I’m still riding the feels from Charlotte Pride. For my family personally, I feel like I’ve been celebrating, and proud, all summer long. Last summer was a more anxious time for us as our male-assigned child was transitioning, in her own way and in her own time, to the confident girl that she is now. This summer, I’m celebrating because she’s a happy kid who doesn’t have to worry about which bathroom to go to or where to fit in. We have now been a “trans family” long enough to feel like we know what we’re doing. But I often don’t know the balance to strike between acknowledging her journey and her trans identity and allowing her to just be a kid. Like in the movie “Anything’s Possible” (did you see it this summer? If not, check it out!) I often work with the “law of averages”: only ask her what any parent would ask any average kid.
But I’m proud that she’s not an average kid. And attending Charlotte Pride as a family? Well, that was a special time. We let loose. We did some top-notch people-watching. We collected all the pink-blue-white SWAG and marveled at the flags of all the other color combinations. And when my daughter asked what all the #protecttranskids signs meant, we had a good conversation about it, and the rights that not all trans people have in our country. A lot of our time was spent in the youth and family zone (new to Pride this year), an area which spanned the whole Green. Jennifer Shafiro, a new Charlotte resident and volunteer coordinator with Pride, said she first imagined the Green as a “big magical wonderful place.” Then she and other volunteers worked with partners including Time Out Youth, the Charlotte Library, Drag Queen Story Hour, and sponsors Microsoft and Equitable, to create a safe and inviting area where families could spend the day.
It’s invigorating to see just how many people are part of this community and dedicated their time and talents to the event. Volunteering with PFLAG Charlotte at their tent in the festival, I got to hear firsthand from family members who are eager to find ways to learn more and be engaged allies (if you haven’t volunteered at an event like this, it’s an easy way to get involved!) And as we joined others in walking down Tryon Steet in the parade behind the PFLAG Charlotte banner, we were part of the electric excitement of city streets lined with cheering crowds. It was a special way to celebrate our own pride on a large, exuberant scale with a special community and the dedicated leaders who pull it all together.