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Reclaiming Christmas for My Kids

By Kathy Kiger

My kids and I have spent decades adhering to the Christmas traditions I grew up with. My family has always done everything exactly the same. Every. Single. Year. 

Christmas Eve was always spent at my parents’ house. All four of my kids would sleep in the same tiny room — two of them on the floor. The adults would stay up well past midnight getting everything ready. Then we’d all get up at 6:30 am and begin our Christmas morning by reading the Christmas story out of the Bible.

My mom did her best to make everything magical. There were lots of decorations and candles and homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast.

But when it was time to open gifts, it felt like being in a fish bowl. Everyone watched everyone else. My brother and his wife always had plenty of money to buy their kids loads of expensive gifts — every movie, game, and electronic device they could possibly want. 

But after my divorce in 2010, money was always tight. So my...

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The Three Best and Worst Ways to Respond When Your Kid Comes Out to You

The Three Best and Worst Ways to Respond When Your Kid Comes Out to You

by Elena Joy

TLDR: download your Coming Out Responses Cheat Sheet

National Coming Out Day is coming up on October 11 and is often celebrated all week. October is also LGBTQ+ History Month. For many of us within the community, this is a celebratory time! We get to reflect on the joy we have found in coming out to ourselves and our loved ones, allowing us to live beautiful, authentic lives. 

If you have a child that has been trying to figure out how to come out to you, the most important person in their life,  National Coming Out Day might be the nudge they need to share their sexual orientation and/or gender identity with you. 

If your kiddo is anything like mine, they told allllll of their friends and even social media, before they told me. Their Mother. Yeahhhh. Just kidding, it really is fine now. But at the time, I remember feeling pretty upset that I didn’t get to hear about it first....

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Coming Out to My Kids and How It Changed My Parenting

I think I was born a perfectionist. I’ve spent my life trying to do things right. So when it came to parenting, I was all in and ready to give 110%. I read all the books and took all the advice. I was determined to be a great parent.

And from a certain point of view, I suppose I was. 

As a straight, Christian mom, the primary goal of my parenting was to help my children develop their own personal faith — a faith they wouldn’t abandon when they left home. This involved guiding my children’s thinking and opinions, taking them to church twice a week, doing Bible devotionals at home — although admittedly I wasn’t great at this one, and making sure they were well-behaved.

My biggest fear was messing up as a mom. I wanted to do everything perfectly. I was taught that my entire life’s purpose was to raise Christian children. And if I messed it up, I was putting not only my own salvation at risk, but my kids’ salvation as well. Mix that...

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How do you talk to your LGBTQ+ teenager about what happened in Colorado Springs?

I’m not a therapist or a trained mental health professional in any way. And when I find those resources and they help me, I’ll share them. 

What I am is an LGBTQ+ mom with at least one LGBTQ+ kid. And I’m not here to actually give you advice, I’m here to share and also hear from you. I’m here to start the conversation. 

First, thank you for even asking yourself this question. It means you’ve truly internalized your child’s identity. If you thought it was a phase, this event would feel like it happened to “others”, it would feel distant and not so immediate. 

But for those of us in the community, it’s very immediate. It’s right here. There is a mix of anger, sorrow, and fear. This emotional cocktail is normally squashed, we don’t allow it to take up much rent in our brains. When we do, it feels like we’ve let them win.  

But waking up yesterday to the news of what happened in...

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Gender Queer: Elena Joy's Perspective

I run Pride and Joy Publishing and for months I’ve been hearing about this breakthrough novel in the LGBTQ+ community, Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe (e/em/eir). I was told it was “first of its kind” as one of the first graphic novels that was also a memoir. (another great one is Fun Home by Alison Bechdel). I was told it was a physical experience to read and that once I had, I’d never forget it.  

The leader of an LGBTQ+ networking group I belong to asked me to lead a book club discussion and I chose Gender Queer.  I decided to pick Gender Queer for the discussion as I figured the accountability would make sure it got read. Having made a very public commitment, I ordered the book. Within the first weekend I could, I sat down to read.  

By page 31, (when Maia got eir period for the first time) I was shaking. Crying by page 48 when 13-year-old Maia walks into eir school’s diversity club for the first time. The story on page 103 had...

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A Letter from Z's Mom

 

Here at Pride and Joy Foundation, we recently found an incredible trans poet in 11-year-old, Z.W.* from Colorado.  We have published his poem here.

 Since so many in our audience are parents of kids just like Z, we wanted to share some thoughts from his Mom.


I am the parent of an AFAB (assigned female at birth) wonderful human. Z’s Journey has also been my journey. He has tried on multiple names and is continuing to get to know who he is. In the beginning of our journey I felt lost and struggled daily, but now, two years in, I have realized that for me to join him in his being lost does not benefit either of us.

In the beginning, I thought I needed to understand everything that Z was going through. I wish someone had told me when we first started down this path that it is not my job to figure it out for him, just to love and support him while he figures it out for himself. It would have saved me many hours of emotionally draining sits, filled with gut-wrenching...

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Surviving and Thriving Transformations and Changes in Parenting

In February, Elena Joy Thurston was a guest on the Energy is Love Podcast hosted by spouses Steph and Craig. Their conversation was abundant in subject matter, but one main thread stood out among all of this: helpful information for surviving and thriving change and transformations in relationship dynamics, particularly around parent and child.   

 

Change is hard. We are creatures of habit. Transformations are challenging, but so powerful. We are constantly witnessing transformations around us: Spring has arrived, caterpillars turn to butterflies, clouds pass us in the sky, taking their own shapes in fractions of time. It’s natural. So shouldn’t we be more intune when it happens in our own families and households? You would think. 

 

Whether, like Elena mentioned in the interview, you are a parent coming out to your children, or a parent with a child coming out about their gender or sexuality, or even a parent dealing with a late teen/early...

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Raising LGBTQ+ and Neurodiverse Kids

neurodiversity parenting Dec 14, 2021

If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent way too much time on social media apps during the pandemic.  While we’re in such a time of isolation, we’ve connected virtually in powerful ways.  We’ve also done a ton of introspection and then shared what we’ve found with each other.  Maybe you learned you love to bake sourdough bread.  Maybe, like thousands of people around the world, you discovered that you’re actually not totally heterosexual.  

 

And maybe, like many, many thousands around the world, you realized that you or your child is actually not neurotypical.  As more and more neurodiverse people share how they experience the world, more and more people realize that Autism, ADD, ADHD, and a host of neurodiverse conditions present in many different ways.  Not everyone presents like Rain Man, right?  

 

This played out in my family.  As the pandemic moved on and my partner...

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Pride with Kids, All Year Long

 

As Pride Month 2021 comes to a close, here is a review of the most commonly asked questions from parents of LGBTQ+ kids.    

I’m pretty sure my kid is LGBTQ+ but they haven’t come out.  Why aren’t they being honest with me?  

Not being out with your parents is very common in the LGBTQ+ community. The coming out journey begins with being out to yourself, and depending on the environment you're being raised in, it can feel unsafe to be authentic even to yourself, let alone your parents. The more comfortable a child is with their own identity, the more likely they'll come out to their parents.  

Obviously, parents and caregivers influence that comfort level. But home life can be very accepting and the child might still struggle to accept their identity themselves. It’s a very personal journey, which can feel disconcerting since we’re their parents. We wiped their bums for goodness sake! We feel heavily...

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Parent Connection - Support Group for Parents

Parenting is already the hardest job in the world, and when you add sexuality to the mix, it gets even more challenging.

Whether your child is just beginning to question their sexuality or is ready to buy every rainbow they see, we are here to provide connection and support. Without judgment.

'Cause parenting is hard enough without being judged by other parents. We see you and we need you.

Join us on www.PrideAndJoyParents.com!

Parent Connection is a support network for parents who needs help and guidance in handling matters relating to their children's sexuality.

Acceptance, support, and understanding are one of the best things that LGBTQ+ children will ever receive, especially from their parents. As such, we all know that you, as parents, want to give your best to your child, however, you're not invincible.

Parenting is already a challenge of its own, your child's sexuality being part of the equation opens up a whole other set of challenges. Our goal is to provide a safe space...

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