When you’re raising kids, certain days are memorable. Birthdays, school events, religious holidays, and family vacations. In our house, Pride season is definitely a part of that list. My kids, both young and old, love going to Pride events. Our kids are quick to invite their friends to go along to Pride events because “Mom always goes.” I end up taking the kids in our family, extended family, school family, family friends, and random other people who come along for the fun.
The kids have special Pride outfits they wear. Their shirts promote love and their colors are usually rainbow. One of my daughters bought her first lesbian shirt at a Pride event. She was a young teen at the time. The shirt was a little provocative. One of my pastor friends observed that as a lesbian, she thought the shirt was amazing, but as my friend, the mom, she wasn’t sure she approved. My daughter bought the shirt anyway and wore it proudly at many events. Even the babies get Pride outfits. The rainbow colors may be a little more pastel, but they’re still festive and promote the intention of the events.
One of the things I’ve found is that for many non-LGBTQ people, Pride events have a bit of a mystery about them. They aren’t sure what to expect. My kids love to tell stories of costumes they’ve seen, performers who impressed, or moments they’ve shared. Most of the time, their stories involve some of the activities or vendors they encountered. For our family, Pride events are expected. My kids talk about how everyone is nice to everyone else and no one feels judged for expressing a unique personality or fashion sense.
For me, Pride is all about being proud of who you how – how God made you. Pride encompasses everything that is good about the LGTBQ community. We come together at an event to show that no matter how much abuse and rejection we’ve seen, love is still there. We join our hearts in a way that says that nothing can destroy what we share together. We are stronger together than we are apart.
Several years ago, I did a presentation on LGBTQ folks throughout history. I talked about the ancient gay couple who was married in the Christian church. I showed the grave of two women who “lived together as husband and wife” in early New England. I mentioned the native tribes who honored more than two genders and respected trans people as being blessed. These were people who were loved and respected as God made them and didn’t have to hide or pretend to be someone they weren’t. They were people who were proud of themselves.
For many us, the memories of abuse, ridicule, and disownment are fresh. We remember the hateful statements and cry for the families and friends we’ve lost. Pride reminds us that we have family in other places. We have family, while maybe not blood related, are heart related. They’ve seen the same discrimination. They’ve felt similar loss. And yet, despite all the heartache, are there to support all of us with their love and acceptance.
For me personally, Pride is a time when I remember the struggle of those throughout time who have fought to be who they were meant to be. They fought to allow my children to claim themselves. They fought to rid our world of the thought that someone else has the right to dictate who we love. Pride is a time when it becomes apparent that all the struggle was well worth it. As I walk through Pride events and see families, couples, friends, and organizations all coming together to support each other and promote the similarities of the community, my heart is proud. I’m proud of all of us for standing up for who and what we are. I’m proud of all of us for loving each other. And, I’m proud of our next generation who is learning to love, despite our differences.
We get better with every generation. For that, we should all be filled with pride.
- Rev. Kelly Crenshaw is the mom of 16 adopted kids, 2 biological kids, Guardian of one adorable toddler, and has been the foster mom of dozens. Some are lesbian, some gay, some straight, and some bisexual. Kelly founded a K-12 day school where kids could have a safe, bully-free environment for learning. She has worked with kids in the foster care system for over two decades, actively advocating for all kids, but especially those in the LGBT community. And, in her spare time, she can be found preaching in some of our area’s most LGBT-friendly churches. Feel free to send your parenting questions to her at Pastor.Kelly@comcast.net.