You celebrate pretty much every major holiday with your kids. Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa? Got that covered. Valentine’s Day and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day? Check and check. Heck, you’ve even painted shamrocks on your face for St. Patty’s Day. But what about Pride? During the month of June, events are happening all over the country... and that means it's time to celebrate Pride with your kids.
Beyond parties and parades (both of which can be super fun and are a great way to be LGBTQ+ friendly), it’s important to participate in Pride as a family. It conveys a message to your kiddos that everyone matters, and that we are all equals. So let’s say that you’re looking to do something beyond rainbow floats with your kids, though. After all, you want to show your children that you’re active proponents of the LGBTQ+ community, and in effect, that you’re all family. You just might not know exactly how to accomplish that.
The activities below are a great way to participate in Pride, and the best part is you don’t only have to do them in June. You can pick and choose from any one of these fun things to do this month and throughout the year to show your support of the LGBTQ+ family.
1. Go To A Parade
Everyone loves a parade, and Pride is no exception. Full of music, fun, love and laughter, taking your child to see the floats is a no-brainer. While all parades are a celebration of love and life, the LGBTQ+ community definitely takes it to the next level. Be sure to look at local listings to find activities in your area, and map out which events would be age-appropriate for your kids.
2. Read Some Books
Turn the bath/book/bedtime routine into an opportunity for your kids to learn more about Pride. When you snuggle in bed with your kids, read some books that tell the tales of the LGBT people. Children’s books such as Julian Is a Mermaid talks about a boy who wants to dress like a mermaid—but his abuela might not understand it. Or for some history, check out Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag, which tells the story of Harvey Milk and how the rainbow flag became the symbol of Pride. Put on their PJ's and read Sparkle Boy by Leslea Newman (it’s about a boy who loves his glam), and Daniel Haack’s Prince & Knight, where the prince falls in love not with the traditional princess—but with the handsome knight instead.
3. Paint A Picture
What greater palette to paint some pretty pictures that celebrate Pride with than a rainbow of colors? Little ones can fingerpaint their way to fun or draw symbolic flags. Parents can even dab some temporary color onto tiny fingers and toes for some super sweet (and supportive) hand and foot crafts.
4. Watch A Movie
Grab some popcorn, and plop down with your kids for a movie night that can open some honest discussions about what it’s like for LGBTQ+ teens in today’s world. Some movies to stream: Love, Simon; Boy Erased; the docudrama Real Boy, and some drag queen comedy classics such as To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything, Julie Newmar, and The Birdcage.
5. Pick A Cause
Serving others can be soothing for the soul. If you or your family are looking for ways to do good, let Pride be your guide and volunteer your services, stuff or cash. The National Center for Transgender Equality helps protect trans troops in the military and creates anti-violence initiatives. Creating a safe learning environment for LGBTQ+ youth in K-12 is the mission of GLSEN. And the Pride Fund to End Gun Violence, which was created after the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, works with gun reform organizations to ensure safety for all.
6. Have A Pride Party
Don’t let the lack of Pride events in your area stop you from celebrating. Have friends and family come over for a day of love and acceptance — and delicious food, too. You can serve up ices, colorful cocktails, and other rainbow-colored treats that will surely have you using up some serious food coloring. Having a party that respects people’s individuality can remind you and your kiddos that love is love.
7. Understand The Issues
It’s one thing to wave a fun flag in support of Pride. But it’s quite another to understand what issues today’s LGBTQ+ individuals are dealing with. Organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) are working hard to protect LGBTQ+ rights. For example, the ACLU wants to ensure a safe learning environment for students where they are respected and have the same freedoms of speech as other students do. And they're also helping people who want to start families do so, regardless of sexual orientation. Check out the ACLU's website (and those of other organizations like it) with your kids and read up on the latest issues together.
8. Wear Your Pride Proudly
You can wear the rainbow proudly, or even dress up your baby in an adorable Pride onesie. From shirts to bandanas, the options are really endless as to how you wear your support. Bonus points if you support retailers who donate a portion of profits to LGBTQ+ causes.
9. Donate To LGBTQ+ Causes
Now your child can put her lemonade stand dollars and cents to good use by donating the proceeds to causes that help the LGBTQ+ community. Not only does it develop her sense of entrepreneurship, but it shows that she's more vested in something bigger than herself — or her piggy bank profits.
10. Teach Them What To Say
LGBTQ+ teens have experienced more acceptance by their peers, but there’s still a long way to go. For example, my daughter has a transgender friend at her school. She and her friends rallied around him when he was in the process of transitioning from a boy to a girl. Today, they call her by her new name, use the proper pronouns (think “she” instead of “he”), and treat her just as they would any other good girlfriend.
11. Sport A New Look
If your child has been begging for some (temporary) hair dye, here’s your chance to play hairdresser. You can use hair chalk or hairspray with some color added to it for a look that will last a few days. But if you want your child’s locks to last throughout Pride (which is the entire month of June), you can opt for a semi-permanent hair dye that will keep her rocking that rainbow for about six weeks.
Showing your support of Pride during June will instill in your children a sense of pride of their own that will last far longer than summer, and encourage them to be more inclusive of everyone all year long.