Q&A with Ember, 9, a nonbinary bisexual student who organized the first ever Pride Parade at their school

Pride Parade Elementary School
LGBTQIAK+ Pride Parade where you can print a fla g or become a flag or both! the parade will be prancing today & on friday after tc chore time. come and have fun! (confront Ember for face paint)

One of Ember’s parents posted this flyer on Facebook, explaining that their kid had decided to organize a Pride Parade at their school. After I read the flyer, I knew that it was important to include Ember’s voice in this blog. So I asked their parent and they worked it out amongst themselves. Ember opted to let their parent type their responses, but I have not edited.

This isn’t just about a kid doing something cute. It is not an “awwwww” moment at all; it is an “A HA!” moment of realization that this much younger generation gets identity and the struggle for liberation – and fun – in a way that eludes most of us adults. Ember is part of the cohort we formally call Generation Z, but more important to me – they are in the same generation as my niblings. It makes my heart feel so good to know that they will grow up surrounded by other kids like Ember. We need that world, the world of prancing Pride parades and the self-confidence to lead the parade where none exists.

Your Name: Ember
Your Age: 9
Your Pronouns: they

How do you describe your identity? I would say I’m kind of bisexual. I am in a straight relationship but also I am bisexual, and also nonbinary.

Who is the first openly LGBTQ person that you met and what impact did they have on your life?  My sister, who’s transgender. It didn’t really have that much of an impact because with transgenderness and LGBTness being introduced to me as a small child, I’ve been growing up thinking they’re pretty normal to have as part of your description.

I saw on Facebook that you organized a Pride parade at your school. Tell us about the parade and why you decided to do it. I just decided to do it because it’s Pride month and I just kind of felt like we should do it, because it’s never been something that’s happened before, so I wanted to do it. It was a unique idea, and I’m a very big fan of Pride things. Quite a few of my friends joined in!

Pride Parade Elementary School
Some of the flags created by the parade participants

How did the parade go? Pretty well. Not too too many people joined, but it was fun. We printed flags and I put face paint on, and it was just fun.

How did other students and teachers respond to your idea?  They liked the idea a lot and they cheered it on. Some of them didn’t want to join it, but they would cheer it on when it passed by.

Have you been to any other Pride parades? What did you like the most about them?  Not necessarily parades, but I have been to a Pride thing before. I don’t know, I just felt like it was a great way to just say, “I don’t care what you think, I’m proud of this – and I’m an ally of all the other things in QUILTBAG.” Also you get a lot of Pride buttons and things. Pride bracelets. Pride popcorn.

Sometimes adults think kids are “too young” to identify themselves as lesbian, trans, bisexual, etc. What advice would you give to other young people whose parents tell them they are too young to express or explore their identities?  I would say that it doesn’t mean anything bad to be that, and I would tell them to ask their parents why they think that way, and also how it’s nothing wrong or bad to be part of that and if they keep telling you that you’re still too young then I would just say, “do not let what they think influence you, you can be proud of who you are if you just don’t let things like that get you down.”

You used the term LGBTQIAPK+ on your flyer. Can you tell me what those letters represent to you?  Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, pansexual and I forgot what the k is.

What is the very best way other kids can support their LGBTQ family and friends and classmates? Whatever way they want to.

Can you pick out a song to share with everyone that expressed how you feel about your pride parade? I haven’t really listened to very many songs about that type of stuff.

Is there anything else you’d like to say? Not really. Well, kind of. If you’re part of the LGBTQ etc. you should be proud of who you are and not try to change because of other people’s opinions.

Thank you, Ember!

I can’t think of a better post to share during Pride weekend.