Children’s story hour focuses on ‘Pride’

Children at Saturday’s story hour at the Milford Public Library learned that there are all kinds of families: Some children have a mother and father; some children have only a mother; some children have two fathers while others have two mothers.

Saturday’s was a special Pride Story Hour that the library organized in conjunction with Milford Pride, a new Milford-based group that hopes to spread visibility and awareness of people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

Danielle Valenzano, library assistant in the children’s department, read a story called “Families, Families, Families,” by Suzanne Lang, that told about children growing up in all different kinds of families. Some children have lots of siblings, and some have none, the author explains. Some children live with their grandparent.

Then there was “Worm Loves Worm,” by J.J. Austrian: When a worm meets a special worm and they fall in love, they decide to marry, but their friends don’t know who will wear the dress and who will wear the tuxedo. But the book tells its audience that it doesn’t matter because worm loves worm.

And finally, there was “And Tango Makes Three,” by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, the true story of two male penguins at the Central Park Zoo that were a little different from the others. “But their desire for a family was the same,” the book description states. “And with the help of a kindly zookeeper, Roy and Silo got the chance to welcome a baby penguin of their very own.”

The special story hour included rainbow art and some rainbow attire. And members of Milford Pride came along to explain the mission of the new group.

Sarah O’Brien of Milford, who founded the organization in June, said this was the first real event Milford Pride organized, though members attended the Oyster Festival in August and other gatherings to distribute information about Milford Pride and to make their presence known.

The group’s goal is to spread awareness about the LGBQ community and to let others know what it means to be an ally to people of different sexual persuasions.

There isn’t a lot of research on the percentage of a population that identifies with LGBQ, O’Brien said, but she estimates that 10% of Milford’s population may identify with the group. Milford Pride already has 200 members, she added.

“People probably think that we have marriage equality, so that’s it, but there is still a lot of work to be done,” O’Brien said.

Sometimes people exclude others by accident, and that’s one of the reasons Milford Pride formed, to make people more aware of those accidental exclusions, O’Brien explained.

Alderman Bryan Anderson was at the story hour as a member of Milford Pride. Anderson said that when Milford Pride formed, the mayor issued a proclamation and lit the front lights of Milford City Hall in rainbow colors to acknowledge the new organization. He said the story hour was a great event to bring different families together and embrace individuality.

Milford Pride is already making a difference in the community, O’Brien said. People have come up to her at events and told her the rainbow sign has made them feel welcome.

And the children at Milford’s story hour, some with their mother; some with their father, some with two mothers and some with their grandmother, looked happy enough to hear the stories about different families, and then to dance and craft as they would at any other story hour.