June is Pride Month, the perfect opportunity to open up conversations with your children about LGBTQ+ topics. Whether you’re part of the community or actively raising a family of little allies, Pride isn’t just an event, it’s an ongoing effort to recognise, accept and celebrate love in all its forms. After a year of lockdowns, it feels more important than ever to open up to the people around us and to raise our children in a society that champions this ethos. To make this easier, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite ways to bring Pride into your home, this month and beyond.
More than rainbow flags and parades, Pride is an opportunity to celebrate everything that the LGBTQ+ community has achieved, and to also acknowledge how far there still is left to go. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), “An estimated 1.4 million people aged 16 and over in the UK identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) in 2019.”, a number which rises every year. I think we can all agree that that’s a lot of people; however many of the biggest changes for the LGBTQ+ community have only happened in our lifetimes (with hopefully more to come in the lives of our children.) While your children may be too young to attend any big parades or protests, you can still celebrate at home. There are plenty of books and TV shows that normalise the equalities and freedoms that many groups all over the world continue to fight for, in a way that little ones can understand.
Some of our favourite books include:
- Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love: the story of a little boy who sees a group of mermaids and realises he wants to be one of them, a beautiful celebration of individuality and self-confidence.
- Love Makes a Family by Sophie Beer: takes the readers through all the ways that love exists, a colourful tale which emphasises that it really is love that makes a family.
- And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell: tells the story of a pair of male penguins who live in a zoo and begin to care for a rock as if it were their egg.
- Elmer by David McKee: meet multicoloured Elmer the elephant, whose story has taught generations of children that it’s best to be yourself.
Some of our favourite children’s TV shows include:
- Arthur: the 22nd series of this long-running children’s cartoon opens with elementary school teacher Mr Ratburn’s wedding to his partner, Patrick.
- Adventure Time: beloved animated series, peppered with queer themes and characters.
- Spongebob Squarepants: in 2020, Nickelodeon officially confirmed that the Squarepants is indeed a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
Learning tools like these are a great way to normalise diversity and to raise your children in a loving, supportive family environment. As they get older, you can continue to include LGBTQ+ history and culture in your child’s everyday life. For example:
- History: include LGBTQ+ figures and events. Start this month with the origins of Pride Month, introduced to commemorate the first anniversary of the Stonewall riots across New York and other major cities in the USA. Initiated by bisexual activist Brenda Howard, these events recognise and celebrate how LGBTQ+ folks have positively impacted the world as we know it.
- Music: throughout history, members of the LGBTQ+ community have produced some of our favourite songs and it’s only right that we celebrate the joy that they have brought us over the years. While your children are definitely too young to go out dancing, bring the party home with a kitchen disco or pre-bedtime boogie.
- Current Events: this one is very simple, if oppression or discrimination against members of the LGBTQ+ community come up in the news, talk to your kids about it. Make sure that they understand that it is never appropriate to treat people differently based on their sexual or gender identity, ask them how they feel and reassure them that yours is a house of love and respect.
As your children get older and become more aware of themselves and the world around them, Pride may become even more important to your family. Studies show that young people who grow up in a supportive, open environment grow up to be emotionally stronger and more resilient adults. They have a greater capacity for empathy and enjoy higher levels of happiness in their lives, who doesn’t want that for their child? We look forward to seeing how you’ll celebrate Pride this year on social media. Don’t forget to follow us @My1stYears on Instagram!