DC library holds LGBT pride parade for children, event with Chasten Buttigieg

A young boy waves a rainbow flag while watching the San Francisco gay pride parade two days after the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decision that legalized same-sex marriage throughout the country in San Francisco, California, June 28, 2015. | Reuters/Elijah Nouvelage

Multiple branches in the District of Columbia Public Library System held a children's LGBT pride parade this past weekend to encourage young people to embrace their LGBT identities, which included a conversation with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg's husband detailing his "coming-out journey." 

The Georgetown, Palisades and Tenley branches of the D.C. Public Library hosted the parade event Saturday, inviting all age groups to attend, including toddlers and babies.

Children between the ages of zero and 18 were encouraged to participate and wear rainbow-themed costumes as the youth were told to represent "your most fabulous self." 

"The parade was for LGBTQ kids and all families, signaling that their community supports them," D.C. Public Library Media Relations Manager George Williams told The Christian Post in a statement.

"Following the parade, an outdoor festival took place offering popsicles, music, games and crafts," he continued. "There were no speakers or performers at either the parade or the festival. There was no negative reaction to the event. Organizers estimate between 250 to 300 people attended."

The library system did not advertise the parade on its website or promote the event on its social media accounts. Last week, The Daily Signal published a copy of a flier for the event in a Thursday article. The outlet reported that "the event was promoted on the community level" with a notice distributed through the "library's Dupont Listserve that advertises the event."

According to the notice for the parade, the event's purpose was to "signal" to children who identify as LGBT that they have the support of their community. 

"One of the parade themes is 'Be-YOU-tiful!' For LGBTQ kids, kids who want to be allies, and kids who haven't figured that all out yet, the parade will signal that their families, school and community joyfully accept their full identity-whatever that may be," the parade notice reads. "We want this to be an event for every family, not just ones that already know they have members that are LGBTQIA+."

The parade flyer also noted that today's kids are beginning to identify as LGBT at a younger age, and the event was catered towards "every family, whether they know they have LGBTQ+ members or just want their kids to know their family loves others regardless of sexuality or gender identity."

The library system even encouraged local schools and members of the community to show "they support LGBTQ youth and families."

Another event intended for adults and children took place Thursday, featuring Chasten Buttigieg.

Buttigieg spoke with National Public Radio's Ari Shapiro during the story hour about the young adult adaptation of his memoir, I Have Something to Tell You. Attendees were urged to come and hear Buttigieg speak on "his experience coming out and his journey to finding acceptance and self-love; and how to support younger generations."

In addition to the parade and storytime with Buttigieg, the library system gave away kits to make a rainbow-themed wand in celebration of LGBT pride month, which is held yearly in June. 

The LGBT-themed events come as other public libraries across the country have hosted Drag Queen Story Hours and similar events that expose children to ideas about sexuality and gender identity. In response, Christian actor and author Kirk Cameron has held his own story hour events at multiple libraries. 

As The Christian Post reported, Cameron published a children's book titled As You Grow, which teaches kids about the biblical fruits of the Holy Spirit. The actor and his publishing company, Brave Books, alleged that several public libraries denied them the opportunity to host events. 

Many of these same libraries that rejected Cameron allowed Drag Queen Story Hours for children. These types of story hour events usually involve a biological man dressing as a woman and reading books to children. 

Samantha Kamman is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: Follow her on Twitter: @Samantha_Kamman

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