By Shelby Kretz
It can be hard to know where to start when talking about LGBTQ+ identities with little ones. use the following conversation starters to get this important conversation going with your elementary school kids:
Conversation starter: How is your family different from and similar to the families of your friends? Why do you think it is important to celebrate different families? What is unique about your family? What do you love most about your family? What makes your family special?
This will help kids start to think about family diversity and how it relates to their family in particular.
Conversation starter: Why do you think symbols are important for communities who have faced discrimination and marginalization? What can symbols do for a community? Are there any symbols that are important in your life - for you, your family, or your identity?
This will help you get the conversation started about symbols - such as the rainbow flag - that represent the LGBTQ+ community. It will help kids think about other symbols in their life that are meaningful to them (for example, a school mascot, a religious symbol, or the logo of a brand they love).
Conversation starter: What should we do if we accidentally say the wrong pronouns? How can we be kind without making the other person feel embarrassed? If someone used the wrong pronouns for you, how would you feel? What would you say? What would you want them to say? If someone used the wrong pronouns for a friend, what would you do? What do you think that friend would want you to do?
Talking about this in advance will make sure kids are prepared to handle this situation if it comes up in real life. It helps them think through a potential situation and also develop empathy if this situation were to happen.
Conversation starter: Do you know when marriage became legal for same-sex couples in your country (if it is legal)? If not, look into the history of LGBTQ+ marriage equality and other LGBTQ+ rights in your country.
This is a great way to learn history together and start the conversation. For example, if you live in the United States, your kids might be surprised to learn that gay marriage was legalized at the federal level not that long ago (maybe even within their lifetime). This can help them understand why we're still in the active fight for rights.
Conversation starter: What can you do to let LGBTQ+ individuals in your school or community know you support them?
This offers an opportunity to think through action steps and discuss what is supportive vs. harmful behavior. Do some research together if you aren't sure where to start!
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