You see me wearing my rainbow PROUD MOM t-shirt and may think to yourself – well, I’m a proud mom too!
Most of us are proud of our kids, and for good reason. In the age of quarantine, maybe your teen helped a younger sibling with their homework or posted a message of support to a frontline worker. Perhaps your child worked really hard on their online assignments and got that elusive A.
There are countless reasons to be proud of our children. So why, as the parent of a gay son, should I be any prouder of him than I am of my so-called heteronormative daughter?
I am proud of Joe for being able to be true to himself and comfortable enough with his sexuality to not have to hide it from the world around him. I am proud that I can wear the rainbow shirt and send an unspoken message of solidarity to other parents who may not feel as comfortable with a public affirmation of a gay child.
Most would agree that every child, every person for that matter, deserves to be their authentic self. Pride month celebrates this for the sometimes marginalized LGBTQIA+ community. For those of you unfamiliar with the letters, they stand for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersexual, Asexual. The + is for anyone else who may not fit into one of those categories.
Ways to celebrate Pride month
So how about celebrating Pride month this year? With most Pride parades canceled, here are 5 easy ways you can put a little Pride into your June and show support for the gay community:
Social Media Pride:
Change your FB profile pic to a gay-friendly design. Facebook makes this super easy with their Pride frames; simply select “Add Frame” when clicking on Profile Picture. This shows solidarity and strength when so many of us are feeling isolated and weakened. Never has it been easier to show the world your Ally status.
Consider posting a supportive photo on Instagram with a corresponding hashtag like #pride #pridemonth or #loveislove. Choose a Pride filter on Snapchat for your next #story. Hashtags are universal so that anyone on the social network can view it, click it, and explore. This encourages engagement with the gay community within one’s social media sphere- be sure to check out your favorite #pride2020 hashtag.
Donate to a charity that supports gay youth. One of my favorites is the Trevor project, a national 24-hour, toll free confidential suicide hotline for LGBTQIA+ youth. Queer kids are more prone to depression and mental health struggles -particularly those without a supportive home environment. There are many worthy LGBTQIA+ charities out there – you can check out more here.
Host a Pride party, virtual or within your area’s socially distant guidelines. The rainbow is a universal gay symbol and makes a fun party theme. The rainbow pride flag was first introduced in the late 70’s and the numerous colors stand for light, healing, sunlight, nature, serenity, spirit- things we all surely need right about now. You may have seen rainbows a lot during the coronavirus pandemic, as it is also a universal symbol for hope and happiness. In my neighborhood, numerous people put rainbows in their windows to comfort children and adults alike who may be passing by. Even Kermit the Frog can appreciate the power of a “rainbow connection”.
Watch an LGBTQ show. My son and I recently watched The Half of It on Netflix, a queer coming-of-age flick. Love, Simon is a good movie that explores teen same sex relationships within a secular family unit. Orange is the New Black features numerous gay characters and is definitely binge-worthy. Including queer-friendly shows in your media diet can help normalize topics that you may be unfamiliar with.
Take your pride online! Plans are in place to hold a rolling 24-hour online Global Pride on June 27, the anniversary of Stonewall. These riots are widely considered to constitute the most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for gay rights in the United States. Global Pride will feature musical performances, speeches, and other Pride-related content each hour.
However you decide to celebrate, wishing you a Happy (and Healthy) Pride Month!
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Shari Bender has authored numerous parenting articles, drawing on her experiences with her now grown children. She earned her BA in Communications from Stanford University in 1992 and currently works as Communications and Marketing Director for a large electrical firm on Long Island. Shari is a cat-loving spiritual vegan who is excited to embrace her empty-nesting along with her husband of 27 years.