Guest post by Author Afsaneh Moradian
As the proud parent of an LGBTQIA+ child, there is no greater excitement than Pride month. For 30 days people hang Pride flags, hold events, and post all over social media how much they love and support the LGBTQIA+ community. It’s a validating and confidence-boosting time for my child and so many others.
The challenge is how we show LGBTQIA+ kids that they are loved and supported all year round, especially when they face higher rates of bullying from their peers. For us parents, we can’t wait until Pride month comes around each month. We have to advocate for our children to be included and respected in spaces all of the time. In order for our kids to be safe, we need other adults to join us in creating inclusive spaces where our kids are seen, heard and celebrated for who they are.
Here are three simple things adults can do that have a meaningful impact on supporting the LGBTQIA+ kids in your life:
- Use a child’s preferred name and pronouns. There is nothing more validating than having your name and pronouns used correctly. On the flip side, calling someone by the wrong pronoun is devastating. It’s telling the person that who they are is wrong.
It’s not always clear what a child’s (or any person’s) pronouns are. The kindest way to find out is to introduce yourself with your name and pronouns and then ask the other person. If you don’t remember, it’s better to ask the person to remind you of their pronouns rather than make assumptions and use the wrong ones.
- Read gender-affirming and inclusive books to your kids. We know how much representation matters and how important it is for kids to see themselves in the books they read and we read to them.
Making sure there are picture books and chapter books with LGBTQIA+ characters in your local library, classroom library, and home library is a key way for LGBTQIA+ children to feel seen and respected. It’s also a wonderful tool for having discussions about pronouns and how to use the singular they with adults and other children.
- Participate in family-friendly LGBTQIA+ inclusive events. Showing up and having fun is a wonderful way to show your support. Check out your local calendar of events to see if there are readings for children, sing-a-longs, picnics, and other outdoor events taking place in your area. If you’d like, you can contact one of many organizations to find out how you can plan your own small events for the children and families in your life.
From waving Pride flags to supporting LGBTQIA+ picture book readings, there are many ways to show your support for kids who need it now more than ever.
Afsaneh Moradian is a homeschooling coach and the author of Jamie is Jamie: A Book About Being Yourself and Playing Your Way; Jamie and Bubbie: A Book About People’s Pronouns; Jamie’s Class has Something to Say: A Book about Sharing with Grown Ups as well as the teacher’s guide for the series, all published with Free Spirit Publishing.