Happy Pride month, y’all! We love to see how ubiquitous the annual celebration of visibility, acceptance, and love has grown. These days, you’d practically have to to live under a rock to escape Pride, and even then, your rock could very well be painted bright rainbow colors by the time you crawl out. And with all of the visibility, it’s natural for kids to have questions as they encounter the various markers denoting Pride month.

If putting an explanation of Pride into a tidy, kid-friendly package feels daunting to you, take comfort knowing you’re not on your own. We asked readers how they’ve explained Pride to their kids, and what their conversations looked like. Unsurprisingly, our community is full of insight, guidance, and heartwarming encouragement for those of us figuring out where to start.

Explanations of Pride of course vary by age, maturity, and family as many of our readers pointed out.

“It’s not just one conversation. It’s lots of age-appropriate conversations. When they were really little, it was just about accepting everyone. When they got a bit older it was more about celebrating whoever you want to love. When they got older, we got more into the history of LGBT+ oppression and overcoming it. It will continue to evolve as they continue to want more information.”

We broke down more responses by age group.

Birth to Pre-K: Pride 101

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“In our house we just talk about it like it’s completely normal. When my daughter sees different kinds of love on TV we talk and act like it’s just a part of life, because it is.”

“In my house, we don’t hate anyone. It’s important to be yourself and love yourself exactly as you are. I also teach that every family is built differently.”

“I’ve always talked to my boys about Pride, usually on the way to a parade. ‘Pride is a celebration of men who love men, women who love women, and for people who might love differently than others. Queer love matters as much as any other love. Some queer people don’t feel loved. That is sad. I am taking you to Pride so that you can be a cheerleader for love! Our family believes that all people should be treated with respect and dignity. We go to Pride to show people that we are allies. Allies are safe friends. We want people to feel safe and seen around us.’”

“My children are toddlers but when they are a little older I will be sure to include all types of families in our discussion about families. When kids are taught in an age-appropriate way that many different kinds of people from many different backgrounds exist in the world, it’s just a matter of fact. Some people are tall, some people are short, some people live with grandparents, some people live with 2 moms, etc.”

“When my kids were younger, maybe 2 and 5, they didn’t understand hate, so I told them Pride celebrations are for being proud of who you are and who you love. Sweet and simple!”

“My son is 4. We just say that Pride means it’s ok to be anyone you want to be and that you can love anyone you want to love. We say some people are mean and don’t feel that way, but it’s ok to be different even if people don’t like it.”

“We simply tell our kids that Love is Love. They were like ‘Ok’ and went back to playing. Kids are taught disapproval. It doesn’t come naturally.”

Elementary years: The rainbow connection

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“I’ve told my daughter (6yo) that pride is celebrating the right of everyone to be who they are and love who they want. Families come in all styles and what’s important is that we always choose love, kindness, empathy and inclusion. She’s attended pride events since she was a toddler and loves them.”

“My 8 year old told me that this is the month where everyone can come celebrate themselves as their true self and to enjoy being awesome.”

“My daughter is 8. We’ve read the book Twas the Night Before Pride a number of times throughout the year. It’s in the cadence of The Night Before Christmas, and briefly touches on Stonewall and why Pride is important. I have pretty open communication with her so she knows she can ask me questions any time, and she has. Age appropriate, honest answers are all that’s important. As she gets older my answers will evolve.”

“We are attending the Detroit Pride Parade Sunday with our 9 year old daughter. We can’t wait for her to experience all the love! We’ve always explained to her that everyone should be able to love who they want. She’s also been told we will support always support her no matter who she chooses to love as long as he/she/they love and respect her.”

“I told my daughter about Stonewall and we watched an age-appropriate video. I explained the origins and how protests were needed for many years in order to make change, but we still have a lot of work to do. It’s good to teach your kid about what discrimination is and how we have to continue to fight for equal rights for all.”

“My kids have always been aware of pride and same sex relationships as we have always belonged to an open and affirming church. It was never awkward for them to see two dads or two moms anywhere.”

“When she was 4, my youngest asked to fly a rainbow flag at home. At 5 she wanted a pride specific sign for our yard for June after we attended a protest in our little town to fly the pride flag. At 7 she asked to go to NYC Pride. I happily meet her requests.”

“Ongoing conversation in our house peppered into other daily reminders. ‘Love whoever you want as long as they make you happy. I will always love you no matter what. Now please remember to flush the darn toilet for once.’ ‘If you like boys, girls, or non-binary folks, that is fine. PLEASE PUT ON YOUR SHOES!’”

Tweens & teens: Pride in practice

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“My daughter and I attended Pride last year for the first time, she was 12. She’s now 13 and we’ve already gone to one event this year with several others planned. This year’s event was larger and she said it was awesome to see so many different types of people all together to support a cause.”

“We’ve talked about the variety of families all of his life. He’s now 14 and we had a good discussion specifically about Pride after church on Sunday (it was a Pride service). We’ll attend a Pride festival in our town in August. Even when he was little, he asked if boys could marry boys and girls could marry girls. It was before gay marriage was legal in the entire country, but I told him yes, they could. Our church has always been accepting of everyone and supported same sex marriage.”

“Always age appropriate (but always raising my son to believe that human beings are diverse – I do not believe LGBTQIA+ topics are only adult oriented: they are human related) and now my son is 18. I’ve let my son know that he is free to be and love whomever he chooses. We’ve also discussed the fluid nature of humanity: in sex organs as well as sexual desire. We have discussed why Pride is needed and what it is about, beyond but including all LGBTQIA+ folks – and we continue to discuss the cruel and gross way that trans folks are being talked about including the absolute ridiculousness of the ‘ban on drag’ and that it has nothing to do with someone being trans. I don’t want my son to ever feel ashamed about who he is or close a door to love and friendship – more importantly, I didn’t want him to think it’s ok to make others feel less than – ever.”

“We didn’t necessarily have a conversation. But my children were brought up knowing that anyone can love whomever they choose. They were in their uncle’s wedding at 9 months and 2 years old. Now in middle school they are allies for students being bullied for being gay, lesbian or trans. We live in a small town and people have small minds and thankfully my children stand up for others!”

“Me: Did u know it’s pride month

15: yeah, of course

Me: why do we have it

15: to remind people the LGBTQ people exist and they aren’t going to hide anymore. And to remind haters to not be assholes and just let people be.

Me: ok”

More resources

If you’re looking for more information or need support, check out the following organizations:

The Trevor Project is a suicide prevention and crisis intervention nonprofit organization for LGBTQ+ young people. An excellent source for educational and community resources, with trained counselors available 24/7.

PFLAG is dedicated to providing education, advocacy, and support to families and loved ones of LGBTQ+ people.

GLAAD is a media advocacy organization working to increase media accountability, community engagement, and visibility for LGBTQ stories. Check out their LGBTQ Resource List to find additional services.

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