6 Ways to Celebrate Pride as a Family

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Celebrate Pride as a family. The word pride in rainbow colors framed by a rainbow flag.

June is pride month which means it’s time to break out your rainbow gear! While LGBTQ+ people should be proud of who they are year around, June is a great time we can all gather to support and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community. Whether you’ve been attending pride events since the 80’s or this year is your first time, here are a few ways to include your kiddos in the fun and celebrate Pride as a family.

Talk & Read about Gender Diversity and Sexual Orientation

Celebrating Pride as a family starts by talking with our kids about the diversity of gender and sexual orientations that exist in our world. It’s never too early or too late to start these conversations with our children. Little ones are naturally curious about different kinds of families and what it means to be a particular gender. When they get older, they have friends who have two moms, a friend or classmate who is transgender and thoughts about what this all means to their lives. As their parents, we get to explore all of this with them.  

For some families, these conversations may feel awkward at first. That’s ok. Keep having them anyway. If you’re worried you won’t have all the answers, let me reassure you: you won’t. This is okay because learning alongside your kids and admitting when you don’t know is great role modeling.

Books can help, especially with your younger kiddos. Diversify your to-read pile at home with these Read the Rainbow selections.

Gender identity might feel especially hard to explain since gender is fluid and complex. For many of us the terms like gender binary, non-binary and cisgender were not ones we heard in our own childhood. Here are a few picture books that tackle gender identity and pronouns in straightforward terms:

They, She, He, Me: Free to Be! By Maya Christina Gonzalez and Matthew Sg

Being You: First Conversation about Gender by Megan Madison and Jessica Ralli

It Feels Good to be Yourself by Theresa Thorn

What Are Your Words by Katherine Locke

Learn Some LGBTQ+ History Together

Diving into the rich history of queer and trans people is another great way to celebrate Pride as a family. After you’ve finished the books mentioned above, the Human Rights Campaign’s children’s booklist is great. Importantly HRC’s list does not whitewash LGBTQ+ history.  Black, Indigenous and People of Color have played an integral role in queer and trans history. Another recent book I especially like for introducing queer heros of color is Sylvia and Marsha Start a Revolution by Joy Ellison.

Beyond books, watching documentaries together is a great way to learn with your older tweens and teens. There are plenty of well done documentaries about LGBTQ+ history. One that will give you and your teens a glimpse at a recent chapter in trans history is The Most Dangerous Year.

For opportunities to discover the history of queer and trans people locally, follow Seacoast NH LGBT History project on Facebook. Their past event have included “gay” walking history tours as well as queer and trans history exhibits.

One word of caution, LGBTQ+ history is full of depictions of discrimination and violence against queer and trans people. If you have a queer or a trans child, hearing about this violence can be quite harmful. Use your own parental discretion.

Celebrate at a Pride Festival as a Family

For seacoast residents, pride can stay local because Portsmouth Pride 2022 is Saturday, June 25th. Portsmouth Pride is hosted by Seacoast Outright, a youth focused LGBTQ+ org so this is an especially family friendly event. The parade is my personal favorite part, but the whole day is a giant festival of love and self-expression.

Shop the Rainbow

Let’s be honest, the fabulous gear is a huge bonus of celebrating Pride as a family. It can be affirming to see that LGBTQ+ pride has become mainstream enough to make it to the shelves of Old Navy and Target. You can do more to support actual LGBTQ+ people if you source your Pride t-shirts, pins and hats from other places. Portsmouth Pride has lots of family friendly vendors you can support on June 25th. Before that day, you can grab plenty of rainbows from the Seacoast Outright shop. Shopping at a Pride festival or from Seacoast Outright will help financially support an organization that supports queer and trans youth locally. 

Broaden Your Watchlists

Representation matters. While it’s still far too scarce, representation of queer people in kids shows is slowly improving. After you’re back home from that Pride parade, you can keep the Pride celebration going by queuing up episodes of your kids favorite shoes that depict queer characters.

For your younger set there are a few good options. If you have an Arthur fan at home, episode 1 of season 22 shows Arthur’s gay teacher getting married. For fans of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, season 9 intros the lesbian couple raising Scootaloo. Doc McStuffins season 4 episode 22A shows an interracial lesbian couple. For a show with reoccuring gay characters (gay dads) and some gender stereotype busting try The Bravest Knight, which you can stream on Hulu. This fall Ridley Jones became the first kids TV show to feature a nonbinary character. 

Happily, as your kids get older, they will have more options for queer and trans media. You can check out Perks of Being a Wallflower together at Prescott Park on June 27th. 

While representation of gay and lesbian characters in kids’ TV shows is getting more mainstream, bisexual, non-binary and trans people remain largely absent. 

Advocate

Pride events shouldn’t be considered separate from the bigger picture of LGBTQ+ rights.  Beyond the talk, the colorful parade and fun t-shirts, you can show your kids that your family is truly an ally to LGBTQ+ people by advocating for their rights all year long. Stay in the loop about debates happening in your community and your children’s schools. Let your school and your public library know that you want them to have queer and trans representation in the books on their shelves. Reach out and express your support for Gay/Straight Alliances. Help your child think of language they can use if they hear someone being picked on for their gender or sexual identity. If you need more ideas, GSLEN is a great resource.

Whether you’re reading, watching, advocating or cheering at a parade, when you choose to celebrate Pride as a family you are showing your children that your family loves and supports the queer and trans people in our community. Above all, that’s worth waving a (rainbow) flag for.

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