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Families Rejoice and Reflect Together to Celebrate Pride Month

Rainbow flags, festivals, community spirit demonstrate support

spinner image Katie Altemus and partner
Katie Altemus (right) and their husband Don plan to participate in Pride activities this month.
Courtesy Katie Altemus

Across the country, LGBTQ Americans are decorating with rainbows and making plans to celebrate the freedom of being out and proud. Families, particularly those with younger children, may shy away some of the more risqué events related to Pride Month, but there are plenty of family-friendly ways to celebrate.

We asked six people to tell us, in their own words, how they celebrate Pride Month with their families.

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These interviews have been edited for brevity and clarity.

Brian Albertoni, 58, marketing director, Visalia, California

Albertoni and his husband Anthony Maldonado have an 11-year-old son, Lincoln, and are celebrating 25 years together.

spinner image Brian Albertoni and Anthony Maldonado
Photo courtesy Brian Albertoni (left)

Pride is the celebration of being accepted by somebody, even if it's each other. It's a celebration of who we are without shame. It's an opportunity to be an example for others to see.

We usually attend the gay Family Week in Provincetown, Massachusetts, every year. It's the last week of July. We've gone five times. We didn't go last year, so we're going to go this year.

There are gay families from all over the world. When we first went, it was so amazing. Lincoln had never seen another kid with two dads before. He was 5. Just to be able to be among those people like us — we just absolutely love it.

We're in a very rural town, very red. We are the only gay dads in our town that we know of. We have put our Pride flag up on our flagpole with the American flag.

I do worry that putting our flag up puts a target on us. Our decision is, if we don't stand up and be the example for other upcoming gay, lesbian and trans people who are struggling in our conservative community, who will? We've often talked about moving away to a place that's more familiar, where there's a lot more people like us.

I always say I want to stay because someone has to make a difference.

Lisa Eidel, 53, stay-at-home mom, Bergen County, New Jersey

spinner image Lisa Eidel and family
Photo courtesy Lisa Eidel (right

Eidel lives with her wife, Kelly Haggerty, and their children Hudson, 10, and Finn, 6.

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While I show pride year-round, Pride Month is just more visually showing that we love who we are and we're proud of who we are. To me it's a happy time. It's the celebration of all those people who came before us that were literally fighting for equality and marriage. To me it's a celebration of how far we've come.

Pre-kids we would have marched in New York or at least attended. Now, Maplewood, New Jersey, has a Pride festival every year so we've been doing that. This year there's also going to be a march with Garden State Equality, which is the huge organization that was really pushing for legalizing gay marriage. We are marching in it with our kids.

I want our kids to be proud of who we are. A lot of what we do is centered on showing our kids how to be out there, to do things to make a change, to be proud of who they are.

My older son, Hudson, his legal name is Thom and he's actually named after my cousin who committed suicide and who was gay. Thom's family was very religious. He never felt pride. So that's another reason for us to celebrate — for us to do it in his name. Being there with my son, it comes full circle.

Katie Altemus, 51, IT business analyst, Philadelphia suburbs

spinner image Katie Altemus and partner
Courtesy Katie Altemus (left)

Altemus lives with their husband, Don, and the couple has three children, ages 11, 13 and 17.

Pride means a lot to me, but in a more personal way than outward celebrations. I am a queer nonbinary person and Don is a queer trans man. I came out relatively late in life and struggled to feel a sense of community. I struggled to break down the cis/het persona I had built so very sturdily because of how hard I had fought my own identity. Because I was over 40 by that time, I found that the community I was trying to join doubted my identity and for a couple of years it was a pretty lonely place to be.

Many folks credit the Pride movement with helping them come out but, in my case, I didn't even attend my first Pride event until after I had come out and was married to another queer person. For that first Pride, we took two of our kids to our local PrideFest and had a wonderful day where I felt like I was part of something — that doesn't happen as often as I would like.

This year, our local PrideFest will be held semi-virtually and we will probably participate in some of the activities. We try to live the idea of pride every day and make our home and family a welcoming place for everyone, and to honor the work and sacrifices of those who came before us and made the Pride movement possible for us.

We encourage widespread use of pronouns and honor chosen names, and we step up to educate and inform when possible in our personal and professional relationships. To casual onlookers we generally appear to be a straight cisgender couple, and we are determined to use that point of privilege to benefit our community. Unfortunately, there are still times when safety may affect what we do, but we are actively working toward having a world where that is no longer a looming concern.

Luchina Fisher, 54, filmmaker, Connecticut

Fisher and her husband, David Parr, have three children, Gia, 17, Luc, 15, and Mateo, 10. Gia came out as transgender at age 12.

It's really important to show pride, but also support. And what that support looks like is being both a vocal and a visible ally: showing up and speaking up. For our family, that means attending the Pride parades as a family.

Our first Pride parade as a family was in New York. It was the summer after Gia came out. We were decked out in beads and other things. The kids really had a great time.

Perhaps our favorite Pride parade was the one in which we all marched as a family. That was Chicago Pride in 2019. Gia is a founding member of the GenderCool Project a nonprofit organization that celebrates the successes and personalities of transgender youth instead of focusing on their gender identity. So the GenderCool champions were marching in the Pride parade and their families were right there with them. The love that you felt coming from the crowd, being in the crowd, we just all loved it.

This year, I don't know that there's any Pride in person. Everything is still virtual so we're plugging into events. I'm sure there's going to be some events around my film, Mama Gloria, a documentary about legendary transgender elder Gloria Allen, and Gia has a book coming out, A Kids Book About Being Transgender.

I think right now is such a critical time to show support for trans youth, especially because of all the anti-trans legislation you see coming out. All the bills that are being proposed at state legislatures that are banning everything from trans youth being able to participate in sports to being able to access their much-needed health care. Especially this year, it's important to show our support for the community.

Leslie Fisher, 57, diversity, equity and inclusion consultant, Oakland, California

Fisher is Luchina Fisher's sister and is married to Judy Gilbert.

Pride is a way to celebrate, to connect and bring visibility to a community that has been marginalized and threatened and killed. Now because of COVID-19, there's an opportunity to connect virtually with family, as well, who are celebrating on the other side of the country.

Our family represents. The rainbow bunting is up and we invite people over and play music. Every year we would normally go to some kind of celebration. We'd go to Castro [a San Francisco neighborhood] and we'd also go to downtown Oakland. We would be checking out parties. We might go to Zuni Café, which is like lesbian central near Market Street where all the celebrations are taking place. And it would be a total scene.

This year, it's going to be very different than how we usually celebrate. But I'm hoping that people can at least come over who have been vaccinated and we can have a get-together.

I'm used to having access to a Black Pride as well as a mainstream Pride. One year, we did a march of Black lesbians in Oakland during Pride Month, and it was fabulous.

I'm hoping with COVID, and with the fact that things are going to be streamed online, that people of color can also find resources in other parts of the country, even if they don't have something specific that supports Black lives and Black LGBTQIA [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual.]

Heidi Kronenberg, 54, social worker, Hudson Valley, New York

Kronenberg lives with her partner and has two children who are young adults.

Pride means I don't have to be self-conscious about who I am. I can be out. I don't have to feel bad about myself or concerned about what people are going to think about me.

I used to live in Chicago so we used to go to the parade every year. Moving to a rural environment can be very challenging. The roots of my area are conservative. There's people that relocate here that are not conservative, but you never know who's around you. So I wouldn't put a rainbow flag in front of my house. My safety is always a concern.

The town next to mine has a little Pride parade. And it makes me feel really good. I wasn't sure what the climate was going to be, and if there would be protesters. But it was a whole parade. They had the school bands marching in it. I felt that was really embracing gay pride that they were letting everybody march. I felt super-embraced and very at peace and very happy to have moved here. I felt safe.

This year, my family will attend our local Pride parade. We like to feel that brief sense of security and support knowing that others have gathered to celebrate. My daughter now lives in New York City, so if there is a parade I'm sure she will go. My kids do little gestures — my son rearranged our dinner plates in rainbow order. Pride is a warm feeling, at least for the month.

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