For those of you who are living under a rock, Pride Month is dedicated to celebrating the LGBTQ+ community. After years of being oppressed and ostracized from society, people from the community finally have the freedom to express themselves, their identity, and their love freely. Although we as a society have a long way to go to completely accept LGBTQ+ folks, there is no denying that we’ve come a long way.
With different platforms on social media talking about Pride Month, your child is bound to be curious about what it’s all about (if they already don’t know). As a supporter of the community and someone who vouches for their equal rights, it’s important that you make your child aware of the LGBTQ+ community. Here are a few things you can do to teach your child about the community:
1. Talk About It
It might be a difficult conversation to have with your child. But do not hold back from talking about it. Instead, explain to your child how there are different kinds of people, gender identities, and orientations. Open discussions are healthy and allow your child to ask you questions when they are curious.
2. Movies, Books, Songs, Stories
Your child has a curious mind. When they watch something on the television or hear something in songs they listen to, it stays on their mind. Therefore, introduce your children to kid-friendly movies that represent people from the LGBTQ+ community. If your kid likes to read, many books are available in the market that speak about LGBTQ+ folks and teach your child about the importance of acceptance.
3. Do Not Limit Your Child
Allow your child the freedom to explore their own identity and do not restrict them to gender norms. For example, if your son wants to wear a dress, let him. If your daughter wants to learn cars, don’t tell her it’s “for boys”. Let them have the freedom to choose what they want without conforming to gender norms. It is all about being comfortable with one’s sexuality without stereotypical feelings that belong to one gender.
4. Be Aware Of Your Language
We are so accustomed to using derogatory terms in our languages that generations have passed on that we don’t realize it isn’t very respectful. Read and keep yourself informed of terms that you should avoid. For example, words like “tomboy” and “drama queen”, and phrases like “run like a girl” and “cry like a girl” should be avoided.
5. Respect To All
Teach your child that respecting every living being is essential, irrespective of which community they belong to. You might even inspire them to stand up for bullies at school who put down kids who are “different”. Respect is a virtue that has to be practiced by everyone, irrespective of age, gender, and caste. If your child is saying something that comes across as homophobic, correct their behavior.
6. Be An Example
It doesn’t matter how much you try to teach your child about the LGBTQ+ community; they will ultimately mirror your actions, not follow your words. You might come across same-gendered parents in your kids’ schools. Do not single them out. Include them in bake sales, parent volunteering, and other activities to show your support and solidarity. You kids will surely pick up from these behaviors and be kind and accepting of them.
7. Learn About History
Just as you teach your children about your cultural heritage and ancient history, teach them about how much the LGBTQ+ community has fought and struggled to reach where they have. Human rights are essential, and it’s good to start teaching your children about them from a young age.
History will let you learn more about the centuries of discrimination and ostracization of the LGBTQ+ community and the struggles they went through. Only through enlightening yourself of the full extent of their sufferings can a person totally understand and appreciate the community. The injustices done to them need to be rectified by us in today’s world and our children, when taught well, would only take this essence to a more fruitful era.
8. Let Them Not Be Limited By Gender Based Roles
Right from a young age, often boys and girls are allotted separate roles. While physical play and adventure-like activities are deemed to be more suitable for boys, household chores are allotted to the girls. This causes a massive bias and difference when they grow up. In today’s world such dichotomy needs to be done away with. Every person needs to learn and practice the essentials or the things they love doing. Let them decide what they want to do instead of making them do something just because of their gender. If your girl seeks solace in hardcore sports and your boy loves sewing or playing house, make sure to encourage their interests.
9. Encourage Children To Not Have A Gender Based Outlook
Similar to the previous point, children should be encouraged to look at anything from a free perspective instead of one which has gender connotations. Be it speech, or stereotypes, social issues or job culture, they should learn to view everyone as equal and not judge solely from what the person’s gender is.
10. Empathy And Support
More and more people are finding the courage to come out of the closet and accept their own identity. It might happen that your own child one day gathers the courage to come out and tell you about it. Now parents do love their children but the revelation by their children might baffle them and make them say something that they wished they didn’t. So, it’s better that parents are mentally prepared for their children to express themselves freely to them and they are prepared in giving their children their full support and care.
You might be hesitant to discuss these topics with your kids. But it’s high time that you take that step and teach them about the LGBTQ+ community. In today’s day and age, it’s not wise to choose ignorance over knowledge, and as parents, you must keep your kids aware of important topics such as these. The time is now — break barriers and stereotypes! Have you talked to your kid about the LGBTQ+ community? Let us know in the comments below!