Born This Way: Teaching My Toddler Pride


My mama told me when I was young
We were all born superstars
~ Lady Gaga, Born This Way

DC is my favorite city in the world. My husband and I are in this city by choice, not chance, and our decision to raise our son in Dupont Circle is a deliberate one. It is an amazing place to be a parent!

Pride is one of my favorite things about living in Dupont Circle (along with the celebrations). It is also a great time to reflect on the intersection between Pride and parenting. Here are just a few of the lessons of Pride that I’m incorporating into my parenting.

Pride Reflection: Your identity is beautiful

A big takeaway from Pride is that our world has beautiful diversity; we should love and embrace the different ways we are all created. No two people are exactly alike, and I love the unique calling we each have in this world.

Right now my son loves food of all varieties, cords and swinging doors, giving kisses, meeting new people, being outside, and all things water. I love learning his personality. I love seeing his adventuresome spirit develop.

I write a journal entry to my son every quarter sharing what I discern about his personality. My hope is that this will help him learn more about the person he was created to be, before the trappings of the world get in the way. I am excited to see his loves develop and mature.

Pride Reflection: Fashion should be fun

The Pride Parade is a celebration of people embracing who they are. Fashion is a powerful tool of self-expression as evidenced by the many fabulous drag queens at Pride.

Yet fashion has a dark side. Fashion has for far too long been a source of division. It has been a wedge to separate the “cool kids” and the “haves” from others. Pride reminds me of the importance of using fashion to cultivate community and for the celebration of one’s identity.

Break down barriers and be allies

The night before Pride I was coming home from dinner and Fleetwood Mac was playing on the street with some partygoers dancing up a storm. They welcomed us to join them with open arms. And my toddler and I joyfully danced around. “When the rain washes you clean, you’ll know.

One of the biggest barriers I’m experiencing now is the world’s division between “parents” and “non-parents”… and blogosphere often exacerbates this.

Here, the Pride partygoers bridged this gap and welcomed me and my son in their fun. It was awesome to spontaneously and joyfully be integrated into what many would have perceived as an “adults only” setting with a babe.

DC is a great place to be a parent

I was recently chatting with a gay friend who commented that there was nothing like Pride where he grew up. Dupont is a unique community in DC that celebrates individuality, and that spirit pervades the neighborhood year-round.

When I was a kid I went to the beat of my own drum. I rode my bike backwards, changed color schemes on color by number drawings, and went head to head with the boys in preschool when they told me I couldn’t play with the blocks.

I still question the status quo; I hate to be told no.  I want to be able to tell my son yes as many times as possible, and we live in a community that celebrates saying yes. What a blessing to be able to raise my child in this richly diverse and supportive community! I love that so many diverse groups marched in Pride, from my church to my gym to PFLAG to the Boy Scouts. I hope my son will be able to find mentors and supporters in living out whatever his truth may be. And I want to do my part to make this community be one of acceptance and love of all children.

This article was originally published in June 2018.

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Rebecca Ballard
Rebecca is passionate about market-based social change, values-based consumptive behavior, and ending homelessness. She founded the DC-based sustainable fashion company Maven Women ( to create a socially conscious option for elegant, flattering women's attire and "move the needle" in the global garment industry. Rebecca has two children, Nathan (2017) and Lily (2019). Her parenting passions include social justice and minimalist parenting, (re)claiming her authentic self in her journey, and hyper-local child-raising. Likes: vegetarian street food, sunning & swimming, long city walks, sleeping late, old Hollywood fashion. Dislikes: mushrooms, driving, the saying "everything happens for a reason", being told something is impossible.