The news during Pride Month has made me thoughtful about a parent’s role in pride for their LGBTQ child. If pride is the opposite of shame, there are things we can do throughout the life of our child to show pride — regardless of their age or stage.
Something we may fail to think about is the pride of the ordinary. Often parents still working to find their balance let everything focus on their child’s identity and the problems the child may face or the parent’s own fears for their future. Instead, when we talk about our child, we can focus on all the things we have known and loved for years. Is he a scholar, musician, debate club member, or volunteer? Does she dance, participate in student government, produce art, participate in sports? One form of pride is taking in the whole person and portraying that person wholly to our friends and family. Ask about their day to day activities, support their teams and performances, show up at every opportunity and meet other parents and families. Help your child be ordinary.
There’s the pride of welcoming. Opening our home to a child’s friends or companions and providing a safe place to relax shows our acceptance and support. Are we eager and interested in meeting and getting to know their friends? That’s a positive action for any parent but can also show pride in our LGBTQ child. It says we trust their judgement, we want to participate in their lives, we want to connect. Do we ask if they’d like to bring a friend along to an outing? Is there a school organization for LGBTQ we can support or an event where we can show up? Do we reach out to other LGBTQ persons in our sphere – co-workers, neighbors, people we daily encounter — in friendly connection? They get plenty of frowns and stares. We can offer a smile and welcome.
There’s the pride of open conversation, of avoiding the silence that makes LGBTQ topics seem taboo. Discuss positive news stories on pertinent topics, characters you see on television or film that are LGBTQ, or make a positive comment on an LGBTQ person you know or hear about. You don’t always have to talk about your child to show support, noticing and speaking about other LGBTQ issues and events makes it easier for your child to talk with you. In addition, criticize negative examples in the news, TV, or movies. Your child is listening.
There’s the pride of political support, the belief that your child matters enough in society to affect how you vote and where you participate. This might mean considering each candidate’s stance on LGBTQ rights and inclusion, donating to supportive organizations, or calls and letters about legislation. Take your child with you to hear a speaker, watch a debate, or join a protest. While you’re at it, be sure to talk to your child about your actions. Let them know you act on their behalf and on behalf of all LGBTQ.
We are parents, and that role does not end. We can work personally and socially to encourage LGBTQ acceptance. Every action is an expression of pride in our own loved one. Pride Month and Pride activities give LGBTQ individuals an opportunity to reflect on their community and celebrate their identity. They should give parents a reminder that we can take actions to demonstrate our support for our child and each action shows our pride.