Queer Mom Chronicles: Happy Pride Y’all!

I came out when my son was almost five years old. He was at an age where we could talk about what my identity meant and about life as a queer person. It was important for me that he not only understand my queerness in relation to his life but understand the LGBTQ+ community as a whole. Young kids are often way more open minded; it’s much easier to explain queer life to a four and a half year old and have him accept it.

One of the ways we did that was through picture books. There are so many picture books for kids that explain queer life and tell queer stories. One of his favorites was a book about Stonewall; not just the riot, but the building itself. When we lived in New York, we would pass it often because it was near the salon I took him to for haircuts. When we got to the part about the riot, I appealed to his empathetic nature and his sense of fairness to make it all make sense. Once he understood it in terms he could make sense of, I knew it would be easy to build on that over time.

By the following year, he understood that Pride started as a riot and why it’s important to acknowledge the origins of the month. I was able to teach him the un-whitewashed version of the Stonewall riots, giving power to the black and brown folks that put their bodies on the line so that his mom could be free to love freely. He already knew that people fear those who are different and how that can lead to violence, but that marginalized groups always find ways to fight back. But I didn’t only focus on that. I did teach him about the joy of being queer, and that even though Pride’s roots are a riot, we continue to celebrate to show the world what liberation and joy look like. That’s why we have a parade every year. When he was younger, the parade was not his vibe, and then the pandemic happened, so we had to wait to celebrate publicly.

Last year was the first time my family celebrated Pride, and woo wee, did we go all out. LA actually has TWO Pride weekends. West Hollywood Pride is the first weekend of the month (by time as you all read this, we will have already been!) so we went to the parade, which was a fun time. Driving would have been a nightmare, so we took public transportation; the city has trolleys that take you to the start of the parade route. On the trolley, there was an older gay man with a speaker playing a bunch of 70s and 80s disco, but then he put on the soundtrack to Rent and the whole trolley whooped. Did my partner and I participate in a singalong of “La Vie Boheme” and “Seasons of Love”? You bet your ass we did. It’s truly one of the gayest things I’ve ever done in public, and I loved every fucking second of it. That’s what Pride is all about!

Somehow, we ended up in an area with a lot of families, so he found other kids to play with. People were handing out flags and signs, so I taught him to chant “no cops at Pride,” and he really got into it while we waited. He got a beach ball and it kept him occupied, which was a godsend. His other favorite part was seeing JoJo Siwa on a float; he told all of his friends about it at school the next day. We walked the length of the parade because there’s a Salt & Straw at the end and we could all use an ice cream.

I planned our summer trip to New York to coincide with New York Pride. It was something I never got to experience when I lived there, and I just had to go. I convinced my best friend to come (she’d never been either), and I requested my mom’s presence, mainly so she could take my son home afterwards. To my absolute surprise, my dad decided he wanted to join in on the fun. You haven’t lived until you’ve gone to a Pride parade with your eight-year-old son and your seventy-seven year old dad who’s going blind and walks with a cane. But they had a great time! It was really special to experience that day with my whole family.

We also did Dyke Day in LA, which was so much fun. Some friends brought a whole picnic setup, and we brought our puppy and his puppy bestie. The pups were absolutely the belles of the ball. If you’re single, bring a puppy to Dyke Day. You won’t be single for long. The NYC Dyke March was a lot of fun too, especially because we skipped the marching part and waited for the march to reach Washington Square Park. You can hear them coming, and the energy in the park is electric. We hadn’t planned to stay long, but our kiddo had a blast playing with other kids who had families that looked like ours. We had to drag him out of the park.

This year, I’m planning on doing a Pride slideshow with his class. Most of his classmates know that he has two moms, but I don’t think they truly understand what that means. I did a slideshow presentation for Black History Month, and it went over really well, so I’m super excited to do this one. I’m going to teach them some vocabulary words, some LGBTQ+ icons, and have a printout of the progress Pride flag for them to color. My son gets mini lessons all the time, but I have no idea what his classmates know. I’m a little nervous, but I know the kids in his class are open to learning, and who knows? Maybe they’ll be able to teach someone close to them a little something.

I was curious to see what some other families are going to be doing this year. The WeHo Pride parade is full of families, but I know that not every family does that. Below are my favorite responses.

“I will be in Arlington, VA reading my debut picture book Molly’s Tuxedo at the Family Pride event at the Museum of Modern Art Arlington, co-sponsored by Rainbow Families. My daughter is home from college and will be there, too to help me out.” – Vicki Johnson

“We always talk a little bit about history and why we have to be visible and celebrate and activate because we weren’t always free to do so and many people fought for us to be here. Every year she gets older we talk a little deeper and a little more real in that regard. Otherwise it’s just a party and it’s really not. It’s important to me she knows that part especially now.” – Audrey Babcock

No matter how you celebrate, I hope you have a Happy Pride month!


Queer Mom Chronicles is a monthly column where I examine all of the many facets of queer parenthood through my tired mom eyes. 

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Sa'iyda Shabazz

Sa'iyda is a writer and mom who lives in LA with her partner, son and 3 adorable, albeit very extra animals. She has yet to meet a chocolate chip cookie she doesn't like, spends her free time (lol) reading as many queer romances as she can, and has spent the better part of her life obsessed with late 90s pop culture.

Sa'iyda has written 121 articles for us.

15 Comments

  1. I’m glad this article is here and that you have a presentation planned for your kid’s school! I’m feeling more strongly about wanting to do public stuff with my genderqueer 6 year old this year given the attacks on the queer community (and trans kids in particular). I think I’ve found an option I’m looking forward to attending with friends who have a slightly older trans kid. But it’s hard because it seems like Drag Story Hours are often aimed at really little kids, and then a lot of other stuff is for tweens, teens, or adults. Which is great and I totally get, but it seems likmy kid’s in an awkward in-between age? Even as I want them to feel like part of a community because suppo at their school is meh at best.

    • it is definitely hard to find things to do with elementary school aged kids. that’s why i’m creating the slideshow for them! by time as we learned about our local Drag Queen Story Hour, he was kind of aging out of picture books being read to him. i think you have the right idea trying to find families with kids around your kiddo’s age, because that will always be more fun for them

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