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Full Taylor Ferry on Ferry after Seattle Pride 2016 1
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It’s June, and that means schools getting out, summer plans are being finalized and it’s Pride month. It’s rare that we share anything very specific to being a part of the LGBTQ community, but I think that particularly this month it’s important to talk about and share. Here are 10 reasons why Pride matters both to our family and why it should matter to you.  Pride Checklist at the end!!!

Note: I wrote this article because I too need to be reminded of the importance of Pride 365 days a year. Too often I catch myself making snap judgments about my own community and that’s not okay. This post is just as much for me as anybody else reading it.

Pride brings comfort and safety

I’m starting here for a huge and very present reason in my life. We live in a small town and don’t know very many people despite having lived here for years. We aren’t often all seen together in our town because there’s not a ton to do together here. Since starting our oldest in public school we’ve started having activities that are for the whole family. And it feels like we’re the only family like ours.

The first reason why pride matters is because everybody should feel comfortable and safe being themselves wherever they are. For us, that means going to our kids’ school functions as a family. I had a lot of anxiety when I took the kids to a school event knowing that Chris would arrive late and our secret would be out.

Why would I care about this? Because nobody likes to be stared at, and no matter how long I’ve been out or how long we’ve been married, I feel like there are always eyes. It could very well be that nobody cares, but I was conditioned my whole life to be disgusted by gay people and breaking that frame of mind is difficult. Pride matters because being present and active in your own life is the only way to become comfortable with who you are and living your best life.

Note: this is actually why started 2TravelDads. At the time there wasn’t another LGBT family travel blog and we had questions about safety and finding welcoming places.

Pride raises awareness

“Awareness? I think everyone knows gay people exist…” Sure, you’re right, but I’m talking about self-awareness both for closeted LGBTQ people and those who don’t support us. One reason why Pride matters for everyone is because it is a space and time where others are more aware of their own behaviors and how supportive they are or are not of our community.

Example: as Pride parades and celebrations grow and more and more LGBTQ allies participate, it shows those who aren’t a vocal supporter of minorities, like our community, that we are a part of their world and are here to stay, making positive progress for all.

During Pride season, people are more openly shown the good in the world and that a.) they can be a part of that good or b.) they need to think about their own views and behaviors.

There is a difficult side to the awareness in Pride season. We’ll actually let you read all about it in this article about harassment. We were severely attacked through a series of threats and online bullying that included everything from name-calling and inappropriate jokes to having direct threats to have the kids taken away. Pride season seems to empower the trolls to be their worst selves. The added visibility and awareness goes both ways.

Normalizing LGBTQ families

Even though there is an amazing online community of LGBTQ parents, people in real life don’t often think of two-dad or two-mom families as being common or having the same life events as hetero families. Another reason why Pride matters is because it provides an opportunity for LGBTQ families to be visible in large numbers.

Small towns may not have many LGBTQ families, but regional events for Pride bring families from all around. If you don’t think there are many same-sex couples raising kids in your area, go to a community Pride event and see.

Note: Not every kid has the exact same family structure at home, including kids with single parents, living with guardians or living in foster care. Between all of the varied family situations AND same-sex parents, this is a great reason to be thoughtful when talking to kids about their families. You don’t know what anyone’s home life looks like.

Pride is an avenue to break stereotypes

It’s funny, but the reason we don’t like to participate in a lot of Pride events is the same reason why Pride matters: celebrating people of every style, love or culture. The last time we went to the Seattle Pride Parade with kids there were all kinds of things happening that weren’t what we wanted to explain to our young children. Pride celebrations include more expressions of life than just marching and sharing that you can face the world without fear.

We don’t identify with the leather daddy culture or the pup/master stuff. We’re not into drag performance. We don’t feel the need to attach overt sexuality to our clothing choices or stroll through the city wearing Speed-os. There’s so much going on at Pride celebrations and even though most of it is totally not us or how we live our lives, it’s important for us to be present and celebrate the freedom everybody else has to be who they are.

Note:  at the beginning of this article I called out my own prejudice about Pride and many people within the LGBTQ community. Participating in Pride activities helps me get over myself. I’m no better than anybody else, and wow, if I don’t admire the bold openness of others, what am I even doing sharing anything about our own lives.

Too many people view Pride parades and celebrations as public debauchery and flagrant secularism. There is indeed a lot of fun and craziness at the different festivals and parties that may happen in different cities, but there are also street fairs showcasing LGBTQ artisans, family events to bring gay parents together, parades for EVERYONE to enjoy together. Celebrating the incredible diversity is what it’s all about.

Recognizing LGBTQ history and progress

Having a whole month dedicated to Pride with ongoing events and celebrations is incredible, especially considering how not so recent history would never have thought the LGBTQ community would be able to live openly, freely and happily. Pride matters because countless people have lost their jobs, families and lives to be able to live in peace with themselves.

Also, despite the current administration trying to roll back the clock or LGBTQ rights and protections, progress is being made daily, and that’s to be celebrated. With each progressive law, new representation in television and film, with each elected leader from our community taking their post, history is being made.

Note: participating in Pride events is a great way to meet your local leaders, both who are a part of the LGBTQ community or are allies/advocates working on behalf of us all.

2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising in New York City. At that time, only fifty years ago, people weren’t OUT and violence and harassment was a normal occurrence with minimal legal protections of any sort. Today, we can live out and proud, having completely different lives than those who paved the way for us. We can hold hands, dress how we want, have families, and for the most part do so without fear. A lot of brave women and men fought for that and what we have today is thanks to them.

A huge reason for celebrating and why Pride matters is so that their struggles are not forgotten and to help progress continue.

Instilling confidence in LGBTQ youth

Growing up in a conservative Christian household, I had no example EVER of what a well-adjusted or even openly gay person was like. The only knowledge I had of anybody LGBTQ was just the people I’d hear my parents talk about either in hushed tones or with slurs and judgement. Growing up I felt more alone and messed up than I could ever express.

Today, being out and living life with pride, I hope that kids who are growing up like I did can see our family and gain a little hope and confidence that they can find peace and happiness some day. I hope that by sharing our journey of starting a family and traveling others, both younger and older, can challenge their comfort levels and live a more full life.

If I had any example or exposure to the real LGBTQ community when I was younger, no doubt I would’ve been more confident to confront my family and put off the shame they’d been instilling in me my whole life. I would like to think we get to be that example today.

Celebrating Pride and the events that surround it in different cities a great way to support the next generation of LGBTQ youth. Pride matters for providing opportunities for kids to have a safe place to express themselves and be embraced by a community. As I said before, many gay kids grow up not being accepted. If there’s one thing that will make you feel on top of the world and ready to take another brave step it’s being cheered on by supportive people.

Between the general vibe of Pride happenings and giving positive attention to youth who don’t often get that sort of visibility, for youth why Pride matters is to give strength for future battles they will have to face.

Rainbows and inclusivity

Education. I read a comment the other day from a man saying that Christians need to take the rainbow back from the gays. Okay, you do that. His statement was that the rainbow is a reminder that God won’t flood the earth again and that the gays need to be washed away with a great flood. That’s not cool in any sense. Yeah, the LGBTQ community has taken that rainbow as a symbol and turned it into something amazing: inclusivity.

A lot of people don’t know that the rainbow flag actually has a bigger meaning than colorful happiness. And did you know that there are several versions of the LGBTQ rainbow flag? It’s true!  Here is what each of the original six colors of the rainbow flag means:

 

Red Life
Orange Healing
Yellow Sunlight
Green Nature
Indigo Serenity
Violet Spirit

Note:  there are other versions of the Pride flag that include salutes to groups who are marginalized even within our own community, so you may see additional black, brown, pink or blue stripes, or even a triangle. 

Living Pride 365 is an example for kids

In addition to supporting the rest of our community, taking part in Pride and living it is so important when we consider our own kids. We need to be an example to them to show them how to be a part of something bigger. Teaching the kids to support what’s right and good and means something can be difficult, but Pride is the perfect avenue for that.

Also, we don’t know if our kids will grow up to be gay or trans or something. It’s our job TODAY to show them that we will be supportive of who they are in any scenario, whether that be in their grown up personhood, education, or career choices. There’s so much uncertainty everybody must face as they grow up, and showing the kids now how much we love them and living out our own truths is the best way to help them develop into strong, kind people.

Suggested reading: if you want to read an interesting article by our friend Frank from Family is About Love, he openly shares his own fears of “what if my kid grows up to be gay?”

Even though we are gay dads and have found incredible happiness, because of the world we’ve grown up in, we still have that fear looming in the back of our minds, not because of shame, but because we know what a struggle it is and how horrible people can be. No parent wants their child to face unhappiness and undue trials, but the reality is that showing we support them now is the best way to prepare them.

Pride matters for LGBTQ businesses

I love checking my email in May and June because it’s fraught with notes from brands asking to send us Pride stuff or feature us in an article or something. Where are these brands and companies the rest of the year? True, a lot of brands do year round work to support LGBTQ rights and hire diverse staff, but it becomes really clear during Pride season that they have a gap in their support and need to scramble.

Note: I’m not sharing this out of bitterness or snarkiness, but out of sheer observation of our own blog contacts and discussion in LGBTQ groups. Many brands that don’t feature same sex couple or gay families any other time of year are eager to work with us come Pride. Perhaps we’d say yes to partnering with more of them if they wanted to be visually inclusive all year long.

But this brings us to supporting the brands and business that are doing good and working for change all year. Pride 365 is our view, and when it’s Pride season you see who is actively participating in events and sponsoring them. You can tell who’s in it because it’s who they are and how they operate and who’s not. 

Pride events, big and small, are also a great way to meet local small business owners and operators that work to support LGBTQ rights and progress. You don’t have to be sponsoring a Pride parade float to be a supportive business. From hosting special dining nights in restaurants to donating a few small wares or baked goods for larger events, there are many easy ways to find brands and businesses putting their money where their mouth is.

BIG THANK YOU to one of our sponsors, Best Western Hotels & Resorts. They consistently stand behind the LGBTQ community, and this year are working with us through the whole year to help other families like ours discover new destinations. We’re filming a web series with them around the country finding fun new places that are LGBTQ inclusive and it’s amazing.

Fun and celebration as a community

The last reason we’re sharing regarding why Pride matters is because it’s important to have fun and bond as a community. Fellowship is something everybody needs. It brings people to the same level and helps people relax together. Fun activities help people show their non-business side. Community events get families out there together, reinforcing all the points we’ve made above. 

Over the years we’ve seen small Pride celebrations grow. It’s not just big cities on the West Coast having Pride parades now. Small towns are throwing community barbeques, Drag Queen story times, hosting dinners and events to raise money for local LGBTQ groups. Communities everywhere are making themselves known and celebrating together. Be a part of it! We’re excited because our local Pride group, Bainbridge Pride, has grown and grown over the years and they’ve become a vocal member of the community, sharing events and news of the area. Another awesome group: MobPride out of Mobile, Alabama.

Be a part of the celebration, whether you’re a part of the LGBTQ community or an ally, whether your life has been impacted by our struggles through the years or not. Progress and happiness is to be celebrated by all.

Here is a great, easy checklist for you to see some new ways you can celebrate Pride and support the LGBTQ community. Share it around, try to check off an activity each week all year. Rinse and repeat!

There are many reasons why Pride matters, including giving hope to younger generations that need the support to be themselves. 10 Reasons why Pride matters and how to celebrate.

If you have more ideas of how to celebrate Pride and progress, please let us know. Send us a note or leave a comment! If you have any questions about our own struggles or want us to participate in a Pride event, we’d love to chat!


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