation of what it means to be gay that satisfies the curiousity of many kids is something along the lines of “when a man loves a man or when a woman loves a woman.” You should go into the conversation knowing the facts, but you don’t have to tell your kids every detail of LGBTQ+ history and the Stonewall Rebellion in order for them to comprehend the significance of Pride. The most important thing to do is share information in a way kids can identify and empathize with. Use words and examples your child can relate to in order to understand the LGBTQ+ and what it means to be an ally.
4. Be positive & affirming
These are heavy topics for a child to digest because the LGBTQ+ community has endured a lot of hostility and prejudice throughout its history, and regrettably, this animosity toward the group still continues now all across the world. It’s important to stay positive and educate your children from a place of acceptance. Also ensure activism and solutions remain a part of the conversation. Don’t just focus on the negative act- concentrate on how we can fix it!
5. Be open
Make sure your children know that they can come to you with any questions that arise. As they grow older, establish check-ins related to these conversations, to measure what they know and what they are hearing from their peers.
Talking about Pride, LGBTQ+ concerns, and identity isn’t a one-time thing. These discussions should be ongoing, and they should be a regular part of how you inform and teach your children. Making LGBTQ+-friendly subjects a part of the family value structure is a good idea in general. Create an environment that normalises the existence of queer people, whether via watching TV series with LGBTQ+ characters or reading literature with LGBTQ+ family structures. That way, it’s not so much a one-time chat as it is a succession of dialogues that don’t accentuate or avoid the existence of LGBTQ+ people.