some thoughts for parentsPosted: March 2, 2012
I have recently been asked by a few different people about how parents can increase awesomeness around LGBT issues and be good allies to kids.
I know frankly zilch about parenting so my ideas are:
1) School board elections are really important, and calling your school board members all the time doesn’t hurt. The Anoka-Hennepin suicides might have been preventable with a better school board. These are tiny elections that not a lot of people pay attention to, so it’s relatively easy to affect the outcome.
2) Demand inclusive curriculum and comprehensive sex ed.
3) Letting your kids interact positively with a lot of different people is cool, and it’s probably for the best if you live in an integrated, diverse neighborhood.
5) Be aware that it may not be your kid who is having the issue and that it may be a kid whose parents are not supportive of them. This will still impact your child’s learning experience and it’s still okay to speak out. If you think something weird is going on, keep a record.
6) While it’s appropriate to help kids learn about formal versus informal events and dressing appropriately in general, the gender socialization that generally goes with this can be oppressive for kids who don’t have typical gender identities – your daughter may want pants, your son may want a dress or just something pretty. Kids may want to experiment with their hair or makeup. This may be passing or it may be long term, but either way, they’re just clothes. Focus on dressing appropriately for the weather, activities, and formal occasions.
7) There is lots of media out there, for adults and children. I know zilch about children’s books other than the legendary Heather Has Two Mommies, but I am sure the internet or your local independent bookseller can help you. For adults, I recommend the French movie La Vie En Rose.
8) Don’t be afraid to tell other people off, especially if they’re espousing views that are likely to result in more dead kids. People who like dead kids are creepy and you don’t need them to like you. This goes double for anyone who is an authority figure in your child’s life. Figure out who to complain to and complain like mad.
If you have other thoughts, please leave a comment. This is in no way meant to be an exhaustive list but more a place to start.