“My child is 12 years old and identifies as queer and non-binary, and they are BEGGING to go to Pride this year. I’ve never been myself, but everything I see and hear about it makes me think that it’s not age appropriate (with the nudity and alcohol and such). Am I accurate in my assumption? And if so, do you have ideas for more age-appropriate activities?”

Question Submitted Anonymously
Answered by Amanda Neumann

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Amanda Says:
First off, it’s wonderful that your child is comfortable sharing their identities and their desire to go to Pride with you! It’s also wonderful that even though you have reservations about them going to Pride, you’re researching and asking questions before you give them a definite “no.”
Your worries about nudity and alcohol are not uncommon—TV and movies often portray Pride as an all-out raging party. However, this is generally not the case. Pride has a rich, full history that is often neglected by the media. You can learn more about what Pride is over in our Defining series, Defining: Pride, where I got the opportunity to discuss the history of Pride as well as debunk some common misconceptions about Pride events.
One of those misconceptions is that Pride is inherently sexual. It’s definitely not. While some Pride parades and festivities highlight freedom of sexual expression, Pride is not an inherently sexual event. Most Pride festivals have community guidelines in order to keep Pride parades and festivals acceptable for all ages. These guidelines often include dress codes, where and when alcohol can be consumed, and if there are any adult-only events.
If you’re worried about nudity, alcohol, or other factors I suggest contacting the organization in charge of the events. Depending on where you live, there may even be specific events aimed at LGBTQ youth and their families. The best place to start is to check out the website or Facebook event(s) for your local Pride. Many cities also have PFLAG chapters that host all-ages and family oriented Pride events. And if you live in or near New York City, our 5th-Annual All-Ages Pride Party is happening on Saturday, June 24 at Housing Works Bookstore, and is a chance for LGBTQ young people to celebrate Pride in a safe, youth-oriented space.
Remember that Pride is an important time of year for the LGBTQ community—it’s a time of celebration, acceptance, activism, and love. It’s a time for LGBTQ folks to feel proud of who we are! Being surrounded by other LGBTQ folks can be enormously affirming for queer people of all ages, especially queer youth. There are far too few opportunities for LGBTQ youth to see happy and healthy queer adults and role models. Likewise, it can be incredibly beneficial for queer youth to see other people their age who are out and proud of who they are. Pride also offers the opportunity for queer folks to learn more about LGBTQ community, gain more confidence in their identities, and form new friendships. For many people Pride events are the only time of the year they are with other queer people. For many more it is the only time of year they can truly express their gender and sexuality. At Pride, being queer is the norm, and it’s a place for LGBTQ folks of all expressions to feel safe, seen, and proud.
One of the best things you can do is to go with your child to Pride. That way you can support them and their community, and also be able to assess the atmosphere of the festival or parade. I suggest going during the afternoon when there is likely to be more all-ages focused events (and less alcohol). I promise that Pride is fun, no matter your age, orientation, or experience with the LGBTQ community!

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Amanda lives in Indiana with her growing family of felines and books. She recently earned her BA in Women’s Studies and English and hopes to use her knowledge and skills to destroy the patriarchy, or at the very least create more spaces for communication and engaged activism. Amanda’s hobbies include infrequently blogging, working with nonprofit organizations, rereading Harry Potter, and caring about things. Follow on Twitter @amandandwords

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5 thoughts on “Is Pride Appropriate for a 12-Year-Old?

  1. I am also a 12 year old begging my parents to go to pride and they told me I could go if they come with me so why not just go with them to make sure they will be safe. I am also going with friends as well just my dad wants to make sure I’m safe.

  2. I really want to go to the parade but I’m nervous of what my dad will say about me wanting to go to one but my friend might go with me but I just wanted to know how to tell my dad that I want to go to one….

    1. I really want to go pride but I am scared what will my mom think and my family . My mom was like why do you want to go . I tried to come out to her. She ask me why are lesbians and i told how I felt she will never understand me. She made a joke about I can’t wait to see you get married to man . I told her that I will never marry a man and that people at church will look at me different. I told her that are church welcome every one and that we have two married couple at are church that are gay and lesbian. And that I look up to them for still that go to church and that still believe in God and I could two.

  3. My 12 year old daughter told us this year that she identifies as pansexual, and she really wants to go to Pride. Her Dad and I are happy for her because she is figuring out who she is, and we both offered to go with her, as that is important to safety. It’s likely she will go with just her Dad.
    She is the 3rd of 4 siblings, so he might bring all of them along since they seem interested. Especially for my 12 year old, who tends to be very shy, quiet, and empathetic to the point that she is very easily affected by what she picks up from other people. She loves art, and being with close friends. We’ve always been super protective and tried to pro, so she’s still getting comfortable socially.
    I’m so glad she wants to go, I think seeing people she can relate to, beyond just her friends at school who are also open about sexuality, will help her see how much acceptance and possibilities there are in the world for her. I haven’t been to Pride for several years, but I remember how much it helped me as a teenager to go, knowing that other girls my age were bisexual. It’s always nice to be reassured that you’re not alone!

  4. I am the parent of a gay non-binary kid and we as a family have been going to Pride every year since our kids were little. We like to position ourselves towards the end of the parade, where it’s not quite as crowded. It can be such a wonderful, affirming and positive family experience!

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