5) Unconditional Acceptance
Unconditional love is a feeling that often comes naturally and more easily to parents. However, I truly believe that unconditional acceptance is much more complicated. Developing space in our hearts and creating a home and lifestyle that truly accepts unconditionally, takes work, unlearning, learning, radical empathy and compassion. One of my favorite authors and documentary film makers, Andrew Solomon, talks about vertical and horizontal identities. Our vertical identity is that which ties us to our family; traits and features that connect and bond us. This might include physical traits, language, religious beliefs (since these are generally passed down by parents), and nationality. Our horizontal identities involve “an inherent or acquired trait that is foreign to our parents and must therefore acquire identity, [understanding and support] from a peer group.” Horizontal identities might include such facets as a physical disability, genius, or sexual orientation, (since the majority of LGBTQIA children are born to straight parents). “Whereas families tend to reinforce (and embrace) vertical identities from earliest childhood, many parents will oppose and resist horizontal ones. Vertical identities are usually respected as identities; horizontal ones are often treated as flaws.” In my opinion, the ultimate goal is to create an environment and foster an upbringing that embraces these horizontal identities.
For more on this topic, be sure to check out the book and documentary, Far From The Tree. (brainpickings.com)
4) Why Queer Representation Matters, By Mia Silverstein
Happy Pride Month! Despite me being all “yay gay pride” now, it took a lot of inner turmoil and infighting with myself to accept the fact that I like girls. While I was lucky enough that I knew I was surrounded by accepting and loving people, I was the one who wasn’t accepting or loving enough to allow myself to just be me. Nowadays, I see all of the amazing queer representation for young kids and think about how lucky I would’ve been to have this when I was their age. It’s important to take advantage of this great rep, because not only do you not know how much it could be helping your child, but also to normalize and embrace being queer and/or trans. Of course every parent is different concerning what they're comfortable showing their kids and at what age, so check these out for yourself first, but my little brother is nine, and watching these shows with him has been such an awesome learning and bonding activity for him and me.
Top Six Favorite Kids’ TV Shows with Queer Rep
3) Creating Safe Spaces
Adam and I have worked really since our kids were babies to incorporate a sense of acceptance and safety into our home no matter how our children identify. Once Mia came out, it became even more important to us (maybe more to me) to really create an atmosphere in which she and her friends would know that this was a space of love and total freedom of expression. Here are some of my favorite products that I’ve purchased to make our Pride known to all who feel like they might need an ally.
2) Pride Ear Candy
There’s so much amazing stuff out there in the podcast world concerning pride and how to be an ally. Here are some episodes to listen to this weekend while you’re driving around, taking a walk, or doing housework:
This week’s questions can be for self-reflection or used as journal prompts, with your partner, or to guide conversation between parents and kids. (Based off our episode “Unconditional Acceptance with Guest Mia Silverstein”) *As some of these questions refer to childhood and past experiences, please note they might be triggering, and therefore, you may want to look them over and decide whether you are ready to explore this topic alone and/or with others. As always, the goal of these is to create a safe space to answer without shame or judgment.
What does “acceptance” mean to you?
It has been argued many times that the key to true connection and success is rooted in “empathy.” Why do you think that is, and how can people practice being truly empathetic human beings?
Has there been a time or moment in your life when you felt like an outsider? What was that time and how did that feeling affect you?
Do you think you’ve ever contributed to someone else feeling like an outsider? What did you learn from that experience?
What is one way you think we could make our home feel like a safe space for all no matter their identity?
One small practice or way I can work to make others around me feel more seen and understood is:
One way I am going to try to better educate myself about inclusion and helping to create spaces that feel fully accepting is to:
If you've enjoyed answering these questions and think they’re beneficial, you will love our Date Night Questions Experience ebook, with 12 diverse topics, small bonding challenges and dozens of questions to spark conversation and renew connection. Join the thousands of couples who have taken their communication to the next level.