31 May Bursting With Pride! June Is The Month To Support LGBTQ Communities
For the entire month of June, cities right across America are celebrating PRIDE, hosting parades and parties and neighborhood get togethers to support and participate in gay pride events.
Celebrating PRIDE over the past two years was tricky due to the pandemic. Parades were cancelled or scaled way back. Even families in close proximity postponed gatherings to celebrate PRIDE. Yes indeed, it was a complicated two years, no doubt about it.
So this year it’s time to celebrate!
In this post, we offer a bit of history on PRIDE, and suggest ways you can participate in all the fun and educational opportunities in your community. PRIDE is also a movement to celebrate sexual diversity. Whether someone in your family is a member of the LGBTQ community or not, there are lots of ways you can show support and lend a hand.
A Little Background:
The gay rights movement was lit on fire by the Stonewall Inn riots. Police raided a gay bar in New York City’s Greenwich Village on June 28th, 1969. Individuals there were taken in during a mass arrest, which sparked a public outcry over how gay people were treated. Following that, the gay rights movement began picking up steam, as more and more people began fighting for their rights. It wasn’t only gay people fighting either. Gradually, everyone began to recognize that people of queer communities were treated unfairly in many areas, like employment and the right to marry. In 1970, to mark the anniversary of the raid, Brenda Howard started the very first gay pride parade, which was held in NYC. The parade coincided with many events in support of LGBTQ issues.
How Can You Show Support?
Whether someone in your family considers themselves a member of the LGBTQ community or you are “just” an avid ally, there are ways to show your support. Here are a few ideas, as well as ways you can address these crucial issues with your child when they start asking questions.
1) Attend your local PRIDE parade.
It’s extremely important that people in the whole community show support for PRIDE events like the parade. Put a rainbow flag in your window; take your child to the parade, and cheer and applaud the colorful floats and participants. If your child is too young to fully understand the movement behind the parade, simply tell them you’re supporting everyone’s right to be an individual. Keeping the explanation in simple terms that are age-appropriate is, according to experts, the best way to handle the topic.
2) Explain what LGBTQ stands for.
Before all the events of PRIDE this month, explain to your child what each letter stands for and what they represent. Although children are taught about the civil rights movement all across America, depending on what region you live in, your child may not learn a lot about gay rights in school, including the right to marry and the right to adopt children. Consider picking up a book that helps explain the movement and read it with your child. One excellent book on this subject is: “Stonewall: A Building. An Uprising. A Revolution,” by Rob Sanders, illustrated by Jamey Christoph. This children’s picture book is available at independent bookstores, chains like Barnes & Noble, and online at Amazon.
3) Volunteer and donate to LGBTQ charities.
During June, be sure that you make donations to organizations that help queer causes. For example: donate used clothing to a shelter that helps at-risk youth in any or all of these categories. Make a financial donation too. The more familiar your child becomes with these issues, the more understanding they will be of people who face them.
4) Don’t stop talking just because the parade finishes!
Children need to feel free to ask questions about the LGBTQ movement at any time, not just during June. Let them know they can ask you anything, at any time. If you don’t know the answer to a particular question, admit it and say you’ll find out. Then follow up! Children know if you’re being evasive, so relax, offer to answer any questions they have and get armed with lots of credible and reliable information.
5) If someone you know is queer, ask for guidance.
There is no better source of information about issues facing queer people than someone who deals with them every day. If someone in your family is a member of the LGBTQ community, ask their advice on how to talk to your child. Ask them about everything from activities being held this month to how you can best show support and become active in the movement.
Attending the PRIDE parade in your community is a great way to show support. But there are other ways to get involved in a more ongoing way. Contact any LGBTQ organization in your community and ask how you can help.
Like so many issues in life, the most important contribution you can make starts with reaching out. To truly make a difference, listen and express your support for your friends, family and neighbors!