Celebrating Differences

Here it comes! The month of rainbows!

Or it certainly seems that way when rainbows is all I can find online when looking for pride songs or activities for young children. Yes, the symbol used for the LGBTQ2+ community is traditionally a rainbow striped flag, to show pride in diversity, but rainbows are not the end of the story! Remember, it’s called PRIDE for a reason and celebrating differences doesn’t have to be narrowed to gender or sexual orientation. People of different cultures, faiths, and races can be LGBTQ2+, or allies, and recognize the benefits of supporting each other to create a more inclusive society.

Pride is an amazing time for anyone to show support for the LGBTQ2+ community, not just with rainbows, but by showing up to events (like parades, when safe to do so) and having open conversations with those who are not allies yet. And like any time of recognition (Black history, Indigenous Rights) it is great to highlight the importance of these events, but also to be cognizant of carrying these ideas forward through the whole year. Have materials in your home that reflect diversity, because normalizing a varied society is a big step towards acceptance. Have open and honest communication with your children to show them that it’s ok to ask questions and talk about it. Check out Queer Kid Stuff on YouTube for songs and discussions appropriate for a younger audience. There is an excellent video about consent!

I asked my brother recently to share his thoughts and reflections on what it is like to be a same-sex couple with a child, and if he felt there were differences between his home life, or parenting, and that of a heterosexual couple.

Overall, his view was that much of the day-to-day is the same. He thought that he and his partner have perhaps a more equal division of household tasks (since as stated in a previous post, women are still doing most of the household chores in an opposite-sex partnership, despite most working full time as well). There are no expectations placed on them as to who should be doing what role in the family and they can choose what feels natural for them. They also are very cognizant of what it means to be a “family” since theirs is consciously created by the adoption of a son, and it is not biology that creates those connections. The birth parents are still in contact with their child and he is very aware of his family dynamic. Because of the “differentness” of their family, my brother and his partner are very open with their son and consequently, his empathy is likely to be very high.

As for gender roles, and gender role-models, it is hard to know if the influence of an opposite gender person is required. My nephew has two very involved grandmothers in his life, and my brother says “it can’t hurt”, but feels no need to seek out a women to teach their son soft skills.

The only difference, my brother observed, is that often people who do not know him well assume that he has a wife; it is not offensive to him, it is just the norm and can happen to any non-traditional family.

Overall, parents everywhere have the same hopes and fears for their children, and in the end, what children really need is love, and that has no gender.

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