Would you take a toddler to Pride? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 26 Old 06-12-2013, 12:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok, so I'm a queer single mom with a DD who's nearly 2.  We live in Portland, and Pride is coming up this weekend.  I really want to go to the parade (I went alone to the festival last year but haven't gone to the parade ever), and I'd like to take her, but I'm not sure how much adult content or overtly sexual things there will be.  Would you take a young child/toddler to a pride parade? Any guidance/advice for Pride in general or Portland Pride more specifically?

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#2 of 26 Old 06-12-2013, 01:19 PM
 
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Not queer, but no. I have been to a few ( in Kansas City, not pdx) and they are pretty adult/sexually fueled. I recall a savage love podcast discussing this, as well, in terms of parade-goers being quite put off by a child's presence. Those who want to really cut loose might just be pretty upset about small children present. That said, I think it would be amazing to attend some Pride family events, and someone should get started on those. Happy Pride! smile.gif
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#3 of 26 Old 06-12-2013, 01:25 PM
 
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We've always taken the kids, all ages, every year. But there are loads of kids watching, lots of them in the parade too. Might be different where you live, I dunno. :)

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#4 of 26 Old 06-12-2013, 01:40 PM
 
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Yes, I would (and will) take my kid to my city's Pride Parade. My local Pride festival includes many adult-oriented events to which I wouldn't bring a child, but the Parade is a fun public event. Sure, there's a bit of nudity & lewdness, but not enough to make me worry about warping my kid's mind... If there's anything that concerned them, we could talk about it. Perhaps it's different in PDX?
I feel strongly that my kid should experience the Pride Parade, to see the celebration of queerness, in a (sadly somewhat futile) attempt to counteract the overwhelming homophobia & heterosexism of our society.
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#5 of 26 Old 06-12-2013, 01:58 PM
 
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I know quite a few families that take their kids to the Pride Parade here.  It probably varies a lot from city to city.
 

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#6 of 26 Old 06-12-2013, 02:09 PM
 
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We're planning to--we took our kid last year when she was a baby--there are LOTS of kids at the Pride parade--so many queers have kids! There are elementary schools and kids clubs and churches and square dancing clubs represented among the floats. I think the days of them being all about sex are past--most of the people I know who are looking to hook up do it at private parties, not the parade itself. Plus, I can basically guarantee that your almost 2 year old doesn't have a clue about what sex is, or what adult sexuality looks like. The nuances of a drag queen in a bustier are going to go right over her head. So I'd say to take her this year and see what you think--if it's not something you want to talk about with her when she's old enough to form questions that you'll need to answer, you'll at least know it firsthand.

The only thing I worry about this year is the noise level (since my kid can NOT abide the baby headphones we got her). We're going to try a different kind of headphones for the noise, and also try to park in a place that we can get to easily without needing to battle the crowds if it's too much for her and we need to leave. I also heartily recommend bringing an umbrella (rain or shine) and a carrier in case you need to keep her close.

Have fun!

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#7 of 26 Old 06-12-2013, 02:47 PM
 
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Pride in Philly is full of kids.  There is a family-fun zone!  So yes, I would take my kid to pride.

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#8 of 26 Old 06-12-2013, 03:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, everybody, your input has been really helpful; I feel a lot more confident about going now. I think I will ask one of my LGBT coworkers about Portland Pride specifically, and then it looks like DD and I are good to go.

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#9 of 26 Old 06-12-2013, 03:29 PM
 
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Pride has been taken over by families, more every year. I'd absolutely bring my toddler (and am bringing my toddler to my small town's first pride!).

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#10 of 26 Old 06-12-2013, 03:38 PM
 
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We just went to Boston's with a toddler and a preschooler. If anything, it was boring, but definitely not inappropriate. Not at all like I remember it being 10 years back when we left with tons of novelty condoms. Definitely ask around to see what the tone is like. I think the more accepting of a community you live in, the less racy the parade may be, but that's just me theorizing.
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#11 of 26 Old 06-12-2013, 04:10 PM
 
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We've generally taken the kids. The festival at Columbus pride is way more kid friendly (bounce houses, entertainers and free snacks) than Chicago, for example.  My kids have marched in the parade a few times and ducked out at the end to watch. It's a crazy long parade, so we usually go find the kid zone before the end.

 

The most disturbing part of pride here is the protesters. Hopefully your city doesn't have that issue to worry about, but I wouldn't let them stop you anyway.


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#12 of 26 Old 06-12-2013, 10:36 PM
 
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In general, the variables are your city and how comfortable you are answering questions about people's bodies and queerness. One thing I recommend is using a photo search engine like Flickr or Google Images and just search Portland Pride 2012. You will quickly get an idea of the tone of the parade, and you can decide your comfort level with the stuff you're likely to encounter. I did a flickr search, and Portland Pride doesn't look like anything I would avoid with my kids. Some bare skin, the occasional dildo attached to a costume, but nothing I'd consider too crazy. Check it out here: http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=portland%20pride%202012 

 

Seattle Pride, I might be more wary of because there's so much more of a leather scene and people in Seattle seem to spend a lot of time rollerblading in the nude. I'm uncomfortable with rollerblading. But I know a lot of families who go to Seattle Pride, so I am sure it's a question of your comfort. We live in Olympia, and Pride seems tame here. We have a lot of downtown parades, and Pride seems like it is just the one with rainbow flags instead of pets in costumes. 


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#13 of 26 Old 06-13-2013, 03:46 AM
 
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We took our daughter for the first couple years, but didn't take her last year (3yo) and won't take her this year because she is much more aware of things around her now.  The parade here has some groups that are pretty overtly sexual, although there also a good balance of family oriented things.  I might consider taking her to march with our church in the parade.  She gets to experience the jovial atmosphere, see other queer families, but we can limit her exposure to the more adult elements since you don't get to really watch the parade while walking in it.

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#14 of 26 Old 06-13-2013, 01:44 PM
 
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Totally would.  And have done.  We took E as a 6 mo old, but stayed well back due to the noise.  

We took her the year after, at 1.5 yrs, with ear protectors, and she had a blast.

We took her at 2.5 yrs, no ear protectors.  She had a great time!

I didn't take her and her little brother last year ... he was ten months and newly walking, and E was 3.5yrs.  She would've loved it, but it would've been a nightmare to wrangle him.  We usually gather with friends along the curb in a piece of prime, shaded parade real estate.  I was just tired of the whole thing.  DP did the Dykes on Bikes ride at the beginning and then went to work.

We're old and married and a little over it, I think.

I doubt we'll go this year either.  

I certainly wouldn't say not to go based on so-called 'inappropriate' content or not. Human sexuality is normal, in all it's forms.  Great chance to answer any questions in an age-appropriate way!  


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#15 of 26 Old 06-14-2013, 08:13 AM
 
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Yes!

 

We don't go to Pride every year but when we can fit it in the schedule we do.  What could be more fun for a 2 or 3 year old than loud music (earplugs), lots of colors and costumes and balloons and dancing characters?  The highlight of pride this year for my youngest was all the friendly people with dogs. 

 

If anything the younger kids take the nudity better than the older kids.  My almost 13 year old was disgusted by the number of saggy boobs he saw.  I had no trouble with him observing that- if anything he should start to learn now that breasts get saggy and he shouldn't expect his partner to look like a Victoria Secrets model.  He also observed a group of straight, stoned teenagers behaving like total idiots.  Again- another conversation starter.

 

We just went to Boston and I never saw the kid/family zone but I'm pretty sure it exists.  And the only protesters we saw were anti-meat eaters and they were not in your face at all.

 

So, yes- Go!  Bring ear protection and have fun!


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#16 of 26 Old 06-14-2013, 09:49 AM
 
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I just wanted to chime in. I don't have kiddos yet, but our local LGBT parenting group just had a lively FB debate about this and wanted to paraphrase what one of the folks said that really resonated with me (after wondering myself if I would want to take little ones to our Pride festival)

 

I don't think we need further "rules" or cleaning up. Most of us have experienced this "cleaning up" by not allowing us as LGBTQ to participate in so many arenas in life just because they thought we were inappropriate.

 

I would rather my kids see adult-oriented things while I'm around to explain. I wouldn't show my kids TV that contained some of that material at Pride, but we do live in a diverse world. For me, I would rather them see real life situations, talk about it, and make it a non-event. That being said, yes there are safer ways to participate in Pride such as family hours, etc.

 

There will always be the extremes, but I would rather my kids see that most of us fit in some spectrum of the norm far more than the media would otherwise show them on TV.

When something becomes "off-limits" or "weird" it has an uncanny way of becoming a magnet and draw for those who otherwise might not participate. It also creates a sense of "different, or less than" views towards those people. I wouldn't particularly want my kids growing up Catholic (or any other major religion) but I do plan to expose them to the people of those religions. I hope to teach them tolerance, acceptance, and love. I think a simple humanizing of these half-naked lets my sons see past the outward appearance. We are far stronger examples and models to our children then any extreme they may see over a 90 minute parade once a year.

 

That being said, I plan on taking our kids. We have a pretty big kid zone where we have volunteered before and I'm sure we'll spend most of our time there and at the parade. 

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#17 of 26 Old 06-14-2013, 03:02 PM
 
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We took our babies this year and are planning to go with them every year. There's no nudity allowed at ours or anything, but there is still some sexual content. I don't really mind, honestly. Like other posters have mentioned, it's nice to be able to expose them to those things while you're around, and it's really important to me that they see gay pride as a completely normal, happy event.

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#18 of 26 Old 07-06-2013, 03:13 PM
 
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I'm late on this, but we've been to Pride here many times.  It's a very inclusive, joyous event here.  

 

This  year I spaced the date and thought it was a day later, so had to cancel a picnic plan the morning-of.  The straight friend we cancelled on felt stupid she had scheduled her event the same day (lots of straight people go to the parade here) and thought about taking her boys, then wondered about the 
"leather" and sexual content.  I was surprised.  I never thought anything of taking my kids to a parade with floats with guys wearing nothing but some leather in it.  I'm comfortable with it, they guys sure look happy and proud on the float.  Even our 6 year old has no clue at this point.  When they get older, I'll explain it.  But unless I felt judgmental about leather or cross-dressing or gay sex or sex in general, which I don't think I do, I have no problem with it or allusions to it in a parade.  Having sex on a float?  Wouldn't care if that were gay or straight or just someone masturbating, that would make me uncomfortable.  But people celebrating their ability to do what makes them happy?  Doesn't make me uncomfortable.  I think that's the most important thing.  

 

If I got the feeling people in the parade didn't want families there, I guess that would be different, but our parade  isn't like that.  Everyone is just so damn happy!  Lots of passing out of candy, some condoms, but they giggle and tell the kids who are grabbing for them that no, those are for the grownups.  

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#19 of 26 Old 09-14-2013, 02:27 PM
 
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No way even if some of them are tame there is always some stupid in the crowd

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#20 of 26 Old 09-14-2013, 04:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by genevieve34 View Post

No way even if some of them are tame there is always some stupid in the crowd
?? So do you also avoid playgrounds, airports, grocery stores and just about every other public place?

To me that is like never bathing since most household accidents happen in the bathroom.

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#21 of 26 Old 09-14-2013, 05:49 PM
 
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Any crowd is going to have some stupid, but we go to community events anyway. I've never had a problem that couldn't be solved by changing locations.
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#22 of 26 Old 09-14-2013, 06:21 PM
 
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We took our 2 year old this year and last year. She loved it. Our local Pride has a family zone. She also loved dancing to the music. She didn't really notice the nudity/sexuality. But even when she gets to the age when she does we'll still bring her; we'll just have a conversation about it.

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#23 of 26 Old 09-30-2013, 08:59 AM
 
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LO marched in her second Pride Parade this past Saturday. Both DH and I are bisexual (I can't stand when people assume we're straight!!) so it's important to us for her to be involved in queer activism from an early age.

The churches and other family friendly organizations are usually toward the front at NC Pride. We worked as a family with the creation/ assembly of our (non-Christian) church's float, and she "marched" (in her stroller) in the Pride Parade with us.

I was honestly more concerned about LO hearing the hate-mongers (holding signs a la Westboro Baptist) with their megaphones protesting Pride, screaming all kinds of ugliness, than her possibly seeing anything overtly sexual. Praise whatever Powers May Be, because she fell asleep before we reached the Hate Squad With Megaphones on the parade route.

Because we were actually in the parade, I didn't have to worry so much about corrupting her with the overtly sexual stuff. There seems to be less and less of the overtly sexual stuff every year, and more and more "normal" people-- families, couples holding hands, local businesses, churches, etc. We immediately headed to the food trucks after we marched, so as to avoid all the stuff I didn't want her to see.

We even got LO's pic with a drag queen at a Christian church's table. "MOMMY! She's PREEEEETTY! I like her feathers!" LO then proceeds to run toward this beautiful drag queen in a rainbow feather ensemble, and says, "Can you pick me up?" Which she did, and posed for a couple pics.

LO is just shy of 3. She had a blast at Pride.


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#24 of 26 Old 09-30-2013, 09:01 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sukhada View Post

We took our 2 year old this year and last year. She loved it. Our local Pride has a family zone. She also loved dancing to the music. She didn't really notice the nudity/sexuality. But even when she gets to the age when she does we'll still bring her; we'll just have a conversation about it.

 Love it. I agree, 100% :D


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#25 of 26 Old 09-30-2013, 01:05 PM
 
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I'm converted. I am now fully on board with being a parade participant, but would certainly be mindful of where my family might be unwelcome (super racy public displays) and where it is appropriate to be presen. Thanks for the perspective and info, friends! Looking forward to trying for next year. smile.gif
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#26 of 26 Old 10-17-2013, 01:43 PM
 
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I know that pride is way past for the year, but I just saw this post (and board) and wanted to say that at least as far as Parade night (the only night I went of the three), I would definitely take my daughter next year. I didn't take her this year because it was my first pride and I didn't know what to expect. Some of my friends brought their (older) kids to march, and the first night was pretty family friendly in my eyes. :)


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