Published Date: 06/24/20
June is pride month and rainbows can be seen everywhere, celebrating the LGBTQ+ community, spreading the message of love and acceptance. Children are very curious beings and they might have some questions about Pride Month or all of the beautiful rainbows they see everywhere. We all strive for a better world and pride month is a really fabulous opportunity for people to be proactive in raising kind children who love and accept others but parents and caregivers might struggle finding the right words to talk with their little ones about the LGBTQ+ community. As creator and speaker Lindsay Amer said, “Talking to kids about gay stuff is actually crucial.”
Who is Lindsay Amer? Lindsay is a creator and activist who writes, produces, and co-hosts a LGBTQ+ educational webseries called Queer Kid Stuff which addresses important topics that affect everyone such as body positivity, consent, gender, social justice, and pronouns. One of the unique aspects about this series is that it’s for all ages from toddlers to adults and it even has a super cute co-host, Lindsay’s childhood best stuffed friend, Teddy! Part of Lindsay’s magic is taking complex ideas and simplifying them so that even very young children can understand. Using fun methods such as songs and metaphors, they have created a safe space for children, parents/caregivers, and adults to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community.
Parents might be wondering if very young children need to learn about gender and queer topics but by the age of four, children already have a solid understanding of their gender identity according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Exposure to diversity is important to raise loving children. Teaching children about gender, diversity, and queer topics can help children to better understand themselves as well as be a sensitive classmate, neighbor, and friend to others who have different thoughts and feelings. It’s important that we help break gender stereotypes to raise strong, confident children. Colors and toys don’t have a gender. Boys shouldn’t be taught that they can’t cry or that it’s an insult to “throw like a girl.” Girls shouldn’t be taught that they should play with dolls while the boys get the cool building toys. Girls are strong and intelligent and should know from the very beginning that they can do and be anything. Little boys are often raised to be strong but they should also know that they can be sensitive, like the color pink, and play with kitchen playsets. Imagine if Chef Gordon Ramsey was taught to stay out of the kitchen because of his genitalia? Even now, many women seem to take on the majority of raising the children, cooking, keeping up the home, but oftentimes, they also do it while working. Imagine if men felt just as responsible for taking care of their children and helping out around the home? It shouldn’t feel like such a rare thing for that kind of relationship.
Children should also know that not all families look alike. Many romantic relationships are not between a man and a woman. Not all families have a mother and a father. Some children are raised by a mom and dad while others are raised by a grandparent, two dads, two moms, a mom and dad as well as step-mom and step-dad, and all families should be viewed as the social norm because after all, what is normal? Everyone is different and that should be celebrated. On QKS, there is a lot of discussion about community, family, and love. This is crucial because the LGBTQ+ community has a much higher rate of suicide and if we can open the dialogue and show compassion, we can all actually save lives. Everyone deserves to feel loved unconditionally and accepted for who they are.