For parents, figuring out how exactly to talk to their kids about LGBTQ+ awareness, whether it’s how to support friends and classmates coming out or letting them know they too have support if they're gay, can be something that’s jumpstarted or even improved on as we celebrate Pride Month.
It's important to remember we are all global citizens and should be teaching kids from a young age to challenge ignorance and intolerance. If you're not familiar with the concept, Oxfam explains, "A global citizen is someone who is aware of and understands the wider world — and their place in it. They take an active role in their community, and work with others to make our planet more equal, fair and sustainable."
Take note of the tips from our experts below on how to encourage children to show understanding for all people, no matter where they're from, what they look like, and what they believe in.
1. Teach It from the Start
If you haven’t yet had the conversation with your kids about LGBTQ+ rights, Cath Hakanson, a sex educator and founder of Sex Ed Rescue, says the key to it all is to talk about diversity from the very beginning.
“Talk to kids about the fact that everyone is different and that's OK. Once they understand this message, they are usually a lot more accepting and understanding that some kids might have two moms or two dads, instead of a mom and dad, because they know that diversity is common and OK,” Hakanson said. “This way parents don't need to worry too much about the right words or jargon and being politically correct, because the emphasis is on preparing kids to be accepting and inclusive of all differences.”
2. Take Them to a Pride Event
Let the month of June kickstart your plans to get your kids more involved in the LGBTQ+ community. Asa Leveaux, founder of Queer School, said providing experiential learning is key to having your child become an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community.
“June [often] allows the queer community to have a more mainstream opportunity in towns and cities across the country. I used the approach of taking my son to a gay pride parade so that we could discuss everything that we had talked about previously as well as create a sense of normalcy around a woman holding her girlfriend’s hand,” Leveaux explained.
3. Express the Importance of Kindness
One thing every parent can teach and explain is the importance of kindness to those who might be different than us, something Brian Wenke, executive director of the It Gets Better Project, says is an extremely important lesson to teach kids early on.
‘Discuss with your child the importance of kindness and exercising empathy for those who are different. Many schools now have Genders & Sexualities Alliances (GSAs) for LGBTQ+ students and their allies. Going to a meeting, taking part in an event, showing support on a day of visibility for the LGBTQ+ community, or taking to social media and sharing support are all powerful ways your kid can let their peers know they aren't alone and there are others who care about their well-being,” Wenke said.
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