A Call to Action for Pride Month: Parents, It's Your Time to Show Up
Members of the LGBTQIA+ community including youth themselves are using every resource possible to fiercely advocate for their rights. We need parents and advocates to be loud allies for progress. Pride needs to happen every day and queer folks—especially our youth—shouldn't have to fight so hard.
This month, the nation celebrates LGBTQIA+ Pride, an annual commemoration of the uprising at the Stonewall Inn in June 1969. While we celebrate and recognize the history, resiliency, and beauty of the LGBTQIA+ community, the struggles of our community will not go away with the month's parades, rainbow wardrobes, and glitter confetti. We need parents, lawyers, and advocates willing to be loud allies for progress. LGBTQIA+ people and youth themselves are using every resource possible to fiercely advocate for their rights. Pride needs to happen every day and queer folks-especially our youth-shouldn't have to fight so hard.
LGBTQIA+ youth need unequivocal support and affirming care and people willing to be the voice for these children when rights are on the line. Queer children and queer parents along with their kids need safe spaces to come out as themselves. The LGBTQIA+ community faces harassment, discrimination, and violence. Queer children are bullied in classrooms and face an increased risk of self-harm and suicide. Transgender children are battling discriminatory bills that deny them access to health care and take away their right to participate in athletics.
These harmful policies are an extension of the dangerous discrimination the LGBTQIA+ community has faced for years. Studies, science, and data all provide proof that LGBTQIA+ youth are happier, healthier, and safer when they have access to social groups and spaces where they can be their authentic selves.
Our truths are denied even when we support those truths with scientific evidence-and so we resort to storytelling. We attempt to show who we are by providing access to our lived experiences. When the queer community is seen as a collection of individual humans instead of merely a group worthy of being outcast, ignored, and othered, it becomes harder to strip away our rights. When straight and cisgender folks are able to find commonalities with queer folks, it becomes harder to sit on the sidelines and watch the discrimination that we face. At least, we hope so.
Our goal with The Parents Guide to Supporting LGBTQIA+ Kids is not to create an LGBTQIA+ instruction manual for parents. The nuance of queerness, the various laws and state regulations around health care, workplace, and housing discrimination, the spectrum of sexuality and gender transition is too varied to offer "how-tos" on how identifying outside of the heteronormative works. There are too many ways to be human to try to encapsulate that. The queer community is not a monolith and shouldn't be treated as such.
Instead, the LGBTQIA+ community is like a prism: when given the proper light, it shines in infinite beautiful colors into a variety of angles.
We are offering information from queer voices and fierce parent advocates on how parents and guardians can shape their conversations around gender, sexuality, and gender expression that burst the heteronormative mold. We created this guide with Born This Way Foundation and The Trevor Project to help parents and caregivers support and nurture the mental health of LGBTQIA+ kids and teens who are vulnerable to depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation. We are opening the closeted doors to bring light to the aspects of our lives that happen to intersect with queerness. Stories about religion, race, health care, education, home and family, mental health, and dating are all captured here for folks to read. We hope readers will question their biases as they learn so they can embrace a deeper understanding of the queer community.
We're trying to help all parents and guardians raise kids who feel proud to identify as LGBTQIA+ or who would be proud to call themselves an ally.
We're here, we're queer. Get to know us.
To learn more, read The Parents Guide to Supporting LGBTQIA+ Kids.
Amber Leventry is a queer, nonbinary writer and advocate. They live in Vermont and have three kids, including twins and a transgender daughter. Amber uses their words to influence and educate people on the importance of supporting the LGBTQIA+ community. They provide LGBTQIA+ inclusivity training online and in person. Follow them on Twitter and Instagram or at their Facebook page Family Rhetoric by Amber Leventry.