“I want to go to Gay Pride with my son, but I’m afraid I’ll cramp his style by being there. He says it’s okay if I join him, but I want to make sure I’m not going to take away from his experience. Am I being too supportive?”
Question submitted Anonymously
Answered by Dannielle Owens-Reid & Kristin Russo, co-founders of My Kid Is Gay
Dannielle & Kristin Say:
This is a fantastic question.
Like most things in life, this is all about balance and compromise. The fact that you want to go to a pride celebration with your son automatically shows him that you are supportive. Which, by the way, totally rules. The fact that you are aware of his (potential) need for independence also falls in the ‘totally-rules’ category. You are doing GREAT.
There are many ways to be involved while not completely monopolizing his day. For starters, you might offer to take him and a few of his friends. You can hang around and walk with them for a while, then after an hour or so tell them you’re going to get some food or coffee or fried dough or whatever suits your fancy. Have them meet you at a particular time by the car, and voila, you have yourself a fantastic compromise. (Sidebar: How did people do anything before cell phones?)
You can also bring a friend of your own! This makes it even easier to split off and do your friend-thing after you’ve gotten in some time with your son and his friends.
The best approach to all of this is to just be totally honest with your son, and give him several options. Tell him that you would love to be at the pride celebration in some way, and that you were thinking of maybe bringing a friend, or going along with him for part of the time — but that you know he may have plans with his own friends. If you present him with the options, you can get a good feel for his own needs. He might jump immediately on you bringing a friend, or might light up and say that it would be amazing to have you around for the day. He might mumble “whatever you want” under his breath… cluing you into the fact that he might need to spread his pride wings on his own this year.
If he is excited for you to take part in all or part of the day, amazing. We’ve been to quite a number of pride events over the years, and have seen so many families present! You are certainly not out-of-bounds in the least for wanting to go along, and attending with your son can be an incredible experience for you both.
If he isn’t quite ready, try to understand that it isn’t a dig at you, personally. Even if he doesn’t say so directly, he’s heard your support — and even if it doesn’t register completely now, it will over time. If he needs to go alone this year, ask again next year! If you want to be a part of the celebration as a mom of a gay son, you can also go on your own with friends or other family. Perhaps, though, if he is newly out, give him a year or two to get his balance, and then let him know you’ll be attending as well.
The awesome thing about this question is that you’re already showing your support by simply wanting to be there with him, and wanting to be a part of his experience.
Never stop supporting, and never stop showing that support at every turn. It’s an invaluable resource for you child.
Click through to read about our contributors!