In June, we celebrate Pride!
Au Pair in America is proud to serve host families and au pairs of all backgrounds across the United States, including those who identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community! We’re committed to fostering a positive and inclusive cultural exchange program.
Our Global Awareness initiative recently spoke with Taina (they/them), a 25 year old au pair from Brazil, about their experience as a member of the LGBTQIA+ au pair community. As we learned a bit about Taina themself, we also explored how they feel others can become more informed and what we can all do to be good allies. Here’s an excerpt of what they shared with us:
Q: When did you become an au pair?
A: This is my second time as an au pair. I was 19 years old the first time and lived in the NY suburbs (2016-2018) and stayed for two years there. Now I live in [Washington State] after returning to do the program again in 2022.
Q: What is your own coming out experience?
A: My natural family didn’t have the best reaction since my family was conservative and religious. I found that acceptance with my host family back in 2016. I was nervous and scared, but my host family said, “we love you as you are and you don’t need to pretend to be anything but who you are.” It was beautiful. After that I felt comfortable to be myself and I went to the gay parade in NY. I posted a picture of me there in Instagram and came out to more friends and I found a lot of support. The support from the host family in NY and here in WA is beautiful. During my interview the next time as an au pair, I told the host families and asked if they were comfortable having a queer au pair. My family made me feel welcomed and comfortable when I revealed this.
Q: What are some of the myths you think exist for what or who in au pair should be?
A: This is a personal experience, but when you see pictures of au pairs, they tend to be feminine stereotypes. I expect nails done, long hair and a stereotype. Au pairs are all different and so more au pairs making themselves seen and heard will show the differences. Gay au pairs and black and brown au pairs should all put themselves out there to represent.
Q: What are three easy things a family can do once they find out that their au pair is a member of the LGBTQIA+ community?
A: Explain and teach the kids that people are all different. Stay informed. Ask for pronouns.
Q: What are your thoughts about how to support a host child who is questioning their identity?
A: As an au pair, do the same thing as a host family would. Research, stay informed and support that child the best you can.