Not only during the month of June, which is National Pride Month, does UICS welcome and embrace children, families, and staff of all backgrounds. We work to create an inclusive environment that is accepting of the LGBTQ+ community. This is inherent to UICS’ commitment to equity and diversity.
Self-exploration, healthy identity formation, and respect for sexual orientation and gender expression are innate to UICS’ mission of embracing difference. As educators, it is our responsibility to create a safe and reflective environment that results in freedom of expression for everyone. In particular, UICS recognizes the importance of supporting LGBTQ+ families and their children. UICS moves beyond traditional gender conforming norms of behavior and welcomes everyone for who they are during Pride Month and every month.
National Pride Month is observed in June to commemorate the Stonewall Riots on June 28, 1969. The Stonewall Inn of New York City was a safe haven for people that identified with the LGBTQ+ community. It was a place for them to be themselves at a time when New York, like many states including Missouri, banned the right to be openly gay in public. On that night in June, several Stonewall Inn patrons fought back against a police raid and 1,000 people flooded the streets to support the protesters. This incident, 52 years ago, propelled a movement for people to express themselves and their sexual orientation freely and for all families to be treated equitably.
We know that our little learners have the capacity to understand what’s going on in the world around them, including topics that may be seen by some as controversial. In order to create and maintain a more equitable community, it’s important that we equip our students and adults in their lives with information early. Often, families want to know how to have crucial conversations and how they can be supportive.
Please find resources below that might be helpful in having conversations with the children in your lives. Together, we are better.
Family Pride Coalition: Books for Kids with LGBT parents and Books for LGBT parents
National Head Start Association: Children’s Books That Include Diverse Family Structures
Beginning (or continuing) the journey to a more equitable classroom
The Blue’s Clues Pride Parade Sing-Along
LGBTQ+ Friendly Schools: Advice from other parents
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Webinar: COLAGE, Supporting Children in LGBTQ+ Families for More Than 29 Years