Celebrating Pride Month with Young Children

Happy Pride

My children are 5 and 2, and this is the third year we will celebrate Pride Month as a family. Each year we read Pride-centered children’s books, and we craft our own rainbow flags to send to our LGBTQ+ friends. 

My personal journey with inclusivity has been a process. I am grateful for the encounters that have led me to freely love and accept everyone as they are. 

I grew up in a small, conservative, southern town. After high school graduation, several of my close school and church friends came out to their friends and family as openly gay. All but one of them moved away from our small town. I witnessed estrangement from their families, judgement from those who had been friends with these individuals while they were assumed to be straight, and shaming from the church. I have also witnessed multiple marriages that ended in divorce because one partner was hiding their homosexuality in a heterosexual marriage — not because they were trying to be hurtful, but because they thought they had no other option for acceptance in society.

Fast forward a few years to grad school. I met one of my very best friends, who is gay. We became so close that once a month he would come over for what we deemed “family dinner night” with my husband and me. These family dinners continued after our first child was born. We had discussions about sexuality that I had never had before. I realized that my viewpoint had been largely uneducated and misinformed. I began to understand homosexuality in a different way because of my friend’s brave stories.

We celebrate Pride in our family because we cherish and honor our LGBTQ+ friends and their beautiful families. I never had to hide who I was from society for fear of being ostracized. So I wave my flag and proudly celebrate those who have overcome far greater struggles than I will ever fully comprehend. 

We celebrate Pride in our family because historically we would not have been able to in the past. Many heroes have broken ground and paved the way for new generations to live freely as themselves. They have earned all of my respect and gratitude. 

We celebrate Pride in our family because we love everyone. In our family, love is expressed through kindness, generosity, and advocacy. As the saying goes, hate has no home here. 

We celebrate Pride in our family because I refuse to let my children grow up sheltered from the subject. In our home, talking about sexuality is not taboo or uncomfortable. When we tell our children they can come to us with anything, we mean it. 

We celebrate Pride in our family because while my children are too young to know their sexuality right now, they will be loved, accepted, and valued for whoever they were created to be. Full stop. Our love and devotion to them are unconditional. 

My husband and I have a goal as parents that our children will not have to “come out” to us unless they feel it would be meaningful to them. We hope to be so in tune and open to who our kids are that we would already be aware of their sexual preference, and our acceptance would be no different whether gay, transgender, non-binary, or straight. 

Always be learning and growing. If homophobic messages have been passed down to you either generationally, culturally, politically, or religiously, please challenge those biases. Do your own research, your own thinking, your own finding. Be brave enough to picture yourself in another human’s place, and hear their experiences without judgment. May our default be mercy, love, and kindness.

Favorite Pride-themed children’s books

These are a few of my family’s favorite children’s books for Pride Month — I have learned as much or more from these stories as my children have.

Make your own rainbow flag

Supplies:

  • Smock
  • Water cup
  • Paper
  • Paintbrush
  • Paint — red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, light blue, pink, white
  • Glitter
  • Marker

Instructions:

  1. Turn your piece of paper horizontally. 
  2. Starting at the top of the paper, paint a red stripe about one inch thick.
  3. Continue painting one-inch stripes of every color until you have covered the entire paper.
  4. While the paint is still wet, sprinkle glitter over the paper.
  5. After the paint has dried, use your marker to write a fun message: “Happy Pride,” “Love Wins,” “Love Is Love”!
  6. Hang your flag in a place where it might continue to strike up conversations with your children. Or mail it to your LGBTQ+ friends and family to let them know of your support. You might just make their entire day.
Shannon is a native Texan who first visited Boston in 2012 with her now-husband, Ben. Shannon and Ben immediately fell in love with New England, and it was during that trip that they knew they eventually wanted to raise their family in the Northeast. Fast forward to 2018, and Ben accepted a job as a Photographer/Director at a Boston ad agency. They said goodbye to Texas and moved to Woburn with their pup and daughter (2016). Oh, and Shannon was 6 months pregnant with their son (2018). Shannon holds her License and Masters degree in Social Work, and in the past has been a Case Manager to the homeless population, as well as a School Social Worker. She currently stays home with her two littles, and teaches online ESL courses through VIPKid. Most weekends, you will find The Gibson family traveling and exploring all that New England has to offer. Yes, Please: kindness, coffee, dessert, the beach, phone calls to her mom, antique stores, Target runs. No, thank you: passive-aggressiveness, sweet tea, clutter, sleep deprivation, shoes my toddler can’t put on herself, squeaky playground swings.