Parents of Pride forms in Three Rivers

Dan, Ava, Sonya and Zo Moyle are seen during a 2023 Pride march in New York City. The Moyle parents recently unveiled Parents of Pride at the Three Rivers Pride Festival. (Courtesy of Dan Moyle)

Parents of Pride is not a support group, Dan Moyle said.

Moyle and wife Sonya are parents of two, both of whom identify as LGBTQIA+ community members: Ava, 19, a bisexual cis female, and Zo, 18, a nonbinary pansexual.

“We are just two parents who happen to have kids in the community who want to meet with other parents and be resources to each other,” Moyle said. “That’s important, that this is a resource group. It’s not a support group. We’re not sad about our kids being queer.”

Parents of Pride was formally announced Saturday, June 29, during the Three Rivers Pride Festival. The Moyles have been supporting Three Rivers Pride since its beginning, but this year, Dan Moyle wanted to go beyond just donations.

“I got to thinking, and I reached out to the committee and Andrew (George, Three Rivers Pride founder) and asked, ‘Do you have a parents group that we can join? We’d like to make friends with parents who have kids in this community.'” Moyle recalled.

George told Dan there was an opening for a parents resource group, and from there, Parents of Pride was on its way. The Moyles were excited about being able to announce Parents of Pride and meet with fellow parents of LGBTQIA+ community members.

Raising two LGBTQIA+ community members has been enlightening for Dan and Sonya Moyle. The family has taken part in Pride events from New York in 2023 to Three Rivers as recent as last month.

“Ava is very proud of being bi and wants to make sure that bi erasure doesn’t keep happening,” Dan Moyle said. “It’s been an incredible journey over the last few years. Every single Pride event is full of joy and authenticity. They’re all very welcoming.”

One of the happiest places on Earth, Moyle said, is a Pride event. He hopes to see more support as Three Rivers Pride continues to grow.

“It was a positive experience and we had some great conversations. I had one of those ‘Free Dad Hugs’ shirts on and I had a couple of people come give me a hug. I love seeing people being themselves and bringing that joy,” Moyle said.

Three Rivers Pride is also overjoyed and incredibly thankful, George said.

“Dan and Sonya’s dedication to our community and their initative with Parents of Pride is exactly the direction we’ve envisioned for our organization,” George said. “As we look to the future, we hope to open a Three Rivers Pride Center that will offer similar services to Parents of Pride and even more support for the LGBTQIA+ community.”

What the Moyles are doing is spot on and perfectly in alignment with Three Rivers Pride’s mission of fostering love, acceptance, and support, George said.

“Parents of Pride is vital for fostering a supportive community where parents can connect and adovcate for their LGBTQIA+ children and even adult children. This initiative is a cornerstone of our mission, helping to build a more inclusive and understanding environment in Three Rivers,” George said.

The recent Three Rivers Pride Festival included entertainment, positive interactions and the unveiling of the Parents of Pride resource group. (Courtesy Parents of Pride)

At least a dozen people signed up for Parents of Pride at the Three Rivers festival, Dan Moyle said. More interest has been gained thanks to the group’s Facebook page.

“We’re just shy of two dozen members so far, whether it’s through email or the Facebook group,” he said.

Increased support for LGBTQIA+ individuals is allowing for more people to identify as community members, according to Dan.

“My biggest encouragement for parents is that it’s not about perfection, it’s about progress,” Moyle said. “Whether you fully accept your child as they come out or whether you struggle with it, perhaps because of your own past or whatever it is that you have going on, it’s not about perfection. It’s about progress. Connecting with other parents, having these conversations, whether they’re tough or full of joy, and having a community around you, is something that you need, too, as a parent.”

Many parents of LGBTQIA+ community members may be worried about not getting it completely right but being present and listening go a long way, Dan says.

“Just lean into it and be there for your kids, whether they are young or adult children. Be there for them, love them, and just listen.”