An artist has successfully started a publishers in order to bring to life positive portrayals of LGBT+ characters in kids books.
S Bear Bergman started Flamingo Rampant just because he couldn’t find any LGBT+ themed books with positive outcomes for his young son.
He thought: “Where’s the joy?”
“A lot of the books featuring lesbian, gay and queer-headed families are based on a narrative of bullying and harassment,” the trans activist said to CBC.
“We need books that are celebratory, inclusive, fun and engaging enough to be interesting to kids with straight or cisgender parents, too,” he went on.
On that basis, he started the publishing company using funds crowdsourced through Kickstarter.
He said he wanted LGBT+ kids, or kids with LGBT+ parents to be able “to recognise themselves in well, happy, celebratory characters, who get to do cool things”.
The publishers have put out six books focussing on families of diversity.
One book ‘Is That for a Boy or a Girl’ is short poems which carry the message that items of clothing and toys don’t need to be gendered.
Another, M is for Moustache, is about a girl and her family, and the way they celebrate Pride.
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Now Bergman has received contacts from people thanking him for what he has done.
The publisher donates books to schools and libraries and has seen orders slowly increase reaching the hundreds.
Generally the books have been well received – CBC notes that one person complained to a library, but was firmly told that the organisation “does not censor books”.
But Bergman has overarchingly received positive emails and messages from readers and their families.
“They feel grateful for books that reflect families like theirs, people who look like them,” he said.
“It can be fine to have books that just show a person that looks like you, but it’s so much more validating and affirming when that kid gets to be loved and, well, gets to have adventures and solve problems and enjoy life.”
Check out a video below of M is for Moustache: