It’s rare that we share anything very specific to being a part of the LGBTQ community, but I think that particularly with the struggle of the last few years it’s become increasingly 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!!!
For content, 2022 has seen major steps back in public policy in the USA when it comes to progressive thought and ensuring peoples freedom to live their lives authentically. From the “Don’t Say Gay” bill in Florida to Roe v Wade being jeopardized, being vocal and moving forward has become even more important. Not that we have been resting on our laurels, but action and open conversations are key to both progress and fixing what’s been broken.
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.
Why Pride and LGBTQ Celebrations are Important
Over the years, celebrating Pride has grown, not just in numbers within the LGBTQ community, but in popularity. This is wonderful, but also presents a few problems. While we stand by watching corporations selectively jump on the bandwagon for a few weeks, the LGBTQ community has to live our truth and support each other all year long.
Pride Month and celebrations aren’t just about watching drag queens throw t-shirts from a float or buying items with a rainbow on them. Pride matters for many reasons beyond this, is much more than a few events in summer.
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 in North Florida and don’t know very many people despite having lived here for a while. Our old home was a smaller town and we didn’t know any other LGBTQ families like ours.
We aren’t often all seen together in our town because our schedules function half on east coast time and half on west coast time. Add to that the pandemic (yes, it’s still happening) and people not being as active publicly and there are times that we are rather alone.
Since starting our kids in 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 the first time 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 have been 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 LGBTQ family travel blog and we had questions about safety and finding welcoming places. Eight years later and it’s still important.
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.
The second 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.
LGBTQ Awareness, Bullying and Taking a Stand
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.
YOU can support growth during moments of awareness like that by standing up to bullying, whether that be online or in person, violent or verbal statements. Standing up to a bully online is easy and poses zero threat to you. Standing up to a bully in person can be dangerous, but chances are those around you are ready to back you up.
The easiest way to take a stand in your daily life, and not just during Pride season, is to stop the fear-driven conversations around you. Making gay jokes, impersonations, being suggestive with innuendo, all of these things happen continually and don’t even turn heads sometimes. This sort of talk is harassment and can easily be shut down by just one person expressing their discomfort. Awkward to do, by quick with a big, positive impact.
Normalizing LGBTQ Families
Pride matters for normalizing families and individuals that break the heteronormative mold. 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.
The third reason why Pride matters is because it provides an opportunity for LGBTQ families and individuals 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. And this is also why Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill is dangerous for the social and emotion development of K-3 kids.
Pride is an Avenue to Embrace Diversity
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.
Tip: the San Diego Pride Festival is amazing and even has family sections for kids and parents to hang out together. It’s the best Pride celebration we’ve ever been to.
We don’t identify with the leather daddy culture or the pup/master stuff. We’re not into drag performance. We don’t 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. Bravo to those who have reached the level of strength and confidence to share those elements of their lives!
Celebrating Pride is important for showcasing diversity within the LGBTQ community.
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.
2019 marked 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.
Pride matters because countless people have lost their jobs, families and lives to be able to live in peace with themselves.
Also, despite the Trump administration trying to roll back the clock on LGBTQ rights and protections, and even acknowledgement, 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. Today, with President Biden appointing Karine Jean-Pierre as White House Press Secretary, it’s a signal of working to get back on track, as she’s both the first Black press secretary AND the first openly gay person to hold this role. Installing her to this position says so much.
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. You can tell where local leaders stand by if they participate or show up to Pride events vs sitting on the sidelines.
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.
Pride Instills 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. And always at the precipice of an eternity burning in hell.
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.
Celebrating and living Pride shows LGBTQ youth that there is a community for them and instills hope and confidence for a bright future.
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.
LGBTQ Pride: 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 of all.
The rainbow flag actually has a bigger meaning than colorful happiness. It represents the struggle and perseverance of the LGBTQ community.
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:
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.
Celebrating Trans Pride, LGBTQ History and More
Did you know that there are actually more days and structured periods to celebrate different facets of Pride? It’s true! Days and weeks dedicated to raising awareness of groups within the LGBTQ community provide opportunities for everyone, including those of us WITHIN the LGBTQ community to learn about the experiences and listen to others we might not be aware of.
Additional Days of Awareness and celebrations include:
- International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia – May 17
- Bisexual Awareness Week – third week of September
- Lesbian Visibility Day – April 26
- National Coming Out Day – October 11
- Non-Binary People’s Day – July 14
- Trans Day of Visibility – March 31
- Stonewall Riots Anniversary – June 28
There are even more Pride / Awareness days and periods than this, and many specific to different countries. Take these opportunities to learn about and listen to the people around you. Everyone’s story and struggle is different.
Another facet of the LGBTQ community is the Black community. Washington DC and Atlanta both have their own Black Pride organizations and events. As the two longest established groups, they run events year round, with the largest celebrations happening in May (Washington DC) and September (Atlanta). And in 2021, May was proclaimed International Black Pride Month.
Living Pride 365 as 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, 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 face some sort of reality that sets them apart from others. 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.
Living Pride matters because it shows our kids that we will support them throughout their lives, as they grow and become themselves more and more.
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.
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.
2022 UPDATE: It’s May 28th today. In the week (7 days) I have gotten 16 requests to hock Pride goods or post corporate Pride content in the next two weeks. Nope. Do better, people. Plan it out, engage us for more than this month or even more than this one marketing moment.
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 couples or gay families any other time of year are eager to work with us come Pride season. Perhaps we’d say yes to partnering with more of them if they wanted to be visually inclusive all year long.
We love working with destinations that see the value of inclusion, both in welcoming LGBTQ families like ours, as well as portraying our community within their advertising. We loved working with Leavenworth, Washington because it’s been a welcoming destination for us for 20 years. Getting to be a part of their marketing was really special for us… and if you look at the comments in their social media posts it’s visible WHY it’s important that imagery and inclusion like this is VISIBLE. (go see the comments here)
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 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.
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!
Pride is important because it strengthens the bonds within a community.
We’re excited because our local Pride group back in Washington, 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. Here in St Augustine, there is a Pride group now: House of Prism, who does monthly get togethers, from beers to picnics. 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.
LGTBQ Pride Support Checklist
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!
If you have more ideas of how to celebrate Pride and progress, please let us know. Leave a comment or send us a note! If you have any questions about our own struggles or want us to participate in a Pride event, we’d love to chat!