All over the country, people come out to celebrate Pride Month in June—people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and ages. There’s a lot to consider when you’re bringing kids to a Pride event—Karamo Brown, “Queer Eye” host, Marriott #LoveTravels Ambassador, and father-of-two, talks about how attending Pride can affect kids’ lives and what Marriott’s slogan #LoveTravels means to him.
As someone who grew up in the South, it took a very long time for Brown to even see a gay couple holding hands in real life; he says the first time he did, it was deeply affecting: “Just seeing that can make people say, ‘Oh maybe I could fall in love one day,’ ‘Maybe I could travel the world with somebody I love,’ ‘Maybe I could be walking in the Pride parade with my future partner.’”
Brown says Pride gives people “a day of being surrounded by love and people who are saying we’re fighting for our rights, that we are standing up for you and we love each other.” He used to bring his two sons to Pride events with him, though now that they’re older they don’t tag along as often. Still, Brown says bringing them gave him a lot to consider. After all, Pride events are as much an expression of sexuality and openness as one of love.
“[Attending Pride,] I love that I can be so open and expressive, but as a father I also have to find ways to make sure I’m protecting my children and making sure they’re not exposed to things that I don’t want them to be exposed to,” Brown says. He advocates for talking with kids beforehand about Pride and showing them videos so they know what to expect, especially with regards to their comfort level when it comes to noise, clothing, or possibly sexual content. He also reminds that Pride is equally political, something else kids need to be aware of: “If a child doesn’t know that [there will be protesting] it could be triggering or traumatic.”
Parents who don’t know where to start the conversation about gender identities and sexualities should expose themselves to the LGBTQI+ community as a means of self-education, Brown says, and bring along kids when an event is family-friendly so the kids can see parents model behavior of acceptance. By modeling an openness, parents can open the road to communication.
Marriott’s #LoveTravels, Brown says, is tied to Pride and the overwhelming sense of love it evokes. “As someone who travels the world…what I’ve realized is that the universal language is love and love is shown by kindness, it’s shown by respect and it’s shown by showing up for other people,” Brown notes. “When you say love travels, it can travel through social media, it can travel with you on a plane going to a different destination, or it can just travel with you walking across the room at your job to someone who probably doesn’t feel seen today and saying ‘I see you today and I love you and I respect you,’ and that reverberates throughout the world.”