Not long ago it was rare to see families at the NYC Pride March. No longer. Every year, increasing numbers of LGBTQ couples, now legally married with children—some with queer and trans children!—celebrate alongside their families. As a result, Pride Week has added events and performances of interest to all ages. Nevertheless, parents may wonder if the March is appropriate for children? And how should parents navigate such a chaotic day with their families? If you’re an LGBTQ parent of a young person thinking about coming to Pride for the first time, here are a few tips to keep in mind when you attend the March.
If you’re attending the March with younger children, consider dressing them in distinctive attire to make them easier to spot in a crowd. Be sure children have your phone number and contact info on them, and agree in advance on a meeting place in case anyone gets lost. Also remember to bring sunscreen and earplugs. It’s going to be hot, and it’s going to get loud!
Pride History 101
Yes, Pride is a blast, but your kids should also understand the significance of the event. The March began in 1970 as a way for LGBTQ people to assert their rights on the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall uprising. For more information, visit nycpride.org.
More Teachable Moments
On the one hand, Pride is a glorious celebration of freedom of expression; on the other, some attendees will be scantily clad. (It is Pride, after all.) So it’s best to prepare your children in advance. Think about this as an opportunity to discuss important issues such as personal choice and body shaming, as well as a way to address cultural differences.
Leave your car at home. NYC public transit is your friend during the March; streets become quite crowded, particularly in and around Chelsea and the West Village.
The March officially starts at noon, but we suggest you get there early before the crowds arrive to grab a good spot for viewing where kids will be able to see. Research the new parade route beforehand, bring a few portable chairs and find a shaded spot to watch the festivities. You might want to pick up some bagels and coffee to nosh on while you wait for things to get underway.
For parents in need, the Internet provides answers. The NYC Parks Department has lists of public facilities in all five boroughs, and apps like Rockaloo allow you to buy a pass to bathrooms inside private businesses.
Other Pride Events for Families
In addition to the March, the City offers a range of other family-friendly LGBTQ events during Pride Week:
NYC Pride’s Family Movie Night
Tuesday, June 19, 6:30pm
Families can enjoy a screening of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast outdoors on Hudson River Park’s Pier 45, located just off Christopher Street in the West Village. The film begins at 8:30pm.
The Annual LGBTQ Pride Night at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan
Thursday, June 21, 5:30–7:30pm
Bring your family to this after-hours event, featuring kid-appropriate programming and the opportunity to explore the museum—for free. RSVP here in advance.
Kidding Around Family Pride Picnic
Saturday, June 23, 11am–1pm
The LGBT Community Center hosts this event for families with little ones (8 and under) at the West Village’s Church of St. Luke in the Fields. Enjoy food, music, games and more for a suggested donation of $20.