It’s Pride Month! This is a wonderful opportunity to teach your kids about gender and sexuality as well as the LGBTQ+ community.
Many of us parents didn’t grow up during a time when pride month was as widely acknowledged and celebrated, so it may feel challenging to approach these conversations.
Here are some tips to get started.
1. Learn the history and terminology yourself, then explain in kid-friendly language.
You can’t explain Pride Month without educating yourself first! You can start by learning about why we call it “Pride” Month, when and how it started, how the celebration has changed over time, and why it’s so important. Learn more about the Stonewall Riots, the meaning behind the rainbow flag, and various terminology, then share this knowledge with your child!
But your child doesn't require in-depth knowledge of every aspect of the Stonewall Uprising to grasp the significance of Pride Month. Instead, you can have more general conversations that highlight the importance of acceptance and inclusivity. For example, you can say, "Do you see how all these people are celebrating? There was a time when they were bullied for who they were. Have you ever felt something like this? It made you sad and angry, right? So we celebrate this month because being true to yourself is awesome."
2. Create a safe environment for discussion and use casual tones.
The way you discuss other people shapes your child's early perception of the world and has the potential to influence their own judgments, biases, and empathy towards others as well as themselves. By engaging in conversations about LGBTQ identity and fostering a non-judgmental environment, you can contribute to dismantling long-standing stereotypes and the marginalisation of LGBTQ individuals across generations.
Encourage open-ended questions to understand your child's understanding and thoughts. Avoid using labels that perpetuate stereotypes. Lastly, be transparent about what you know and don't know. This approach can also provide support to your child if they are curious about their own or a friend's sexual orientation and gender identity, while demonstrating that you are always available to discuss whatever is happening in their lives.
3. Attend an event as a family.
There are so many exciting events you can attend with your child during Pride Month. You can search for a Pride Parade or Pride March taking place near you. There are Drag Queen story hours that are fun, educational, and family-friendly. If your child is feeling crafty, you can do pride-themed artwork with other families. For a more educational experience, you can visit local museum exhibits that showcase LGBTQ+ voices in a way that’s conducive to children’s learning. You can also visit local queer owned businesses and communicate to your child how and why you should support them.
4. Remember to uphold LGBTQ+ inclusion year-round.
Pride Month isn’t the only time you should be having these discussions and upholding the values of diversity, inclusivity, and advocacy to your children. Make sure to be consistent throughout the year in your efforts to engage with your child to help create a better future for generations to come.