More than ever it’s important that families go to Pride, events. That kids go to pride events.
But why? If Pride is a protest why should families attend?
Pride Is Educational
One argument against it is that Pride is not family-friendly but I find that people who are making that point are often unwilling to have important conversations with their children about Pride and the LGBTQIA+ community as a whole.
There is a certain level of internal homophobia from queer people too, who state the same thing. They don’t want to be like those other gays. You know the ones. Those unsavoury gays that parade around half-naked or in leather gear.
Rhondda Pride just made this error. By trying to make their first-ever Pride event family-friendly instead of being inclusive of families, or kids, making it easier for them to attend and enjoy they, instead, decided to exclude an important part of the LGBTQIA+ community. In saying there could be no leatherwear, no gimp masks, that costumes must be their definition of family-friendly, they’ve become the very thing Pride is supposed to protest. Exclusion.
To ban one group from Pride is gatekeeping – and a stepping stone to other exclusions. It’s a fine line between making something “family-friendly” and being out and out homophobic or transphobic.
These sort of issues are why families need to go to pride.
I get it, some people really struggle to talk to their kids about sex, sexuality and sexual orientation. But that is how we get into these situations in the first place. Sex is hidden away, sexuality is seen as something shameful and people start equating sexual orientation with sex.
People need to have awkward and ‘difficult’ conversations with their kids or we’re never going to move forward.
Pride is part of that conversation. Pride is a great way to start those conversations. A great way to teach kids a million different things school currently don’t teach. That conflation of sexual orientation and sexual activity means that people misunderstand what it means to learn about LGBTQIA+ people and the lives we lead.
I can guarantee you what people assume about my life and how being queer factors is often incorrect. And I’m blogging about it and talking about it and have never really been in the closet.
Families come in all shapes and sizes. But in a rural community, things are a little more homogenous. Not that there aren’t families like mine, we tend to seek each other out but we’re spread apart and Snappy won’t go to the same school as the other LGBTQIA+ families I know. He will be going to a larger school – part of my reason for sending him there instead of the village school was the increased diversity but there is no guarantee any other families will look like mine.
Pride is a chance for families like mine to come together. For kids like mine to realise they’re not really different or weird, but exist like every other family.
I am also keen for Snappy to see other kids like himself, kids that aren’t constrained by gender norms and stereotypes. It’s great for kids who are queer to see kids like themselves, and adults who are queer too. It’s important for them to know that they do not exist in a bubble, that they’re not alone.
Pride Is Fun
More and more Pride events over the years have made the effort to be more family-friendly. More and more events try and include entertainment for kids as well as adults.
Pride Cymru in Cardiff has a whole host of activities I’m looking forward to as well as the pride parade. Everyone who knows me knows we regularly attended both the village and town carnival every year, my wife makes Snappy a costume every year.
Pride Cymru has a family area with Drag Storytime and a Dog Show, a petting zoo, arts and crafts and face painting. I know Snappy is going to enjoy anything with animals, though unless the Drag Queens are reading Thomas The Tank Engine books, he may not be as interested in that (I am all over that by the way, you know I love Drag).
For families like ours, it’s an ideal set up really. We can watch the parade, the afternoon in the family area before heading home exhausted, happy and feeling more part of our community than ever. Everyone else, without small children and anxiety disorders, can carry on well into the night.
Pride Cymru have given us tickets for Saturday’s event in return for this blog post.
All opinions are my own.