Originally published: June 2023

Updated: February 2024


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Any time is a good time to talk with kids about what it means to be 2SLGBTQI+ (Two-spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or questioning, Intersex, or any other identity (+). Children love to ask questions and may ask you about things related to sexual orientation and gender identity. Do your best to answer them at the time. If you don’t know the answer, tell them you’ll find out and get back to them. These conversations help to create safe and brave spaces, and support positive mental health.

June is Pride Month in Alberta, an ideal time to get everyone talking about the history, stories, and resilience of 2SLGBTQI+ communities. Talk with your kids about what Pride means to them. Try these ideas to learn together and spark new conversations.

Explore the history of Pride

Explain that even though Pride is now a time of celebration, it started with protests and activism for equal rights for 2SLGBTQI+ people. Together with your child, learn how the Pride movement has helped these folks to live openly, with acceptance for who they are and who they love. Look for age-appropriate resources to guide you, like:

About the rainbow

Talk with your child about rainbow flags and colours—they symbolize the Pride movement and let 2SLGBTQI+ people know that they’re welcome, safe, and free to be themselves. Hang a Pride flag or look for them in your community. Many schools and public places fly the original six-colour rainbow flag. All Government of Canada buildings now hang the Progress Pride flag—it combines the rainbow flag, transgender flag, and black and brown stripes. The new flag is a reminder that transgender folks and people of colour are a valued part of the 2SLGBTQI+ community.

Embrace diversity

Acknowledge that sometimes, people can be hurtful to others they believe to be different from them. This can make people afraid to be themselves. Using child-friendly words and concepts, talk about diversity. Even young children can understand the importance of being fair, kind, and inclusive. Explain why it’s important to create safe spaces for people of colour, transgender folks and persons with disabilities to be heard and seen within 2SLGBTQI+ communities.

Celebrate with Pride

Pride is a time of celebration! It’s about coming together to honour the hardships 2SLGBTQI+ folks have faced, while celebrating everything they’ve achieved. Pride celebrations are joyful, vibrant, and inclusive. Here are some ideas to join in:

  • Check out Pride Month activities in your local area—they’re often free, accessible, and family-friendly. For a list of Pride parades, festivals, and other events, go to alberta.ca/pride-month.aspx.
  • Celebrate at home in ways that make sense to your family. Listen to music by 2SLGBTQI+ musicians or create rainbow-themed art. Encourage your kids to do activities that bring them joy and help them feel free to be themselves.

Keep the conversation open

While Pride Month can spark important family conversations, remember that talking about sexual orientation and gender identity is not a one-time thing. Try these tips to keep the conversation going:

  • Use books, movies, and other media to prompt talks about different identities, family structures, and ways of life. A great place to start is with books for kids and teens by Canadian LGBTQ writers.
  • Explain what it means to be an ally—someone who stands up for the rights of 2SLGBTQI+ people by being inclusive and supportive. For younger children, watching this short video, kids explain allyship, can help. Role model how to be an ally by creating safe spaces for all people to express their sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Teach about intersectionality—it means that people have many parts to their identity (like race, age, and gender) that overlap and make us who we are. Learning about intersectionality will help your child understand that life isn’t the same for everyone, and will encourage them to be inclusive, kind, and compassionate. Get started with this short video: Intersectionality 101.

Talking about sexual and gender identity can be challenging. If you're experiencing pain or distress, help is available:

  • Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868
  • Mental Health Help Line: 1-877-303-2642
  • Trans Lifeline: 1-877-330-6366

For more information, go to:

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