Today was Proud to Be Me Day at Katie Goldman’s school—Katie is the first grader who was bullied by other kids because she brought a Star Wars water bottle to school. Her awesome mom is putting together a book of all the messages from people who have come out in support of Katie for being exactly who she is. And thanks to her family’s and her school’s support, Katie is back to carrying her Star Wars water bottle to school.
I like to think that every day is Proud To Be Me Day at our house—our official motto is “Let your freak flag fly.” It’s not always easy—Sam, now a third grader, is newly unwilling to admit at school that his favorite color is pink. (Somehow, he’s not afraid to have long hair flowing all the way down his back.) But whether we’re geeks (celebrated so lovingly by stark. raving. mad. mommy on her blog today) or have special needs (it’s Inclusive Schools Week too!) or are pinker or bluer than people think we should be, we need to feel proud of who we are. And we parents are responsible for making space for our kids to feel that pride as often as they can.
There’s excellent new research from The Family Acceptance Project showing that family acceptance of GLBT kids makes all the difference—a measurable and stunning difference, in fact, in their rates of suicide, depression, and substance abuse as these kids grow older. The Family Acceptance Project is also developing a new evidence-based model of wellness, prevention, and care to help families with gender-nonconforming and GLBT kids grow up happy and healthy. (And they’ve made this really incredible video about one family who moved from rejecting their son’s gender expression and sexuality to accepting and celebrating him.)
And so today, on Proud To Be Me Day, I say: Yay for Katie. Yay for Katie’s school, and her family, and all the other schools and families who are working so hard to support their kids. Yay for the Family Acceptance Project, for proving that we’re all on the right track. And most especially: Yay for all the kids who let their freak flags fly.