Lighting Up the Sky in Celebration of LGBTQ Families



Three hundred Intel Shooting Star drones light up the sky over Folsom, California, on Saturday, June 23, 2018. The drone light show that honored the LGBTQ community is part of Intel’s celebration of Pride Month. The performance celebrated diversity and equality, including symbolic illustrations of the Pride flag and same-sex symbols. Intel spotlighted two LGBTQ couples that include an Intel employee. (Credit: Intel Corporation)

I can’t say I’d given the topic of children growing up in families with two mommies or two daddies much more than surface-level thought, wondering things like, “Are there books tailored for their families or do they have to adapt the stories as they read to their children before bedtime every night?” Last weekend, I was part of an amazing experience that quite literally shone a light for me on what it means to be a family in the LGBTQ community.

I write for this website in my “spare time,” but my day job is in digital marketing at Intel. Intel has a long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion, and a strong community of LGBTQA (the “A” signifies both the asexual community and “allies”) employees around the world. This year, to celebrate Pride in a big way, we hosted a drone light show paying tribute to these employees, their families, and the broader LGBTQ community.

Having organized the event, I thought I knew what I was in for when I showed up. I was wrong.

Who I saw, proudly and joyfully spilling out of their cars and into the event area, were Intel employees, their partners, and their families who had all come to see the drone light show created just for them.  Everyone was smiling when they arrived, but the children were literally jumping for joy. I watched them grab sparkly wands and hats, put on colorful scarves and wave their flags in the air. They quickly and easily became friends with the other children who came, dancing and singing; their excitement was contagious!

I thought about what I was seeing and it hit me. Children of LGBTQ parents probably have to explain who their parents are or answer awkward questions from kids at school. Though completely normal to them, their family structures are different from others, and it might make it harder for them to attend school events together or to have their parents in the stands at their sporting events. 

When the 300 drones started flying, first in the formation of a heart within a rainbow flag, then morphing into same-sex gender signs, next, a unicorn, the kids were transfixed by what they were seeing.  

My heart just melted when Peyton, one of the young girls, saw her very own family depicted in the sky, symbolized by a stick figure drawing of two mommies and a little girl, and said, “It’s always been, like, a mother and father, and now it’s like … us!”

Someday, I’ll tell my children stories of how, years ago, we used to march in Pride parades and wave rainbow flags, put on events such as this one as a way to show support of the LGBTQ community.  When I do, I hope they look at me with confusion and disbelief that being LGBTQ hadn’t always been “normal.”


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