Originally published: June 2023
Updated: February 2024
June is Pride Month, a celebration of the strength, resilience, and vibrance of 2SLGBTQI+ communities. For many teens, Pride Month brings up questions and curiosities about what it means to be Two-spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and/or questioning, Intersex, or any other identity (+). Talking with teens about sexual orientation and gender identities helps 2SLGBTQI+ young people overcome fear of rejection and reduces feelings of isolation and alienation. These conversations help to create safe and brave spaces, and support positive mental health.
As a parent or caregiver, Pride Month is an ideal time for important conversations with your teen. Try these tips as you explore the background, meaning, and importance of Pride.
Learn the history of Pride
For generations and still today, 2SLGBTQI+ people have experienced discrimination, stigma, injustice, and threats to personal safety. June is Pride Month because it honours the 1969 protests for equal rights. Pride recognizes the hardships 2SLGBTQI+ folks have faced, while celebrating what they’ve achieved. Pride celebrations are joyful, vibrant, and inclusive. For 2SLGBTQI+ communities, the act of experiencing joy is resilience in action.
Together with your teen, check out 50 years of LGBTQ Pride in Canada, an interactive timeline with key moments in Pride history, in Canada and around the world. Encourage your teen to think critically about the voices and experiences that are represented. Try using these questions to open conversations:
- How do you feel about Pride?
- What do you understand about the experiences of people who are 2SLGBTQI+ and Indigenous, Black, People of Colour and/or people with disabilities?
About the rainbow flag
Talk with your teen about the rainbow flag as a symbol of safety for 2SLGBTQI+ people. The flag tells them they’re welcome, respected, and free to be themselves. It’s a sign of community, and it can be helpful in finding like-minded people.
Explain that many schools and public places fly the original six-colour Pride flag. All Government of Canada buildings now hang the Progress Pride flag—it has been updated to spotlight marginalized groups with key roles in the equal rights movement. Black and brown stripes signify the efforts of people of colour. Light blue and pink are for transgender activists. The triangle reminds everyone that it’s important to keep making progress.
Ask your teen what they think about rainbow symbols, and why they matter. Try these conversation-starters:
- Does your school use rainbow flags, stickers, or other symbols to identify safe spaces for 2SLGBTQI+ folks?
- Does knowing the history of the Pride flag change how you feel about it?
- Where have you seen the Pride flag in our community? Where do you think it should be flown or hung?
Introduce the concept of intersectionality—it means that people have many parts to their identity (like race, age, and gender) that overlap and make us who we are. To get started, try this brief, family-friendly video: Intersectionality 101.
Exploring this key concept will help teens understand how people have intersecting identities, with different access to power and privilege in society. It will give them deeper appreciation for why it’s important to take part in Pride Month celebrations, Trans Day of Visibility, and other events that amplify the voices and experiences of folks who aren’t often heard in our larger society.
Try these questions together:
- What overlapping identities do you experience?
- Why do you think it's important to recognize less privileged groups by marking special days or events?
Talking about sexual orientation 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: