We took our children to a Pride event in Kelowna this summer. It wasn’t our reason for going to Kelowna, it was just happenstance. We had already booked our family holiday and when I checked the list of events happening in the city, I was beyond thrilled to give my children the opportunity to attend Pride. But should kids attend pride?
I’m a bit obsessed with providing new experiences for my kids that involve diversity since we live in a pretty mainstream community. We live in a very white, middle-class, heteronormative community. Everything’s very vanilla. Including us.
We were recently in Toronto heading to Canada’s Wonderland and I kept taking my kids aside to ask if they noticed all the different languages they were hearing while we stood in line.
When in the city, I take my kids to ethnic restaurants so they will get to try new foods to try.
When we play the game of Life, I encourage them to pick a same-sex partner.
They have no interest.
So when this opportunity to take my kids to Pride came up, I knew I had to grab it by the balls. This was a chance for my children to be part of something amazing. I wanted them to see that love is love is love with their 7- and 9-year-old eyes.
We watched some of the parade.
My daughter had her hair and face glittered.
We listened to the live band.
We were able to watch three couples get married.
We ate fish tacos from a food truck.
The entire afternoon was great.
As we were leaving Pride, we met two same-sex couples walking towards us. They were holding hands. One of the men kissed another man.
My daughter did an audible “ewwwww.”
My head swung around and my nostrils flared, “What did you say?” Inside I was falling apart. I mean, what were we doing here? How could we spend the entire day at Pride and she didn’t “get” what was happening? I was about to lose my shit on my kid.
“Gross!” she stated.
“No, that is not gross. Anyone can love anyone. Men can marry men. Women can marry men. Men can marry women. Women can marry women. That is what today was about, we talked about that earlier, honey. Pride is about everyone having the freedom to love anyone they want to love, no matter if they are a boy or a girl or the colour of their skin. Remember that wedding we just watched? Did you notice that some of the people that were married were both women?”
“They were kissing!”
“Kissing is gross.”
And then it dawned on me. It was the kissing. It had nothing to do with it being two men kissing. She didn’t care that it was two men kissing. It was the kissing.
She didn’t like to see people kissing.
It could have been anyone kissing — it didn’t matter who! My kid just doesn’t like public kissing. So maybe I overreacted a tad.
Maybe I could turn my Experience Pushing down a notch.
Not only are my kids not ready for Pride, they are not ready to go out in public. That should be an easy fix.