June 2022 is Gay Pride Month. As the mom of LGBTQ+ teens, this is an issue that is close to my heart.
Especially with all the negative things going on in the press right now for the LGBTQ+ kids right now, your child may be struggling. Showing your pride as a parent can help your kids to feel loved and accepted for who they are.
In the aftermath of the removal of rights for trans kids in Texas, and the Don't Say Gay law in Florida, getting involved in Pride Month Activities is more important than ever this year. We need to be sure that we are protecting our kids' rights.
Since there have been so many hurtful messages in the media regarding the LGBTQ+ community, your child may be feeling especially threatened right now, or be facing bullying. It is important to check in regularly about their mental health.
Pride Celebrations, Education and Advocacy
During Pride month, many of us are familiar with Pride parades and festivals in our local communities. Attending one of these events with your child or teen can be a great opportunity to connect, and to show them that you care about being part of their community.
First, ask your child or teen if they feel comfortable attending an event with you. For older teens, they may prefer to go with friends or their partner. If you do go, CBC Canada suggests that you,
Allow your child to pick out not only their outfit, but yours too. Some children would love to have a parent wearing a t-shirt that says “Proud parent of a trans kid," others would be mortified. Would your child enjoy inviting a friend or two? Will they want you to take photos of them at Pride? If you do, how do they feel about you sharing them, either on social media or with family? Some will want to share, others will want privacy.
If you are going as their ally, think about what will affirm their identity and make sure that for your child, the day is about them
If you have a younger child, there are many family-friendly Pride events. You could consider checking out a Drag Queen Story Hour, or reading story books about Pride.
According to Moms,
Many drag queens have expanded their performances outside of bars and nightclubs in recent years by hosting Drag Queen Story Hours at local public libraries. In fact, the events have become so popular that there's an entire organization dedicated to the idea. On the Drag Queen Story Hour website, you can search for local events near you or get information about virtual story hours hosted on Facebook and other social media sites.
For activities other that you can do with younger kids for Pride Month, check out Twinkl. Not only does their site provide a history of Pride Month, there are also fun coloring activities you can print out for your young children.
Educating yourself about LGBTQ+ issues is also a great thing to do during Pride Month. You can talk to your child to find out more about their unique identity, and do some additional reading. That way, you will have a better understanding of your child or teen's identity, as well as the community as a whole.
If you are interested in Advocacy, you can look into organizations such as PFLAG.
No voice is more powerful or persuasive than that of a PFLAG member or supporter. As people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+), their parents, families, friends, and allies, we know firsthand the impact that discriminatory laws have on ourselves and our loved ones.
Our voices have helped move equality forward on important issues like workplace fairness, marriage equality, advocating for family acceptance, safer schools, and trans rights. It is essential that we continue to educate key decision-makers about the issues that affect our loved ones and families.
I would suggest that, before beginning advocacy on behalf of your child or teen, that they are comfortable with you doing so. Some may only be selectively "out," be facing bullying, or still not be comfortable enough in their own skin to begin advocacy. This is a very personal choice.
Sharing their stories is something very personal, and it is good to know if your child is comfortable with you sharing theirs before you do so.
Other Things You Can Do
Even if your child is not comfortable with advocacy, there is much that can be done to help the LGBTQ+ community.
One of the most important things that all of us can do, as parents, is to speak positively about the community in our daily lives. If someone in your life says something negative about the LGBTQ+ community, you can step in to stop hate speech, without ever needing to mention your child.
Being an Ally to the LGBTQ+ community in your words, actions and social media presence is something that any of us can do. You can share news articles, blog posts, and positive messages with family, friends and online.
Are there other things that you do to support your LGBTQ+ child or teen that I haven't mentioned here? I would love to hear about them in the comments! Also, if there are additional topics that you would like me to cover in a future blog post, please let me know that as well.
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