When you think of Pride month, colourful images of rainbows, parades, and parties probably come to mind, as the month of June is a time for the LGBTQ community to celebrate the freedom to be themselves. It’s also a time to honour gay, lesbian, and transgender activists who made these celebrations possible by fighting for LGBTQ rights — most notably through events like the Stonewall Inn riots.
For families, the month presents several opportunities to talk to our kids about the core values of inclusivity that the LGBTQ community stands for — and celebrate them.
Talk about what it means to identify as LGBTQ
If you haven’t yet started talking to your kids about the issues that people in the LGBTQ community face, now’s the time — or the time to build on any discussions you’ve already had. (Here’s a primer to get you started.) This video from the National Centre for Transgender Equality features transgender kids and adults who talk about their experiences, and it’s a good way for kids to connect the concept with real people they can relate to.
You can read children’s books together on the topic, such as Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag; Stonewall: A Building, an Uprising, a Revolution; and My Two Mums and Me. You can also check out this list of TV shows with LGBTQ characters, courtesy of Common Sense Media.
Look for local Pride events
Last year, we had to celebrate nearly everything, including Pride month, either privately or socially distanced. This year, if you’re vaccinated or take all the safety precautions we’re now so familiar with, you can celebrate out in the community. Search for local Pride parades, festivals, 5K runs, or drag shows, and take the kids along.
Your city may also feature local LGBTQ-owned or LGBTQ-friendly businesses on its website that you can patronize this month (and every month).
Go to a Drag Queen Story Hour
We’ve recommended in the past that you take your kids to a local Drag Queen Story Hour, and we’re recommending it again:
Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH) is just what it sounds like — drag queens reading stories to children in libraries, schools, and bookstores. DQSH captures the imagination and play of the gender fluidity of childhood and gives kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models. In spaces like this, kids are able to see people who defy rigid gender restrictions and imagine a world where people can present as they wish, where dress up is real.
You can find an event near you here (or organise your own).
Host your own Pride celebration
Dedicate a whole day (or a whole weekend!) to your own personal family Pride celebration. Organise a neighbourhood “Rainbow Chalk Walk” — or walk down your street, chalking your own rainbows as you go for others to discover. Create a neighbourhood “Rainbow Scavenger Hunt” where kids in the neighbourhood decorate their windows or yards with rainbows for everyone to find. Or host a block party in which everyone brings rainbow-themed foods and beverages (rainbow crispy treats, anyone?).
Encourage rainbow-themed crafts, such as this Pride flag or rainbow bracelet. Draw rainbows on the windows of your home or vehicle with dry erase markers. If there is a particular family member or loved one you want to honour and support this month, have the kids make them a special card or picture.
Make it an extra-colourful and fun day, while also talking about the history of the celebrations and the importance of inclusivity.
This article was originally published in 2020 and was updated on June 3, 2021 to provide current information.