Photo is of a rainbow Pride flag, because everyone belongs at Pride, even parents of transgender children.

Yes, You Belong at Pride

ally lgbtq pride Jun 05, 2019

Last June, I attended my first Pride event at Fenway Park, which you can read about here. When I first heard about the event, my first thoughts were about how it was local, familiar, and someplace we would all enjoy. I bought the tickets, reserved the date, and was excited to spend time with my family, support the LGBTQ+ community, and celebrate Pride Month. 


Then, I began to second-guess myself. Tell me you do this too. 


I wondered if my husband and I belonged there. What if the organizers intended only for LGBTQ+ people to attend? Was there some protocol that I wasn't aware of? 


You can read about it more in my post, but I became increasingly aware that I come from a place of straight, cis-gender privilege. It never occurred to me until after I bought our tickets if I belonged at Pride. Yet, members of the LGBTQ+ community must regularly consider if any place they choose to enter or any event they decide to attend is safe for them to do so. It was and continues to be a humbling realization. 


I did a lot of research about it because that's how I roll. But that still didn't stop me from worrying when we got there. What if we didn't belong? What if we were separated from my son and his partner and stuck out like sore thumbs? What if, what if, what if? 


I realized a universal truth: we spend more time worrying about what other people think about us than others spend even noticing us. 


We enjoyed the game, the people there were lovely, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a fun, family-friendly Pride Event (maybe skip the pre-game party on the Sam Adams Deck ahead of time). 


If you are an ally and you are considering if you should attend Pride this year, I strongly encourage you to do so. If you are worried about going alone or bringing your kids, don't be. Here are some things to think about before you head out: 


What do you want from the experience? Do you want to be a participator or an observer? You could watch from the sidelines or march in a parade. You may want to carry a sign. What might it say? You could show your support for someone close to you: "I love my transgender son." You could show support for the wider community: "I Support LGBTQ+ Rights." Or you could portray an uplifting message: "Love Wins." 


Do you want to volunteer your time? You may want to go to a Pride Event, but you're not sure you want to participate, and you want to do more than observe. Consider volunteering with one of the organizations that will be in attendance. Offer to work at their table, pass out pamphlets, or hand out water. Or, if you aren't averse to human contact, Free Mom Hugs goes to Pride Events and hugs members of the LGBTQ+ community, many of which have been shut out of their families. You can learn more at that link or search on Facebook. They have chapters nationwide (p.s., Dads give hugs too). 


Be aware of your attire. Yes, you can wear rainbows and sparkles. Yes, your unicorn shirt is appropriate. Yes, you can wear Pride tee shirts and clothing that supports the LGBTQ+ community. You might want to avoid wearing clothing that sends a discriminatory message. Or clothing that portrays a political message that is anti-LGBTQ+. Or clothing that in any way says, "HEY, LOOK AT ME," because the focus here isn't on you. Remember, you are a guest (go back and re-read that post I linked if you need a refresher), and you should dress and behave appropriately. 


Most of all, keep an open mind about what you will see and hear and who you will encounter. And remember, attending Pride is optional. If you go, have fun and enjoy yourself. But keep in mind that no one is keeping score, and it's okay if you stay home too. 


Photo by Charlie Nguyen (Flickr / CC BY)



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