Celebrating Pride as a family is a great way to show your child how to support and love others.
Barcroft Media/Barcroft Media/Getty Images
How To Celebrate Pride As A Family

Because love and support and representation is for every member of your family.

by Cat Bowen

Celebrating Pride becomes so acutely important once you have a child. You’re not just celebrating your own liberation as a queer individual, but you’re also showing everyone, from your children to the outside world in general, that your family exists. And for allies, celebrating Pride as a family tells your friends, your family, and your children that you support the LGBTQIAP+ community. That you support them, love them, and are there for them in all the ways you are meant to be.

It’s a fun and lighthearted time, but as a queer person with a queer child, I can tell you that it’s deeply meaningful, and showing your kids that you support the community is a critical step in raising accepting, inclusive children. None of us know if our littlest kids are going to be straight, gay, ace, or otherwise, but by celebrating Pride, we are telling them we are a safe place for them if they are. And there are so many ways to celebrate Pride with your family that you might not have even thought of. Not to worry, because I’ve compiled a list of ways for you to do that very thing, ranging from the super silly, to activities that are educational, introspective, and definitely liberating.

Don’t overthink it. Just be there for people, whether they are a part of your family or not. And show your kids why it’s important that they be there, too.


Obviously, A Parade

Courtesy of Cat Bowen

I cannot, in good consciousness, start this list without mentioning the parades. In our family, we generally stick to the smaller parades in the outer boroughs of New York City, but in 2019, we went to World Pride in Manhattan.

Pride parades are a special thing. They are wildly queer. You’re going to see people in gold thongs covered in glitter, lesbians on motorcycles, drag queens on roller skates, tons of beads and boobs, and it’s all gloriously gay. Personally, I have zero qualms with taking my kids to Pride. It’s fun, it’s an active protest, it’s educational, and there are usually a ton of queers who hand out stickers and small flags to the baby geighs.

A word to the wise is to bring snacks. OMG bring so many snacks. Also, sunscreen, water bottles, and write their number on their arm in Sharpie, just like you would for any protest or parade. Also, let them make their own sign for the love of Dolly. And you’re the parent, you can say no to glitter in your house.


Books, Books, & More Books

Reading books with LGBT characters is a great way to celebrate Pride. Kinsey Gidick made an amazing list of these books for parents, and let me tell you, your kids will bring them to you all year long — as they should. But right now is a great time to stock up on these books and consciously expand your library. You can talk about big moments in gay history; read joyful stories about gay, transgender, or non-binary characters; and just fuel representation on their bookshelves.


Learn Through Art

The Leslie-Lohman Museum has a wonderful curriculum that makes LGBT art and art history approachable and actionable for grades K through 12. There is so much in the queer art world that even we don’t know about, and our children certainly don’t.

The online program focuses on art and identity, art and activism, and art and history, and it’s a great way for the whole family to learn together.


Two Words: Rainbow Cake.

Melanie Dawn Harter/Moment/Getty Images

OK, making a rainbow cake looks terribly hard. I’m here to tell you, it’s not. It’s literally just making a white cake mix, dividing it into six bowls, coloring it with food color, and baking it in batches.

Sure, you could make it from scratch, and I have, and it’s delicious. But if you’re making it with your kids, and not just for your kids, box mix is the way to go. So is pre-made frosting, if you’re not a monster and you buy Funfetti the way the gay gods intended. Loki demands their sacrifice, and that is that you can no longer lick the spoon. You’ve decided to breed and therefore it is now their turn.

Pro tip: weigh the batter and divide by six for the most even layers. And then talk about what the rainbow means for Pride and how important it is.


Make Signs

Signs aren’t just for protests and parades. Making signs and hanging them around the house, in the windows, or the car, is both creative and cathartic. Now, I will stress again, even as a rainbow-loving member of the alphabet mafia, that glitter does not need to be a part of your sign making. Consider alternatives to glitter like sparkly paint, bubble glitter glue, large sequins, sparkly thread — all of these are excellent alternatives to glitter.

Encourage your child to make signs about what Pride means to them. What do they believe Pride celebrates? Help them find the language and imagery to fit their excitement about what it means to celebrate Pride as a family.


Making Waves

Pride is first and foremost, a protest. Writing letters to companies, members of Congress, the Senate, governors, and local officials across the country that are trying to enact articles of legislation that delimit the freedom and protections for LGBT people is a mighty and just way to celebrate Pride. Showing your children how to use their voice for good is one way we can make sure that the next generation is more inclusive and accepting.


Make Dancing Ribbon Rings

Craft duo Buggy and Buddy have the cutest tutorial for making dancing rainbow rings, and it’s just the sort of craft both parents and kids love. It’s not messy, it has a sturdy result, and kids get to tear stuff up to make them. It’s a win all around.


Dance With Pizazz

Flagging is a long-treasured queer tradition that I would hate to see die out. Why not grab some flags and start learning the dances at home? Will you 100% hit yourself in the face with the flag? Yes, but thankfully, it’s only fabric. Plus, it just looks really cool. Who knows? Next year you just might be the ones in the parade.


Watch Pride-Worthy Movies

If you haven’t watched Pixar’s short film In a Heartbeat, you need to get on that. It’s only four minutes long, and it’s pure perfection. After that, try out the short film, Mehndi, and all of Steven Universe, and the new She-Ra on Netflix. They are very kid-friendly, very gay, and come on, She-Ra. Princesses of power with enby characters, gay and lesbian characters? Sign up all the queers because we’re all there on screen, and we have superpowers other than pissing off conservatives. Watching TV shows and movies for Pride is a great way to add representation to your life.


Donate to a Pride-Related Charity

One thing that I try to stress to my children is the importance of giving. They always earmark some of their allowance, just as I do my pay, to give to charities. During Pride, why not research some local queer-affirming charities and give to them, or to a group like The Trevor Project? It’s as important for the giver as it is the recipient, and during Pride, that cycle of need and offering is something truly remarkable, because we’ve always been there for each other.