Across the nation, Pride month usually takes place in June, but here in Northern Nevada our pride month takes place in July because it is part of our Artown program! I’m in love with Artown and I think it’s one of the most amazing things about living here. Every July, our city fills up with art, entertainment, and super fun, family friendly events! This year, our family was able to attend a lot of the Pride offerings! This was our first Pride parade and festival, because thinking back (and utilizing Facebook memories, thanks for that Facebook), we are ALWAYS out of town during this fun time! So I was very excited to be able to participate and have my boys there with me as we showed our support and love for the LGBTQ+ community!
Growing up, I was lucky (if that’s what you could call it), to be from a pretty progressive and open minded family unit. My parents had gay friends who had kids, whether through IVF or adoption, and it didn’t really come to my attention that this lifestyle was in anyway “wrong” until I started paying attention in middle school, I think. I’m so glad that my parents taught me that love is love, and to not judge anyone for who they might love as long as they are a good person. I have a great group of lifelong friends and yes, a big portion of them are in the LGBTQ+ community. I guess I shouldn’t be shocked at the hatred that people spew at people, but I do get taken aback when I see the vitriol in comments on the internet when these events take place in our city. The amount of keyboard warriors is staggering, so I choose to use my words to spread love and support of the amazing people that I see everyday who have to deal with these trolls and religious fanatics and keep living their life as these things are thrown at them on the daily!
I was so excited to hear that the Sparks Public Library scheduled Drag Queen Story Time! Bravo to Washoe Country Library Director, Jeff Scott for putting this on, even with all the controversy from so many, including Sparks’ own Mayor. This event was about encouraging people to be accepting of others and to spread a love of reading! I decided to take my boys to this event, to continue the conversation of inclusion. I prepared them by letting them know that there might be people called protesters that did not agree with this event who might be saying mean and hateful things to the people who were attending. My 8 year old chimed in saying, “Mom, it’s like a book we read at school when they wouldn’t let African American people go to school with white people, and when they finally did, they all were outside the school yelling at the new students to stay out.” Out of the mouths of babes, right? So we talked about the similarities and the prejudices that people faced back then and what we might see while we were at this event. We pulled in to the parking lot about 45 minutes before the event started and HOLY COW, it was packed! There were hundreds of people and for my boys, it was pretty overwhelming, but they were such troopers! RGJ said there were over 600 attendees and I read later on Twitter that 850+ people were clocked at the door! Since there were so many, we, unfortunately, did not get into the event to actually enjoy the story time, but I was so unbelievably proud of the community for showing up to support! Out of all those people, there were maybe 3-5 negative protesters, but the PRO LGBTQ+ protesters formed a wall around them so our children would have a harder time seeing their signs or hearing their hate. Friends that actually got in said it was wonderful and the Queens did an amazing job with reading their books and connecting with the kids!
I tried not to read the online comments, but of course, I was sucked in. I did choose to not engage with these hateful people, because you can’t argue with this type of online troll. But I was so proud that the majority of people that showed up for the event were in support. I get that it’s controversial, I get that people who are religious have major issues with these things, but no one is forcing people to attend or participate! And I really had to ignore the people that were calling parents that attended horrible for exposing our children to this, equating it to child abuse and saying that child protective services should take our children away because we are teaching them about love and equality. It blows my mind how closed-minded people still are in 2019! But I just have to move on, surround myself with like-minded people and raise my children to be accepting, loving and inclusive!
Last weekend, we were able to attend the Northern Nevada Pride Parade and Festival! We had so much fun! There were so many amazing parade entries, lots of local businesses showing their pride and support, and so many colorful wonderful people spreading the message of love and inclusion! We had a few friends in the parade that we got to cheer on: roller derby players, the all women’s tackle football team, Nevada Storm, and a friend who has a Burning Man vehicle used as a float. My boys had a blast, their favorite entry was Tesla, who had their electric semi-truck in the parade! My boys love all things cool cars and trucks ha ha! After the parade, we walked over to Wingfield park and watched some awesome performances, ending with Todrick Hall, who is amazing! They had everything from drag queens, local dance groups, local bands, etc. and we even got to witness a beautiful proposal of a lesbian couple who had met at Pride last year! It was a wonderful day and once again, I am so proud that Reno celebrates Pride in such a beautiful way! I’m so thankful for all the organizers and community partners who work so hard to put these events on! We can keep supporting and being positive and teaching our children that love is love is love! Even if you aren’t LGBTQ+, I hope that you will show your support and be an ally! We will definitely be attending Pride every year that we are in town and will continue to teach our children about inclusion and to be accepting of good humans, no matter age, sex, race, orientation, religion, etc. Keep the conversations open with them, even at a young age, because they are exposed to more than we think and as parents it’s our responsibility to help them navigate through it all! I hope next year we will see even more families attending these events, as we had so much fun being a part of it!