Pride and Prejudice: Prepping my Kid for Her First Parade March


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photo credit: IMG_4561 via photopin (license)

I’m not exactly sure, but I’m reasonably positive an 8-year-old’s selective hearing contained the following bits from church last Sunday:

… parade …
… we’ll all wear special T-shirts …
… we’ll walk in the parade! …
… T-shirts are just $10 …

I’ll be famous!” Grace whispered to me upon processing all she needed.

It’ll be her first parade from the inside, beyond the cart peddlers and creepy clowns, just beyond where Shriners’ go-karts whiz by your feet. Grace, a champ at hoarding 80 percent of candy and coozies tossed her way on any given parade route, is ready for her debut.

She doesn’t know what the parade is about, and she doesn’t really care.

But she should. And she will. Because it’s a Gay Pride parade here in Charlotte she’ll march in.Google search the terms Coach Daddy and Republican and unemployed, and you’ll find this.

Fiscally responsible and socially aware

Google search Coach Daddy and Libertarian, and you’ll find this.

My red looks more purple now, and I’m OK with that. “Fiscally responsible and socially aware.” I’ll live that profile. In fact, I’ll get to model that as I march alongside Grace in this parade. We’ll wear red. We’ll have fun.

We’ll meet new people, march with friends, and see the parade from the inside.

I’ll first have to teach her what it means to be gay. I want Grace to know why we march. Not to become famous, as she envisions. (Cute, isn’t it?) Not out of obligation. We’ll march to support people really not unlike us.

I don’t remember my heterosexuality ever being a choice.

It’s who I am. So it stands to reason it’s who they are too. I could insert the obligatory tale of “I worked for a gay man!” or “the lesbian couple in our apartment complex is soooo nice,” but I won’t. It doesn’t matter what percentage of my friends are gay, or not gay.

A hetero man and loving daughter chose not to stay home

What will matter most is that my words convey to Grace how I feel about participating in a march that can bring a degree validation someone in the crowd might so essentially be searching for. Simply by being there, or a simple smile and wave.

To demonstrate the community that banded together that day has support from within and from without. That a hetero man and his people-loving daughter can choose not to stay at home on this important day for them

WE can claim our spot in their community as well. We are a part of it.

We were part of it before a tuned-in 8-year-old jutted her hand in the air when the pastor asked who would participate, in an instant volunteering her entire family. I’ll have to tell her, but not worry her, about those we might encounter who aren’t as accepting.

That although there’s love and acceptance out there, there’s hate out there, too.

We’ll be there, wearing red. In support of those we know and those we don’t. We’ll even bring a little diversity to an already diverse crowd, with our multi-nationality kids whose parents have voted Republican all their lives.

There’ll be questions, observations, discussion

I recognize the irony of wearing red shirts that day, too.

I won’t disclose what I’ll say to my parade marcher before we hit the street, or how she’ll react. There’ll be questions. There’ll be observations. There’ll be a discussion. There always is, with these kids.

I love that.

I also know there’ll be learning as part of our discussion. If I’m lucky, she’ll learn something, too.

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34 thoughts on “Pride and Prejudice: Prepping my Kid for Her First Parade March”

  1. I love how your daughter’s thoughts when it came to being in a parade flitted immediately to being famous, and the excitement she found in that! 🙂

    I hope you have a good time marching, enjoy the family discussions and know that you are being a great role model.

    1. I wish I could unzip her head and see those thoughts play out! Our talk about the issue went really, really well … she understands what the march is all about, and wants to take her place. Very proud of her.

  2. I think it is great that you are having these family discussions! You are an amazing dad!
    My other thought from reading this post was about the fact that you talk about bringing diversity to the event. I would hope that you wouldn’t be the only one, and I would venture to guess that there are many people out there that feel the same way. None of us should be put in a box because of the way we vote and so often those assumptions are made. I am trying to explain that to my kids, and also that differences make the world go round. It would be a very difficult world if everyone agreed on everything.

    1. I am truly impressed with how she handled it, and kind of wanted to keep it sacred between us two. Diversity without effort is the truest form of diversity, too – it’s not regulated, and so it’s natural.

      I imagine we won’t be the only ones there, and it’ll be a testament to how much we all have in common. Maybe I can put a heart to the right-leaning stereotype, but honestly, it’s so not about me that day – at least, not my voting history.

      When a child has an appreciation and not a fear of differences, I think it’s best. They should recognize the differences, but also the similarities, I think.

  3. I’ve only lived in places with their own Pride parades in the last several years. I like to say it’s on purpose, but it’s mostly just luck and fabulous design. My daughter has been to five Pride parades so far – the first being when she was just a baby, and the last – just before four-years-old. I’m not sure when the questions will really start. Maybe they won’t. Many of her friends have two mommies!
    Can’t wait to hear about this.

    1. Maybe pride follows you, Tamara. You must encourage it. This parade came by pure circumstance, but what an opportunity too, right?

      I know when the questions do start, she’ll have an awesome conversation with her mom about it. I have a feeling she probably already has a sense of it around her.

      Maybe this experience will spawn another blog, post-parade.

  4. So many things I love about this post! I’ll start with the simple…fiscally responsible and socially aware. That’s me too! We’ll have to chat about that some day! But more importantly, I love that you are teaching your children to be loving and accepting of everyone! I’m going to be cheering for you and your daughter on parade day!

    1. Thanks Nicole! I read that bit about fiscal responsibility and social awareness when researching the Libertarian party for a post about Grace.

      I believe in it too, because I’m conservative, but so many things about my political view also fell into more liberal camps. Not many, but enough.

      I’m grateful Grace volunteered us!

  5. I would love to know how your daughter feels during and after the parade. I’ve had some interesting discussions about rights and freedoms with my kids – they don’t always go they way I thought they would, but at least we’re talking about it. Happy marching!

    1. It’ll be an experience. As it is with freedoms and rights and favorite baseball teams, we can teach, and lead by example, but the choice is ultimately theirs. At least the discussion is there (easy for me to say – the kids so far agree with me politically, and none of them chose to support the dreaded dodgers.)

  6. I think I am having another one of those “crush” moments! It is SO cool that you are marching in solidarity, in acceptance, and teaching your daughter this….. It’s crucial to teaching more than tolerance…. to blur the lines that society draws unnecessarily. You rock!

    1. She’s the one teaching me, though. Had she not raised her hand, I’d not have considered the parade. Not that I opposed it, but I’d have stayed on the sideline. Worse, I’d have stayed home. We like to think those lines are drawn in pencil – the really cheap plasticky kind no one wants to use in school. We’ll do our part to wipe out the line.

      She rocks, actually – I’m just along for the ride.

  7. I wanna march in Gay Pride!! I haven’t done that since I lived in Chicago and went to support all of my “gay boys”!! Our girls have always known love.. whether it was same sex or mixed sex and I wish I could say that I’m proud but it’s just who they (and we) are. And that is what makes me proud… that it’s just another couple who loves each other 🙂

    1. Do they have a parade where you live? It feels good to lend your support, I must say, and we’re not even there yet! All we can do is show the kids love and let them take it from there. They’ll amaze us.

      1. Ha Ha, I hope you spray a bit of air freshener on your jock strap before it’s placed over the mantle piece. They will ask more, you know that, write them all down now.
        Cheers
        Laurie.

  8. This is a going to be a great experience for her to see the diversity of people and love in this world. I have no doubt that you will find the right words to tell her what she has gotten the family into 😉 and she will be better for it because she has a family that is accepting of all creatures on this world without prejudice – more people should be that way.

    1. I hope so – and she’s the reason I’ll be there, so it’ll be a great experience for me, too. We had an excellent discussion, and I think she feels like a big girl because I had the talk with her. I think it made her feel grown-up!

  9. I’m hoping that someday we won’t have to talk to kids about intolerance; that every single person will be honored and respected for who they are. The road to that day is being paved by parents like you who are walking the talk (literally in the case of the parade!) and showing your kids the meaning of “Love Thy Neighbor”.

  10. I think it’s fantastic that you are letting her see what being proud is all about whether you are straight or gay and kudos to your pastor for being so open. It’s strange that when gay marriage was proposed for Canada, the sky was going to fall, the fires of hell would open, and all human kind would perish. But, a funny thing happened. Nothing! Well, other than we recognized members of our society who contribute so much to our everyday lives and allowed them to have the same rights that my wife and I do.

    Great job Dad!

    1. Thanks brother. There’s a lot of misconception out there, and I don’t feel much like propagating it. Hopefully, our kids’ kids’ world will have such acceptance that we don’t give it a second thought.

  11. Wow, absolutely LOVED this entire post! As if I didn’t already love a blog written by a dad so that I could have that perspective – you’re Hispanic too?! Awwwesome! But in all seriousness, what a great experience for your daughter to have. I hope you post a follow-up to this!

    1. Thanks Jessica. I’m also left-handed, if that adds another dimension of allegiance! I suppose there aren’t a ton of Hispanic dads in the blog world, so I’ll carry the torch. I’ll definitely write a follow-up. Kids take you down avenues you might never travel.

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