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What We Can Learn from Pride and Children Awareness Month

By Anna Gilchrist | June 28, 2024


Girl smiling in front of painted window
Asian girl in front of painted rainbow | Shutterstock

During June, in the United States, we celebrate both Pride and Children’s Awareness Month - Pride Month is a time to honor individuals of the LGBTQ+ community and their contributions, while Children’s Awareness Month focuses on the importance of supporting the well-being and developmental needs of our children and ensuring their protection.



As a children’s author who creates books focused on children’s rights, I found it intriguing that both awareness campaigns occurred in the same month and wanted to dig further to see how they - two groups some would argue should not have any association with one another - may be similar and could simultaneously teach us important lessons about human rights.


Mother and child wrapped in pride flag
Mother and child wrapped in Pride flag in flower field | Shutterstock

Here are the connections I discovered between Pride and Children's Awareness:


1) Both campaigns focus on the protection of their specific human rights.

With Pride and Children’s Awareness, they each teach us the specific human rights unique to their group and why the protection of those rights is critical.


Pride, more than a colorful parade, is when the advocacy for the rights of those in the LGBTQ+ community is amplified due to the harmful experiences many have encountered in the past in response to who they love. It is also a time to commemorate the historical victories for LGTBQ+ rights, rights which include the right to same-sex marriage, adopt children, and receive employment, education, and healthcare without discrimination.



Children’s Awareness focuses on how we can support our children’s development to ensure they properly grow into healthy, well-developed adults. To do this requires recognizing and protecting the human rights of the child; since children are a vulnerable group and need safeguarding, they need the support of adults to protect their rights to be healthy and eventually self-sufficient.


2) Both focus on the importance of expression.

Pride Month has become a notoriously wonderful time for allowing all individuals who dare to express themselves to do so, whether it be a display of one's gender identity, sexual orientation, or simply who they love. It is a time when many demonstrate fearlessness of coming out, to show allyship, or to display what it means to have the freedom to love without fear of discrimination, imprisonment, or death.  



Expression is also considered important when mentioning the needs of children. As a matter of fact, the human rights treaty of children, titled the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), also recognizes the importance of expression for children, stating in Article 13, that a child has “…the right to freedom of expression,” which includes, “either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child's choice.”


Girl flying Pride flag on windy day
Girl flying Pride flag through the wind | Shutterstock

3) Both groups are experiencing their human rights being infringed upon.

Unfortunately, both groups are currently experiencing pushback, with legislation is being introduced in several states to remove many of their human rights for political and economic gain.  For the LGBTQ+ community, over 500 bills have been enacted to take away their rights and make difficult the lives of LGBTQ+ people.  Some laws have been passed, with the most aggressive coming from states like Florida, Tennessee, and Texas, to severely limit or restrict their rights,  including the right to “say gay” or discuss LGBTQ+ topics in school, to have access gender-affirming healthcare, and to be recognized by another name other than the one given at birth.



For our children, there has been a misguided push for parental rights over children’s rights that has led to the massive banning of children’s books involving BIPOC and LGTBQ+ stories - which infringes on a child’s right to free education, the reversal of child labor laws - which places children in dangerous adult jobs, and even the continuation of child marriage…yep, in 2024! Child marriage laws, which remain legal in some form in over 30 states in the US and predominately impact girls, significantly increase the risk of girls becoming victims of forced pregnancy, domestic violence, and missing educational opportunities.



So, it is clear that these two awareness campaigns, although about two uniquely separate groups of people, can somehow be connected and teach us the importance of human rights, freedom of expression, and the constant battle to retain those unique human rights we all have. The fact that they share the same month is no coincidence (I never believed in coincidences). It serves as a reminder that we can not take our human rights for granted, and there is still work to be done to ensure that all people, regardless of age, or who they love, are allowed the freedom to live with their needs met without fear, prejudice or discrimination.




Sources:

 

Author and child rights advocate, Anna Gilchrist

Anna Gilchrist is a children's author, youth rights advocate, and founder of Sandfish Publishing. She received her MFA in Childhood Studies at Swansea University and has published two children's books, both of which can be found on Amazon and her website. When she is not writing, she loves to spend her free time cooking gourmet meals, singing and dancing to 90's hits, and tending to her multiple plants in her New Jersey home.


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