Pride is not just a day, a month, or a parade. It’s all day, every day. Pride is acceptance. Pride is owning your truth. Pride is a force for change, and a catalyst for meaningful and important conversations.
After hosting Peanut Pride, an all-day live event on Pods that celebrated the many forms of family, we heard so many pearls of wisdom from our LGBTQIA+ community that we had to note them down.
Read on for a collection of real-life experiences, examples, and advice that LGBTQIA+ families want us, allies, to know.
1. Words matter
Words are powerful - there’s just no two ways about it.
There’s nothing more rewarding than someone using the correct language or asking what your preferred pronouns are. Similarly, there’s nothing more hurtful than hearing offensive slurs or dealing with sly microaggressions. Asking who ‘the father’ in the relationship is, is offensive. Asking who the ‘real’ mom is, is offensive. Saying “father” instead of “sperm donor” is belittling.
So be sure to choose your words wisely because they really matter.
➡️ RELATED: What Not to Say to a Queer Expecting Couple
2. Discrimination starts as early as conception
Conceiving children as an LGBTQIA+ couple is a long, expensive, thoroughly premeditated and difficult process - no accidents here! Whether LGBTQIA+ couples chose to adopt or try fertility treatments like IUI or IVF, they often face institutional and even individual discrimination.
Medical and legal forms, as well as informational leaflets and brochures, often use binary language that assumes the gender and sex of the parents-to-be, which can be upsetting and downright frustrating.
So let’s do better. It’s time to start using inclusive language, and more generally, redefine hurtful and outdated vocabulary that’s experienced throughout fertility, pregnancy, and parenthood.
3. Coming out isn’t a one time thing
Of course, the first time is probably the hardest. Especially if you worry that the people you love most won’t be as accepting as you’d want.
But since coming out once isn’t nerve-wracking enough, as an LGBTQIA+ parent, you often feel like you have to come out over and over and over: to your doctor, to your kid’s teachers, to other parents at school. It’s not easy and it’s stressful not knowing how people will react.
As allies, it’s our job to ensure all LGBTQIA+ families live in communities that recognize, respect, protect, and value them.
4. No reaction is a good reaction
As an LGBTQIA+ parent, you’re unfortunately always prepared for negative or hurtful reactions to your family. It’s the absolute worst. When you become a parent, your skin grows thicker - it’s your child’s skin that you’re worried about. You want to make sure they know that even though their family doesn’t necessarily look like everyone else’s, it’s worthy of dignity and love.
A positive reaction towards your family, of course, is always better than a negative one. But, overreacting and being overly positive can sometimes seem a bit feigned. That’s why no reaction is a good reaction. LGBTQIA+ families are just that, a family. And all forms deserve equal love and respect.
5. Be an ally beyond Pride month
Pride month is first and foremost a month to celebrate love, to celebrate being yourself and to raise awareness and fight for the inequalities that members of the LGBTQIA+ community face in their day-to-day life.
But Pride shouldn’t be the only month to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community. Bring the conversations into your home all year round! Read and watch inclusive content that showcases different families, have important conversations about what it means to be LGBTQIA+, and teach your children about the historical struggles of the movement and the community.
Because love is love. And family is family.