The glorious celebrations of the Pride Month of June just went by. All the communities around the world will be celebrating this month with Pride. As a parent, all this must be overwhelming and you might be curious about how to raise your kids among LGBTQ+ allies while putting up in a heterosexual environment.
Agreeing to this? We get you! I and my husband are both straight, and our self-identified genders naturally correspond with the biological sex we were born with. We are huge supporters of the LGBTQ community, having so many friends from the same community, we love and cherish everyone who is a part of this. It has been extremely important for us that our son is an ally ad a friend of this community.
For someone who does not have a friend who identifies as a part of the LGBTQ+ community, it might be a little hard in figuring out how to start a conversation about being an ally of your child. The perfect way to foster empathy is to empathize with people you love. Keeping all this in mind; we have listed a few ideas and resources for heterosexual parents who are hoping to raise LGBTQ+ allies.
1. Have honest chats regarding sexuality early.
First Tip: Start your conversations about sexuality, gender identity, and sexual preferences in the early years of your child. By early education we mean, there are plenty of books for babies that talk about this topic and ideas on how to break the ice with your children. There are many ways in which people live and love on this planet, the sooner you normalize this fact to your kid, the easier it is.
Many of us have built-in expectations about gender identity and gender performance, as we have been socialized as such. You can always start with the ideas and beliefs you already have and then identify the areas of growth and learning. This is where you should choose the words you’ll be comfortable using with your kids.
Remember that the LGBTQ+ community is way more than just being gay or straight; this community is about a huge range of sexual expressions and preferences, giving all of them equal weight.
2. Recognize if in case your child is LGBTQ+.
When you start having these conversations, it is the best time to realize if your child is a part of the LGBTQ+ community, or if they are interested in exploring these possibilities. The time when your children explore and realize their sexual identity is very important, and if children get proper support in their home (and are raised loving this community of people), they will feel safe while asking and exploring those questions.
3. Challenge gender and sex-based stereotypes.
Well, one thing I know for sure about myself is that I am relentless. A friend once asked me how often we should talk about racism to our 11-year-old son, to which I responded “every day”. They were startled in the beginning, but then I described that someone we know faces racism every day or we watch/read a story or news about racism.
There are other issues like ableism and sexism we talk about, we also discuss bigotry and anti-LGBTQ+ attitudes and beliefs frequently. Such conversations aren’t scary or big about topics and incidents that are tough. More often than not, we’re having celebratory talks.
Usually, people are tempted to bring up such topics when the news “forces” them to. What makes the conversations natural is purposely making them a part of our life.
4. Know and love LGBTQ+ people in your life.
We are not saying that you should befriend the very first LGBTQ+ person you meet, that will be rude, gross, and unfair. What we mean to say is, that your kids see the representation of LGBTQ+ people through books or TV, and that is unjust.
Some individuals live in homogeneous communities, also a lot of us live in diverse communities, wherein people unintentionally choose to be alien to people whom they don’t immediately identify with.
We advise that individuals who have no LGBTQ+ friends should volunteer with an organization that supports LGBTQ+ people in their community. As an individual, you must pledge your time to learn more about this amazing community.
One thing we constantly need to remind ourselves is that our kids don’t learn through osmosis. You can’t assume that your child will be a kind, gentle or good person who’ll be an ally or a friend with people just because you want him to.
The idea of “a good person” is so prevalent that it’s difficult to know what we mean, and we are certain that our definition does not match with other families.
Celebrating diversity with your family is something everyone should do. You should go to events and rallies and support communities that need your support. Make sure your children experience all sides of the LGBTQ+ spectrum.
Don’t just talk about stories of pain and oppression, but also talk about stories of love and joy. Everything you discuss and display to your children impacts them.
Finally: If your family or friends are bigoted and homophobic, your children will notice it. If you want to be an ally, you have to talk to and educate people around you. It is tough to have hard conversations, but if you are prepared with the right facts and knowledge, you are sorted!