Why I bring my kids to gay pride events

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I supported and believed in basic human rights for LGBTQIA folks long before I had children. And, now that I have kids, and understand how relatively easy I have it by comparison, I believe it is just as important — if not more — to continue to stand with my gay friends and family and to show my own children that indeed love is love.

Large crowds make me uncomfortable, and you often won’t find me at large marches or protests, even if they are for causes I support in other ways. I am also vary weary of hostile opposition, and the mama bear in me wants to keep my kids away at all costs. However, I make an exception for gay pride and related events, because, my experience with them is always positive and enlightening. 

I have taken both of children to Pride Month events since they were little, including the famous NYC Pride Parade. They loved seeing all of the colorful floats and elaborate costumes, and of course dancing to all of the fabulous music. However, the other day at a local Pride event, I truly saw the importance of being there with my family.

My firstborn son is now old enough to understand and be aware of the many different types of families who make up the rich tapestry of humanity. Recently, he has been asking questions about why boys might wish to be girls, or simply wear clothing typically associated with females. I prefer to be as honest as possible with him, but verbal explanations often fall short. Taking him to an event where people might not be dressed or styled according to gender binaries was a great way to show him that lots of boys wear dresses.

True to form, the local Pride festival featured lots of people dressed in ways my kids don’t see everyday. There were men in skirts and women with body hair and leather jackets. A few were even featured in a drag show with one of the best renditions of “It’s Raining Men” I have seen in a long time.

While seeing a drag show with both male and females crossing gender barriers might be a bit unusual for my kids, face painting, bubble blowing and sandbox playing are all typical kids’ activities. The event included these activities and many more things you might see at any family-friendly fair. Children laughing and having fun are common at Pride events, because LGBTQIA events are joyous affairs. You can’t help but feel wrapped up in all the love.

My favorite part of the day was seeing my son proudly march in the parade. His bright spirit was a hit with the crowd, and he even pepped up a few of us more sluggish walkers.

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I knew my son would have fun regardless of what the reason behind the parade was, and I wasn’t sure how much he would pick up. However, my son is very bright and listening even when you think he isn’t. Later at home he started echoing a chant he had heard on the march: “Two, four, six, eight … Why don’t we deserve a cake?” Without getting into the specifics of the recent Supreme Court ruling, I used this as an opportunity to talk about how some people do not agree with gay unions. He then promptly told me that everyone should get a giant cake, which is awesome.

As for my little guy? Just give that kid a rainbow flag and he’s a happy camper.

How are you celebrating Pride Month with your family? Share your thoughts below.

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