TAMPA, Fla. — This month, there are a ton of Pride celebrations across Tampa Bay. Many are geared toward people of all ages, letting families celebrate together.
For some families, you may not have had extensive conversations about what Pride Month celebrates and your kids may start asking questions to satisfy their curiosity.
"I know the first reaction sometimes is fear when your kids ask questions about pride or LGBTQ people, but don't panic," explained Tamara Leigh, the owner of Blaque Out Consultants. She goes into schools and businesses to discuss intersectionality, diversity and how to create safe spaces for people from all walks of life.
She's also a parent of two kids, so she understands why some people may find conversations about the LGBTQ+ community difficult to have.
"It comes from fear, that we don't know enough. So it helps to learn ourselves, that way we can be educated and have a better understanding of things to explain to our kids," Leigh said. 10 Tampa Bay has compiled a glossary of LGBTQ+ terminology to help you understand some common terms you may hear often but not know.
Leigh says the first step to answering questions your kids may have about Pride and LGBTQ+ is to actually listen to the question.
"Give them simple answers that make sense for their comprehension for their age...That's often more than enough. They're not trying to gauge someone's biological makeup or moral compass," Leigh said. She says from her experience, parents often panic because they think they have to explain more than what the child actually needs to satisfy their curiosity.
For example, Leigh says if a child asks why there are rainbows everywhere and what it means you can just say the rainbows represent Pride and the celebration of LGBTQ+ people and love.
A question many parents have is: How young is too young to talk about the LGBTQ+ community? Leigh says there's no age limit to having these types of discussions. She says if your kids are at an age to understand marriage and love between a man and a woman, it's no different explaining love or marriage for a gay couple. She says the more we normalize the conversations about the LGBTQ+ community, the more we create inclusive, open spaces for kids to foster acceptance and to understand their own identities.
"If you teach them love is love and some people fall in love with people who are the same sex as them and some people fall in love with people who are different than them and some people are born matching the gender assigned at birth and some aren't and not making it a big deal takes away some of the negativity or fear that comes with talking about all of it," Leigh said.
Leigh says it's also important to be positive because kids can pick up on any uncertainty or uneasiness you may have about the subject and read it as negativity. The best way to overcome that is to educate yourself about the subject. Understand this isn't a one-time conversation and can evolve as they get older.
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