By: Amber Leventry
“We’re here! We’re queer!” Thankfully most people are getting used to it. But it hasn’t always been this way. The first Gay Pride march was on June 28th, 1970 as a way to commemorate the Stonewall riots which took place one year prior. The anger, protests, and frustration over the police raid at the Stonewall Inn were the catalysts to organize LGBTQ individuals and groups to unite on a national scale. Anger and frustration are still felt for those not on board with LGBTQ equality, but a lot of love, courage, and growing support make up this month’s 46th annual Gay Pride celebrations. Parades, parties, and remembrances of the people who paved the way for equal rights victories pack the June calendar all over the world. After all, celebrating who we are is at the core of Pride.
Here are five books to celebrate your family and the history behind Gay Pride month and the first Gay Pride parade.
This Day In June
Written by Gayle E. Pitman and illustrated by Kristyna Litten, This Day In June won a 2015 Notable Books for a Global Society award. This brilliant children’s book has few words, but each one carries a powerful meaning as the rhyming text lies on colorful and joyful scenes from a Pride parade. Each two-page spread of the book highlights an important lesson in LGBTQ history, explained in detail at the end of the book in a reader’s guide.
One scene reads “Clad in leather, Perfect Weather” with men and women wearing—G Rated—varying amounts of leather and carrying rainbow flags. In the reader’s guide the author explains that post WWII, gay men began to wear leather as a way to break the stereotype that they were feminine. Leather also served as a way for gay men to identify each other when it was not safe to be openly out. Lesbians later adopted leather as an expression of feminism. This Day In June covers Dykes on Bikes, gay marriage, Harvey Milk and so much more.
M is for Mustache
M is for Mustache, a Pride ABC Book, written by Catherine Hernandez and illustrated by Marisa Firebaugh, is one of the first LGBTQ themed books published by Flamingo Rampant. From A to Z a little girl takes young readers through a day at Pride. She hits all of the high points of the day starting with allies and ending with zzzz, the sound of sleep after a long, fun day. M is for Mustache uses outspoken illustrations of gender-bending individuals of all races as they celebrate Gay Pride.
Gay & Lesbian History for Kids: The Century Long Struggle for LGBT Rights
Gay & Lesbian History for Kids: The Century Long Struggle for LGBT Rights, written by Jerome Pohlen, is for kids in grades 5-8. Using pictures, quotes, and sidebars, the book covers historical events and the LGBT individuals behind them; it highlights LGBT artists, authors, and actors who have made an impact on the fight for equality; it takes readers from pre-1900 to the state of present day. Each story and section of the book is geared to inform kids while allowing them to engage in 21 activities that accompany the lessons.
A Tale of Two Mommies
More LGBTQ couples and individuals are having kids, so each year more children are seen at Pride celebrations. My daughter’s first Pride was last year when she was four, and I couldn’t have been more proud as she rode her bike as part of the Tykes on Bikes section of the parade. I was overwhelmed by the people who packed the streets to cheer for my family and others like mine. I felt so loved as two of her best buddies, with heterosexual parents, rode next to her.
My partner and I are very fortunate to have a wide circle of support and diversity in our lives. My family and our kids are accepted and usually seen no differently than any other family. But kids are still curious about differences, and having two moms is different for my daughter’s peers who have single parents or a mom and a dad. With curiosity comes questions.
Author Vanita Oelschlager addresses the innocent questions children have for kids with two moms or two dads in her books A Tale of Two Mommies, illustrated by Mike Blanc, and A Tale of Two Daddies, also illustrated by Blanc with help from Kristin Blackwood. A Tale of Two Mommies shows a little boy on the beach with his moms and two of his friends. Throughout the book the three friends play together without missing a beat as the boy is asked about the subtleties of having a mommy and a momma.
“Which mom is there when you want to go fishing? Which mom helps out when Kitty goes missing?”
“Mommy helps when I want to go fishing. Both mommies help when Kitty goes missing.”
“Who’s your mom when you’re climbing a tree? Who’s your mom when you scrape your knee?”
“Momma helps me climb a tree. Both moms help when I skin my knee.”
A Tale of Two Daddies
Told in the same conversational style, A Tale of Two Daddies is about a little girl who is asked questions about having two dads.
“My friend Lincoln says you have two dads.”
“That’s right. Poppa and Daddy.”
“Who’s the dad who helps with homework? And which dad helps when you’re covered with dirt?”
“Both my dads help with my math. But Poppa’s the dad who helps in the bath.”
Each book by Oelschlager covers the big things in every child’s life: meals, playtime, bedtime, and special occasions. Once kids understand that those needs are met in a house with two moms or two dads, they don’t seem to care about anything else. The illustrators lovingly show this by capturing the everyday things kids and friends do together, even when curiosity and differences exist. If only adults could see the beauty in what we don’t understand over sand castles and juice boxes.
Use these books to get your family ready for Pride and to help educate yourself and anyone else who wants to better understand what Pride is all about. Here are the CliffsNotes, though: it’s about love.