February 18, 2023 marks World Pride’s kick-off, which will be hosted this year by the City of Sydney – a massive honour considering it’s the first time a city in the Southern Hemisphere has been chosen to hold the festivities. World Pride has been taking place since 2000 and is a dedicated time to promote and advocate for LGBTQIA+ human rights. Through performances, talks, protests and parties, World Pride is a time to come together and celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community, while gaining a deeper understanding of the issues that impact them the most.
Why is the word Pride important?
Pride Month is observed in June each year, although Sydney World Pride 2023 will be staged from Friday 17 February to Sunday 5 March 2023.
While the event has evolved into a festival that incorporates celebrations all around the world, Pride began as a response to the Stonewall Riots which took place in New York in 1969. After the Stonewall Inn – a gay bar in Greenwich Village – was raided by police once again, members of the LGBTQIA+ community came together to protest the constant discrimination they were subjected to. These indignities included not even being legally permitted to gather and not being allowed to dress according to their gender identity. On June 28, 1969, the LGBTQIA+ community and allies rioted and Pride was unofficially born.
One year later, a march was staged to commemorate the anniversary of the riots and over the course of more than 50 years, those marches have become annual events all over the world and a chance to embrace diversity and difference while fighting against discrimination.
Sydney World Pride 2023
This year, the theme is GATHER, DREAM, AMPLIFY, which was developed in partnership with Australia’s First Nations and LGBTQIA+ communities. This theme acknowledges the traditional custodians of Australia and represents a commitment to equality and inclusion.
It’s always a great time to speak to your children about Pride and to teach them how to be allies to the LGBTQIA+ community, so if you’re wondering how best to go about it, there are some things to keep in mind. We asked Vanessa Hamilton – sexuality educator and founder of Talking the Talk – to provide advice on how to approach the topic and how to get kids excited about being allies to LGBTQIA+ folx.
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How do you teach children about Pride?
When we talk to our kids about Pride, we offer them an opportunity to learn about love and acceptance – something that is crucial in the rejection of the discrimination that so many members of the LGBTQIA+ community grapple with daily.
Depending on your child’s age, they might come to you with questions when they see rainbow flags everywhere, or if they have a friend whose parents are of the same sex. If not, World Pride is the perfect time to raise the topic with your kids. For example, you could use the presence of the flags to ask your child if you know what they represent.
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Keep it simple
“Conversations about LGBTQIA+ diversity or rights don’t have to be big, heavy,” says Hamilton. “When it comes to explaining these topics in a way that children can understand, let’s remember that being human is complex. We don’t always have to understand everything about another person but we do always have to respect them.”
She offers these points:
Talk about these topics often, in order to normalise them.
Remember that each chat doesn’t have to be a history lesson, just simple information to address what has come up or answer your child’s questions.
Many many small conversations are better than one big one.
Be light-hearted and inquisitive – avoid being serious or intense.
Frame them in ways that are positive, and demonstrate the positive and respectful language you want your children to use when talking about these topics.
Another powerful way to help your children understand Pride is to ask them questions and allow them to share with you things they are already aware of, but may need help framing.
Hamilton suggests using examples from your child’s life and the things happening around them to bring up questions and conversations around Pride.
Did you know that Sydney is hosting World Pride this year? Have I told you about Pride before?
The next round in AFL is Pride Round. Do you know what Pride Round is celebrating?
Do you know what rainbows can represent?
Be willing to learn
It’s perfectly ok to not have all of the answers to the questions your child may ask you around Pride – what’s important is your willingness to find the answers with them.
Says Hamilton, “It is always best to learn from the LGBTQIA+ community; about their experiences, their lives and their history.
“Demonstrate that you also are learning. You don’t need to know everything and it’s good to show your children that this is something you care about learning about too.”
Responding to questions by saying “That’s a great question, I’d love to know the answer to that too – let’s find out together” shows your child that not only is it okay to admit you don’t know something, but that their questions are valued and you are excited about and open to learning with them.
Let them experience Pride events
What better way to show your children the importance and beauty of Pride than by taking them to experience one of the many events that will be taking place? From parades to performances to Drag Story Time, you can help your child to understand exactly why Pride is the perfect reason to celebrate.
Find out what Pride events are near you, here.
Arts and crafts are such a fun way to help children learn and express themselves. You could try making Pride themed decorations for the home or costumes to wear for a Pride event. If your kids are younger you could encourage them to draw pictures of different types of families or what they think fairness and inclusion looks like.
Hamilton also encourages parents to arrange fun activities for them to show their allyship such as
Make a pronoun badge to wear to school or weave a rainbow bracelet.
Getting ready and excited to go to a Pride event by making their own flag or sign to take to a Pride march or a pride sports game,
Doing some Pride face painting
Cooking some rainbow-coloured cookies together
Diversify their library
So much of what shapes a child’s outlook on the world comes from the media they consume. Thankfully, books and tv shows are starting to incorporate more LGBTQIA+ characters and stories so it’s a wonderful time to add some beautiful inclusive books to your shopping cart. Reading these books to your kids and allowing plenty of space for questions is a great way to teach acceptance and that diversity and difference are something to be celebrated.
Hamilton suggests finding books that have positive representations of trans and gender-diverse people. “Positive representations are really important as LGBTIQA+ people are often represented in the media as stereotypes,” she says. “They can be depicted as the victim, or have sad lives (i.e. there are lots of shows/movies where queer people die). Call that out, have them become conscious consumers of the messages they are being fed from the world around them.”
For our top picks of books that celebrate diversity, click here.
Be a role model
Children imitate us – we know this to be true. The best way we can teach our children about the importance of Pride and being an ally to the LGBTQIA+ community is by practicing what we preach.
Pride should be all year
World Pride may act as a natural segue into conversations about equal rights, but these types of conversations should be happening all year round. By creating an environment that not only normalises but celebrates the existence and resilience of the LGBTQIA+ community, we can help our children become allies to encourage their peers to do the same.
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