Among them is one that LGBTQ+ Canadians have celebrated for four decades.
It’s a little known fact that Valentine’s Day in Canada has, as many of us do, a gay cousin. The lesser-known Canadian holiday “Pink Triangle Day” was invented after a major victory for queer press freedom. The holiday creators didn’t want to copy Valentine’s Day’s obsession with couples, instead hoping merrymakers would share love with all gays and lesbians in their lives.
For the most part, “Pink Triangle Day” has been unremembered. If your family’s up for updating this obscure holiday for 2020, there are plenty of activities that your kids can do to celebrate queer and trans identities.
Here are our ideas for LGBTQ+ activities that will make your family’s hearts feel full:
Let’s be real, stuffing your face with chocolates and candy is the best part of Valentine’s Day. Set your kids’ treats apart from the usual red-and-pink suspects with desserts that show a loved one’s pride.
Make inclusive cards
It’s time to ditch the store-bought classroom Valentines for fabulous homemade masterpieces. Kids will love crafting cards that are free of pink and blue clichés, with flags and colours that represent them. Should your family need inspiration, Halifax’s Youth Project has several templates for chuckle-worthy cards.
Go for drag brunch
As much as we love drag queens and kings, bouncers probably won’t let your little ones into the nightclubs they perform in. Luckily, day-time events like drag brunches allow kids to watch their favourite performers shine.
If you’re raising a literary lover, head to your local library: they might host drag queen story times, as many libraries across Canada do.
Or put on a show at home!
Whether kids are curious about exploring gender expression or just love theatrics, trying drag out themselves is a fun activity that’ll give them a chance to experiment with their appearance in a judgment-free zone.
Watch: Desmond is Amazing shows off his RuPaul knowledge. Story continues below.
Adults can glam up their experience by decorating a hallway like a fashion runway, helping them learn romantic ballads to lip-sync, and making Valentine’s-themed outfits (red dresses! Pink suspenders! The options are endless). For bonus points, adults should consider donning on wigs and costumes, too.
Take a pride walk
Live in a city? Show some love to your neighbourhood. There’s likely a district brimming with LGBTQ+ businesses and organizations worth checking out. Hot chocolate breaks at friendly cafes will have them smitten.
Some, like Toronto’s Village, offer guided tours that pass by landmarks rich with history. But if you live somewhere that doesn’t have many LGBTQ-positive establishments, it could be worth creating your own pride map: ask your kids to draw your neighbourhood and label all the local places special to their LGBTQ+ loved ones, like a restaurant where their aunts first met or a park their gay-straight alliance (GSA) likes to visit.
Build an LGBTQ+ bookshelf
Romeo and Juliet aren’t the protagonists of these books. Spend some time reading diverse kids’ lit with your kids or make your own. “Prince and Knight” is one fairy tale that proves gender shouldn’t stop who one falls in love with.
Not into mushy romances? Fear not. Bookstores are more likely than ever to be stocked with trans-positive kids’ books of all genres.
Watch an LGBTQ+ family-friendly romance
Looking to start a Netflix queue? “Queer Eye,” “She-Ra and the Princesses Of Power,” and “One Day At A Time” all show queer and trans characters on screen. The recently released fantasy cartoon “Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts” received major props for being one of the first children’s cartoons to show a child explicitly say they’re gay.
Help a trans loved one reach their goals
Many trans individuals have crowdfunding fundraisers to help with expensive gender-affirming treatments and medical procedures. Should you have the means, surprising a trans family member or friend with a donation can make them feel incredibly loved.
While you’ll likely be supplying the financial aspect of this gift, kids can make the exchange much more sentimental. Film a short video with them explaining how much this person means to them and why their loved one’s well-being matters. Trust us, there will be plenty of happy bawling.
Write a love letter to an LGBTQ+ icon
Channel that adoration into a love letter-writing session, where everyone can flex their poetic muscles. And if the icons are in the family, penning letters to each other can remind them how awesome they are.
A show-and-tell session followed by a trip to the post office (or keeping the letters, as the act of writing can be just as satisfying) makes for pretty good Valentine’s Day plans.
If your little ones wants to share their heart with people who don’t get enough love, there are LGBTQ+ Canadians who would love to receive a handwritten love letter.
Some LGBTQ youth organize to send cards to incarcerated individuals.
The Canadian Armed Forces encourages children to send Valentine’s cards to veterans. Why not send a card to an elder who was affected by the federal government’s gay purge? A former serviceperson would undoubtedly appreciate the gesture.
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