As if celebrating LGBT Pride Month wasn't important enough, the horrific event that unfolded in Orlando on June 12 has made it a must for everyone — especially parents. I can understand not wanting to take your child downtown to a parade where lots of people are having a lot of adult fun, but if you know how to have your own family-friendly pride celebration, you can still teach your kids the importance of LGBT Pride Month.
If there is one thing I want my daughter to know, it's that everyone around her deserves the same rights that she has. Nobody is inferior to her and no one should be denied life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness because of their skin color, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. If I'm excited to teach my daughter all about African American History Month, then why shouldn't I do the same for LGBT Pride Month?
According to President Obama's proclamation making June 2016 LGBT Pride Month, the celebration has been created for Americans to celebrate diversity and to eliminate the prejudices against the LGBT community in this country. It's a month to unite with each other, to stand up for each other, and to recognize that the differences in all of us are what makes this country so wonderful to live in. Love is love and if you want to celebrate the fact that there are no boundaries to love, that everyone deserves equal dignity and respect, then it's time to celebrate LGBT pride with your kids.
However, it's understandable why the more adult-themed pride celebrations may not be appropriate for your family. But don't let that stop you from celebrating. Invite friends and family over for your own LGBT Pride Month celebration. Start the conversation with your kids about what it means to be oppressed, about tolerance for all, and that a person's sexual or gender orientation doesn't change their character or personality. With all of that in mind, plus these five ideas, you can create a family-friendly pride celebration that will do wonders for your children and you. Your kids are the future, so fill them with love and acceptance for all.
1. Read Books About Pride Out Loud
Books are often your best ally in teaching your children, so stock up on some incredible LGBT-friendly books. Promoting diversity is not hard, so don't think that the books are going to be too much for your little ones. Because they are children's books, they will teach them acceptance in easy-to-understand, fun stories, and your kids will gobble them up.
2. Fill The House With Rainbows
What child doesn't love rainbows? Luckily, they are the symbol of LGBT pride, so feel free to fill your home with them. Just think about the correlation your kids will make between rainbows and love for everybody. Pull out all the rainbow crafts, break out the paint, and let your kids go wild with their own rainbow-inspired clothing. Talk about how happy rainbows make them and how that happiness is achieved for the LGBT community when you love them for who they are.
A quick Google search can you lead you to LGBT volunteer opportunities in your area, but it doesn't have to stop there. Take cases of water to parade areas before they begin so that everyone can have a drink. Pass out rainbow flags during the month of June. Have your children draw pictures or write cards with simple phrases like, "I love you" and "You're important" and send them to an LGBT youth center. There are so many ways you can volunteer and share your love for the LGBT community and it can have a huge impact on your kiddos.
4. Celebrate LGBT In Pop Culture
Your kids need to realize that the LGBT community is not some secret society. They are people that work and play and live right here next to you. They are not to be feared or ignored or avoided — they are simply people. By introducing your children to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, they realize that they are just normal folks. Watch Harry Potter and talk to them about Professor Dumbledore being gay. Watch Modern Family and start a discussion about same-sex parents and non-traditional families. Listen to Sam Smith, talk about Anderson Cooper, watch Ellen — remind them that they can accomplish anything they want, be anybody they want, and do anything they want regardless of who they love.
5. Draw Pictures Of LGBT Families
It may not sound like a big deal, but your kids will remember this. Encourage them to draw pictures of non-traditional families featuring same-sex partners. If they thought it was different before, the act of actually drawing it out will influence their thoughts and help them realize that it's no big deal. Remind them, over and over, that love is love, and then send the pictures to LGBT support centers to help other children feel included.