Tag: Kids

LGBTQ-Inclusive Kids’ Activity Books to Teach and Entertain

LGBTQ-Inclusive Kids' Activity Books to Teach and Entertain

LGBTQ-inclusive story books are wonderful—but sometimes one wants something a little more interactive. Let’s therefore look today at two queer-inclusive books that aren’t just stories, but offer young readers discussion questions, games, coloring, and more fun activities.

The Big Book of LGBTQ+ Activities: Teaching Children about Gender Identity, Sexuality, Relationships and Different Families

The Big Book of LGBTQ+ Activities: Teaching Children about Gender Identity, Sexuality, Relationships and Different Families, by Amie Taylor and illustrated by Liza Stevens (Jessica Kingsley Press), is built around five fairy tale stories involving LGBTQ characters, with discussion questions, games, and coloring pages associated with each one, aimed at teaching what it means to be LGBTQ+, terms for talking about LGBTQ+ people, and how to be welcoming and supportive to others. A “Guide for Adults” section at the end is intended both as a resource for primary school teachers in the U.K. who are teaching relationship and sex education—but also for parents or other caregivers supporting a child through this workbook at home. While some of the references in the book (the 2010 Equality Act; salt and vinegar crisps) are clear pointers to the book’s U.K. origins, most of it could be fruitfully used by readers in the U.S. and elsewhere, too.

The first story shows us how two female princesses fell in love and got married, and serves to launch a discussion of what it means to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or straight. Overall, the presentation here is fine, although several times it specifically defines “same-sex marriage” as a term for referring to the princesses’ relationship. Really, they just have a “marriage.” Yes, the term “same-sex marriage” is in common use—but as the GLAAD Media Reference Guide advises, “same-sex marriage … can suggest marriage for same-sex couples is somehow different than other marriages.” Let’s just teach kids that a marriage is a marriage.

Additionally, the “Quick Quiz” in this section asks readers to fill in the terms for a woman attracted to women, a man attracted to men, and a man attracted to women—but not for anyone attracted to both. Instead, space is taken up asking readers to identify the term for “The promises you make to each other at a wedding,” which seems a much less key concept to reinforce here. And a matching card game that asks readers to pair relevant terms with images of various couples shows one couple each on the cards for “Gay,” “Lesbian,” and “Straight or heterosexual,” but two couples (a man and a woman; the same man and a man) on the card for “Bisexual.” That’s not wrong, exactly, but could lead to the misconceptions that either: a) Bisexual people have multiple relationships at once; or b) All bisexuals are male. Still, a little adult guidance can help on this point.

The second story is about two already-married princes and a unicorn who believes that only a prince and a princess should marry—until the princes help him with a problem and the unicorn admits he was wrong. The discussion questions and activities here focus on homophobia—for example, they ask young readers to imagine what they might have said to the unicorn to help him change his mind, and how they might help a classmate if someone was “being mean to them about their two mums or two dads.”

The third story involves a child named Arthur who is a transgender boy. When he tells everyone that he is a boy, “everyone was fine with that.” Arthur encounters a problem, however, when he wants to wear a flamingo costume for the Halloween parade. “The flamingo costumes are for the girls. You are a boy,” his mother tells him. Arthur manages to finagle a flamingo costume and secretly take part in the parade. When the king misgenders him—“Well done, little girl”—Arthur corrects him and the king apologizes. Arthur’s example, however, leads a girl in the parade to assert that she wants to dress up as a pirate, something only boys did. His mother (who happens to be in charge of the palace parades) then declares that anyone can dress any way they like.

Given everyone’s unconditional acceptance of Arthur’s gender identity, however, his mom’s refusal to let him wear a flamingo costume rings false. Much as I like the point about breaking down gender roles, too, adults may have to reinforce (as Taylor tries to) that Arthur’s desire for the flamingo costume wasn’t because he is “really” a girl. Taylor also offers a page and a half of explanation “All About Gender,” which may help both children and adults better understand the topic.

The fourth story brings us back to Princesses Asma and Ruby, who have become parents. One of the palace guards, Kai, is a nonbinary person who uses “they” pronouns. When the guard rescues the princesses’ daughter, the princesses realized they can’t be honored with a knighthood (for men) or a damehood (for women), so they invent a “Kaihood” just for them. Activities for this section revolve around pronouns.

The fifth story tells of two children whose mom and dad are divorced, and whose father starts dating another man. The mother explains that this means he’s bisexual. This is perhaps the only depiction of an explicitly bisexual parent (or even character) in a book for elementary-age children, and it’s great to see. The activities for this story revolve around different types of family, but also explore what “biphobia” is and reinforce some of the terms from the first story.

The activities in the book are a nicely varied lot, including coloring and drawing pages, paired exercises to do with other children, and creative challenges, like making menus for a wedding of two princesses. While some are clearly pedagogical, others are just for fun. Despite a few items that might have been better thought out, teachers and other adults looking for resources to help them teach about LGBTQ people and identities will likely find this a useful starting point.

The Dragtivity Book

The Dragtivity Book, by Mor Erlich, was created through a collaboration between Drag Queen Story Hour (DQSH) and Erlich’s Sez Me, a multidisciplinary educational program that began as a queer-positive Web video series for kids. The book uses the ovoid character of Hello Mellow from the series to take kids on an exploration of what drag is and to imagine their own drag personas. Erlich told me via e-mail:

Usually the DQSH drag storytellers read the first few pages of the book and use it as a conversation starter to get kids and adults talking about what drag means to them. Pre-Covid, we used to bring print outs of a few of the pages for the kids to color and do the activities after the reading. Now, for virtual events on Zoom, we often do the “Find Your Drag Name” exercise. The kids write their new drag names in the chat or unmute and shout them out! ‘Mister Popchip Eleventh’, Miz Hummus D Star’, Dr. Pepsi T. Bootlegger!

The book doesn’t just have to be used at DQSH events, though. You can buy it right from the DQSH NY website (and Erlich tells me they also offer bulk discounts for teachers; contact info at the link).

There are coloring pages, connect-the-dots, matching games, finding games, and more. One page asks kids to indicate the pronouns they use; another steps them through creating their own drag names. Erlich says that some of his favorite parts of using the book with kids at DQSH events have been seeing “lots of great ‘Dragtivity art’ which we share on social media” as well as “lots of silly drag names.”

The one-minute promo video below shows drag queen Jade talking with a child about the book; the creators also have a longer, free Dragtivity Book Lesson Plan video, and a video conversation between Erlich and Jade in which they read the book, share clips from Sez Me, and discuss drag, gendered language, family, role models, self-expression, performance, and fashion.

New Queer-Inclusive Collective Biographies for Kids

New Queer-Inclusive Collective Biographies for Kids

One new middle grade book aims to help young people learn about the contributions and accomplishments of LGBTQ people across many fields of endeavor, while another includes queer people among innovators of all identities who have made their marks on the world.

People of PrideChase Clemesha, himself a medical doctor, writes in the introduction to his People of Pride: 25 Great LGBTQ Americans (Capstone Editions), “It’s important that young people have role models to look up to—especially people who are like them…. I want to show young people that they can decide who and what they’re going to be. If you are part of the LGBTQ community, it is a beautiful part of who you are, but it is only one part. You get to be proud of who you are—your whole self.”

His book, aimed at middle-graders, offers a series of two-page spreads—a full-page photo and a page of text—about LGBTQ Americans who have excelled in their fields. There are civil right heroes, sports stars, artists and musicians, scientists, politicians, and lawmakers. Many of the figures are contemporary or nearly so, but Clemesha also weaves in earlier figures. It’s a nice balance. In addition to the 25 people highlighted, an additional 14 are listed at the end with short one- to two-sentence blurbs about them. Clemesha conveys each person’s impact simply and clearly, though some of the profiles feel just a little too flimsy.

While I like this volume well enough, I still have a few observations. First, two wishes: I wish that at least one bisexual person had been identified as such. Not every figure in the book is labeled with their LGBTQ identity, which is understandable for the earlier figures who might not have thought in modern terms. We do find out the specific LGBTQ identities of some of the later ones, however—just none of them who are bi, making it unclear if there are even any bisexual people here.

I also wish that in addition to teaching us about its subjects’ external accomplishments, the book could also have given us a little information about their families and relationships. Author Maurice Sendak lived with his partner Eugene Glynn for 50 years before Glynn’s death; several others were or are in relationships decades long; and several are parents—but we learn none of that here, beyond an in-passing comment that Wanda Sykes makes jokes about her family. A truly full vision of what LGBTQ people could be with their “whole selves” would show that LGBTQ people can make their mark in the world and have satisfying relationships and family lives, too—young people need to see that.

Furthermore, the end matter of the book is much less successful than the main text. A glossary offers definitions for “bisexual,” “lesbian,” “transgender,” and “queer,” but not “gay.” “Queer” is defined as a term to express “fluid identities and orientations,” without noting that it may also be used as an umbrella term for LGBTQ people. The glossary term “same-sex adoption” makes me cringe a little; just as the GLAAD Media Reference Guide advises using the term “marriage for same-sex couples” or “marriage equality” instead of “same-sex marriage,” since that “can suggest marriage for same-sex couples is somehow different than other marriages,” one could say the same about adoption. Having said that, the terms “same-sex marriage” and “same-sex adoption” are in fairly common use, so perhaps we should let this slide—but the glossary’s definition of “same-sex adoption” as “adopting children the way opposite-sex couples do” makes me cringe again. As NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists notes in their style guide, “opposite sex” “buys into a scientifically obsolete view of sex as binary.” A better phrasing would have been “different-sex.”

Other glossary terms have other problems. “Openly LGBTQ,” an adjectival phrase, is oddly defined as a noun: “a person who shares being LGBTQ with friends, family, and coworkers.” “Share” is ambiguous here, too, and could make it seem like they all “share” the same identity, in the same way that, say, I share being Jewish with my son. A better definition might have been “Not hiding the fact that one is LGBTQ” or “being willing to tell others that one is LGBTQ.” Additionally, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” wasn’t “the military ban against LGBTQ people serving openly,” but only a ban on LGB people. Transgender people were banned under separate statutes and in fact, a 2012 military regulation stated specifically that the ban on transgender people serving was “not a contradiction of the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’”

I also would have liked to see more in the book’s one-page “Timeline of U.S. LGBTQ History” specifically about transgender history. Come to think of it, though, I’d probably argue for scrapping the entire timeline rather than try to cram it onto one page; in that little space, it’s almost impossible to provide a balanced overview of the rich history of LGBTQ people. I would rather have seen the space used for a fuller and more thoughtful glossary, or to offer references to other middle grade books dedicated to LGBTQ history, such as Jerome Pohlen’s Gay & Lesbian History for Kids or Robin Stevenson’s Pride: The Celebration and the Struggle.

People of Pride is very similar to Sarah Prager’s 2020 Rainbow Revolutionaries: Fifty LGBTQ+ People Who Made History, another middle grade book that compiles short biographies of notable LGBTQ people. Prager showcases figures within and outside the United States and looks much further back in history; Clemesha sticks with U.S. figures whose impact has been primarily in the 20th and 21st centuries. Readers should appreciate both approaches, depending on their interests and moods. Although both are targeted at middle grade readers, Clemesha’s profiles are shorter, making them better for the younger end of that set; Prager dives a little deeper for readers wanting more. Prager’s glossary is much better, however, and she does touch on many of her subject’s relationships and family lives. While some of the figures in both books are the same, many are different, so readers may want to peruse both volumes. If I detailed some criticisms of People of Pride above, that’s only because I feel young readers may still find inspiration here. I’d love to see some of the issues, especially with the back matter, addressed in a future edition of what will likely be a valuable book for many young people.

Kid Innovators

Innovators, Stevenson observes in the introduction to her Kid Innovators: True Tales of Childhood from Inventors and Trailblazers, “need the confidence and strength to go against the crowd. They need to be persistent, and they can’t afford to worry too much about what people think.”

It’s not surprising, therefore, that although this is not a queer-specific book, it includes queer people in its 16 short biographies, just like Stevenson’s earlier Kid Activists volume in Quirk Books’ Kid Legends series. In each profile of roughly eight to 10 pages, we learn about people who have innovated in science, technology, education, business, and the arts, with an emphasis on how their childhoods shaped them. In accessible but never patronizing prose, Stevenson sketches the stories of her subjects’ childhoods, deftly setting the scene for each one and providing informative details, engaging quotes, and sometimes humorous anecdotes. (As a child, computer scientist Grace Hopper was so curious about how alarm clocks worked that she “took apart all seven of the ones in her home.”) The queer people profiled are code breaker and computer scientist Alan Turing and dancer Alvin Ailey. Stevenson, a queer mom herself and author of several great LGBTQ-inclusive kids’ books, not only mentions that they were gay, but explains briefly how each faced homophobia.

Fair warning, though. Stevenson notes that many of the people she profiles began as “strong-willed and independent-minded children—which wasn’t always easy for their parents and teachers!” Share this book with your children at your own risk!

20+ LGBTQ-Inclusive Kids’ Books About Love

20+ LGBTQ-Inclusive Kids' Books About Love

On a certain level, I’d argue that most LGBTQ-inclusive picture books have a theme of love—but here are a few that particularly showcase that emotion in some of its many forms, from romantic love to family love to deep and abiding friendships. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentine's Day - LGBTQ Kids Books with a Theme of Love

Romantic Love

  • From Archie to Zack, by Vincent X. Kirsch (Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2020): The sweet story of two boys in love—whose love is recognized and accepted by their classmates—trying to express their feelings for each other. Full review.
  • When We Love Someone We Sing to Them: Cuando Amamos Cantamos, by Ernesto Javier Martinez and illustrated by Maya Gonzalez (Reflection Press, 2018): A lyrical bilingual book celebrating both the love between two boys and the supportive relationship between the boy and his father. Pura Belpré Honor Award winner Maya Christina Gonzalez deserves equal credit for her vibrant illustrations. Full review.
  • Jerome by Heart, by Thomas Scotto and illustrated by Olivier Tallec (Enchanted Lion Books, 2018): One boy expresses his (maybe romantic, maybe close friendship) love for another. His parents are bothered by this, and he struggles with their disapproval, but ultimately decides his love for Jerome supersedes it. Translated from French by Claudia Bedrick.
  • Love Around the World, by Fleur Pierets and illustrated by Fatinha Ramos (Six Foot Press, 2019): The beautifully rendered story of two women who set out on a journey to marry in every country where they legally can. We see them wed in various countries in North America, South America, Europe, and Australia. Their story continues in Love is Love: The Journey Continues, and shows the couple marrying in various countries in Europe, Asia, South America, and Africa. Some may find their desire to marry “in the traditional wedding attire of each country we visit” somewhat appropriating, though Pierets also makes a point of showcasing the actions and activists within each country that have helped enact marriage equality, so this could also be viewed as respecting local traditions. One of the few LGBTQ-inclusive children’s books that offers a global perspective.
  • Ways to Say I Love You, by Marilyn Singer and illustrated by Alette Straathof (words & pictures, 2020): In rhyming couplets, this book contrasts courtship rituals in the natural world with those of humans. (“Garter snakes huddle. People like to cuddle.”) There are same- and different-sex couples shown, and the intent is sweet, but some may be put off by the book’s narrow focus on paired, romantic love, as it begins with the assertion, “It’s the truth. There’s no debate. Every creature wants a mate.” The afterward, too, states, “People like to pair up with other people.” Those who identify as asexual or aromantic (or are just happy being single, sans label) may disagree with this central premise, which seems a little too sweeping. Still, the art is gorgeous and for those wanting a book celebrating two-person romance, there are at least some same-sex couples among the pairs.

Romantic Love – Fairy Tales

  • Porcupine Cupid, by Jason June and illustrated by Lori Richmond (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2020): Porcupine is excited that it’s Valentine’s Day, and uses his quills like Cupid’s arrows to poke the other members of his forest community as he tells them he hopes they will find their true loves. The other animals don’t like being poked, however, and call a town meeting to discuss “the poke-y porcupine problem.” When they all meet up, however, pairs of the animals bond over their shared dislike of Porcupine’s actions, leading to new romances. Not only could some of the pairings be viewed as same-sex pairs, but queer cues in the illustrations indicate other LGBTQ identities among the animals as well. (One wears a scarf colored like the trans flag; another has a yoga mat colored like the genderqueer flag. The broad queer representation is delightful, though I’m not sure how I feel about relationships forming out of a common dislike of something. But—spoiler alert—Porcupine himself gets stuck by love in the end, so it seems the animals have clued in to his well-intentioned deception. Perhaps this can just be viewed as a cute parable about how we sometimes need to be prodded into action when it comes to romance. Full review.
  • Maiden and Princess, by Daniel Haack and illustrated by Isabel Galupo (Little Bee Books, 2019): A maiden and a princess fall in love with the support of their families in this empowering fairy tale.
  • Princess Princess Ever After, by Katie O’Neill (Oni Press, 2016): The traditional fairy tale trope gets flipped in this graphic novel when Amira, a princess with a mohawk, rescues Princess Sadie, a princess trapped by her evil sister. Sadie eventually rescues Amira in return and the two feisty royals fall in love. The graphic form will have wide appeal; some of the language, in complexity (“spontaneous,” “fulfillment”) and tone (“butthead”) may make it better for middle-grade readers than younger ones.
  • Maiden Voyage, by Adam Reynolds, Chaz Harris, and Jaimee Poipoi, illustrated by Bo Moore and Christine Luiten (Promised Land Entertainment Limited, 2018): In the same universe as Promised Land (below), but with a new cast of characters, this tale of adventure features a fisherman’s daughter, a courageous female captain, pirates, and an evil queen. Despite a few stylistic flaws, it has plenty of action and heart. Full review.
  • Raven Wild, by Adam Reynolds, Caitlin Spice, and Chaz Harris, illustrated by Bo Moore and Christine Luiten (Promised Land Entertainment Limited, 2020): Also in the same universe as Promised Land (below), a young trans woman has adventures and finds love in a fantasy world. Empowering, but wordy for the picture-book age group. Full review.
  • Prince and Knight, by Daniel Haack and illustrated by Stevie Lewis (Little Bee Books, 2018): A prince’s parents seek to find him a bride. While defending the kingdom from a dragon, however, he falls in love with the (male) knight who helps him. His parents are overjoyed he has found someone to love, and the two marry. Full review.
  • The Bravest Knight Who Ever Lived, by Daniel Errico and illustrated by Shiloh Penfield (Schiffer Kids, 2019): A noble young man might marry a princess, but chooses her brother the prince instead, after a series of chivalric adventures. Full review of original edition; see also interview with author about the Hulu television show based on the book, now available in the new edition shown here.
  • Promised Land, by Adam Reynolds and Chaz Harris, illustrated by Bo Moore and Christine Luiten (Promised Land Entertainment Limited, 2017): A young Prince and a farm boy fall in love. However, when the Queen re-marries, her sinister new husband seeks control of the Enchanted Forest and the land the farm boy’s family are responsible for protecting. Full review.
  • Prince Henry: A Gay Fairytale Romance for Young Readers, by Olly Pike (2015): Prince Henry faces difficulties because the man he loves is of a much lower social class. Full review.
  • King & King, by Linda de Haan and illustrated by Stern Nijland (Tricycle Press, 2003): A prince rejects all the princesses his mother wants him to marry. Luckily, when he finds his prince, his family is supportive.

Loving Friendships

  • The Girls, by Lauren Ace and illustrated by Jenny Løvlie (Rodale Kids, 2019): A beautiful celebration of female friendship as we see four girls—best friends—support each other through hardships and celebrate each others successes from childhood and into adulthood. One of them ends up in a relationship with another woman; we also see all four friends marching together in a Pride parade as they “always took pride in their friendship.” After so many children’s books in which the non-queer characters don’t understand or tease the queer character, this image of active and unconditional support by the friends is a breath of fresh air.
  • My Best Friend, by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2020): Beautifully captures the magical spirit of childhood friendships at an age when children are still figuring out what it means to have—and to be—a friend. It’s not exactly queer inclusive, but the close relationship between the two girls, one White, one Asian, may resonate with some queer women and girls. Full review.

Family Love

  • This Love: A Celebration of Harmony Around the World, by Isabel Otter and illustrated by Harriet Lynas (Tiger Tales, 2019): “Love is a special language that’s understood by all,” says this gentle book that shows the many types of love felt by people and families around the world. A two-mom and a two-dad family are among those depicted.
  • Under the Love Umbrella, by Davina Bell and illustrated by Allison Colpoys (Scribble US, 2020): We see several children encountering everyday difficulties—a broken toy; a friend who is unfair; a scary barking dog, a moment of shyness—as a parental narrator (or really, several narrators, as we see several different families) soothingly reassures them that the “umbrella of my love” is always with them. One of the children has two moms.
  • I Love Us: A Book About Family, from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and illustrated by Luisa Uribe (2020): A simple board book about different types of families, including one with two dads (and maybe one with two moms; it’s unclear if they’re together or in two separate families). On each page, a narrator (presumably a child in the depicted family) tells us all the things they love to do with their family. Includes a mirror (unbreakable) in the back and a freeform family tree for readers to reflect themselves.
  • Elvis Presley’s Love Me Tender, with illustrations by Stephanie Graegin (Dial Books, 2017): The classic song, adapted as a sweet ode to family love. Includes a two-mom family among the several types shown.
  • Love Makes a Family, by Sophie Beer (Dial Books, 2018): A sweet board book with images of people in families demonstrating what “love is” on each page. We see families with two moms, two dads, one of each, and single parents, among others.

2021 Rainbow Book List Shows Record Increase in LGBTQ Kids’ Books

2021 Rainbow Book List Shows Record Increase in LGBTQ Kids'

The American Library Association has just announced its 2021 Rainbow Book List—with a record-setting number of 129 librarian-approved LGBTQ-inclusive children’s and young adult books! There are so many, in fact, that for the first time, there are two Top 10 sub-lists of books with “exceptional merit,” one for younger children and one for older youth readers. Learn more and see some charts that illustrate just how the genre has grown.

Rainbow Book List Young Readers Top 10 - 2021

Unlike the recently announced Stonewall Awards for children’s and young adult books, which recognize only a very few titles at the peak of excellence, the Rainbow Book List is a larger selection, intended to help young people find “quality books with significant and authentic GLBTQ content” and assist librarians in developing their collections and advising readers. Its value is not only in recommending quality titles, but also in offering the imprimatur of the oldest and largest library association in the world, which can help convince communities to keep these books on the shelves. It’s a great resource for parents and teachers, too.

This year, the Rainbow Book List Committee of the American Library Association’s (ALA’s) Rainbow Round Table nearly 600 books (a record number!) and selected 129 titles of fiction and non-fiction books for toddlers through young adults. The committee noted: “This year’s offerings give us everything from precious board books, touching picture books, astonishing true stories and biographies of remarkable people. We provide you with titles that incorporate the wide and varied lives of young people, non-fiction titles that challenge the status quo, and fiction that will break your heart and mend it together again.”

Also, “As a result of the sheer number of eligible titles and those ultimately chosen,” the committee also for the first time ever offered a whopping 20 picks “of exceptional merit,” 10 in each of two age categories. The Top 10 Titles for birth through middle grade are:

  1. Burgess, Matthew and Josh Cochran (Illustrator). Drawing on Walls: A Story of Keith Haring.
  2. Mercurio, Peter and Leo Espinosa (Illustrator). Our Subway Baby. 2020.
  3. Neal, DeShanna, Trinity Neal, and Art Twink (Illustrator). My Rainbow.
  4. Pitman, Gayle E. and Violet Tobacco (Illustrator). My Maddy.
  5. Simon, Rachel E. and Noah Grigni (Illustrator). The Every Body Book: LGBTQ+ Inclusive Guide for Kids about Sex, Gender, Bodies, and Families.
  6. Callender, Kacen. King and the Dragonflies.
  7. Sass, A.J. Ana on the Edge.
  8. Leyh, Kat. Snapdragon.
  9. Nguyen, Trung Le. The Magic Fish.
  10. Smith, Niki. The Deep & Dark Blue.

I hope you’ll go check out the Top 10 list for Young Adults and the full list of books for all ages. Many of the books are also ones in my own Mombian Database of LGBTQ Family Books, Media, and More (which can be filtered to show just the books from 2020 or any year), though my focus is on picture books and books for parents, with some select middle grade titles, since I’m only one person and can’t do everything. On the other hand, I’m probably a little more willing to include some titles simply to show the range of LGBTQ-inclusive children’s books today, even if they don’t all rise to quite the level of quality needed to make them library recommendations (though I do try to give an indication of quality in my reviews). With slightly different goals, we’ll end up with slightly different lists—but all with the aim of getting these books into readers’ hands. (Also, note that the Rainbow Book List includes books published in 2020 and between July 1 and December 31 of 2019, so it’s a little more than just one year—and may have omitted a few books published towards the end of 2020 that will be caught in next year’s list.)

I also want to share two charts to show visually just how much the number of LGBTQ-inclusive kids’ books has accelerated in the past few years. The first chart shows the number of Rainbow Book List titles since the List’s founding in 2008. I’ve hand counted the number of titles from the Rainbow Book List website; all errors in tabulation and charting are my own. Even this doesn’t fully show the sweeping change in LGBTQ-inclusive titles, though; several of the committee’s picture book picks in the earlier years, for example, had rather vague or highly allegorical queer content. Today’s books, on the whole, are more likely to show clearly queer characters. You’ll see the big leap starting with 2019’s list, which covers books published between July 2017 and December 2018. (Notes on method: In 2021, the Rainbow List broke out “Juvenile Fiction” into its own category for the first time; I’ve kept it with Middle Grade for the purpose of this chart. I’ve also counted Board Books as Picture Books, since they haven’t always been broken out. Graphic/Manga includes both middle grade and YA titles; since the Rainbow List has never broken them out, though, neither did I.)

Rainbow Book List Count by Year

The second chart shows the number of books the Committee evaluated each year before coming up with their final selections. This chart starts in 2013, when the Committee began regularly reporting this data. Again, the past few years have seen a significant jump. As I said last year as well, the fact that the committee evaluated so many titles and selected a much smaller percentage (roughly 17 to 32 percent) speaks both to the growing number of LGBTQ-inclusive books that are being published and the fact that many of them still have a ways to go in terms of quality and “significant and authentic” LGBTQ content. Let’s hope that budding authors find ways of improving their skills and getting feedback on their drafts. I’ll also suggest that prospective authors read widely among existing LGBTQ-inclusive kids’ books and other diverse, top-rated children’s titles before embarking on efforts of their own.

Books Evaluated by Rainbow Book List Committee

For a bit of history, here’s my interview with Nel Ward, chair of the Rainbow Book List Committee when the list first launched in 2008. It’s been a pleasure watching the number of titles grow and diversify over the years.

As always, many thanks to the librarians who put together the Rainbow Book List and to all of the librarians everywhere whose recommendations and support continue to positively impact the lives of so many young people and families.

LGBTQ-Inclusive Kids’ Books Centering Black Families

LGBTQ-Inclusive Kids' Books Centering Black Families

It’s Black History Month, and I’m partnering with Family Equality to share some #OwnVoices LGBTQ-inclusive picture books that focus on Black characters and families, with the acknowledgement that these books are for all year round, not just February.

Black History Month 2021 - LGBTQ Kids Books

These are LGBTQ-inclusive kids’ books with #OwnVoices Black writers and/or illustrators, which center Black characters and Black families. A growing number of other LGBTQ-inclusive picture books also include Black characters as part of multiracial families or ensemble casts. That’s great—but I believe we also need more books where the entire family or cast of characters is Black (and much the same could be said for characters with any non-White identities). Additionally, while all of the below books offer affirming representation, only two are really about Black history per se. There is unfortunately still a real lack of picture book biographies of famous LGBTQ Black people (or other LGBTQ people of color) that also acknowledge their LGBTQ identities (without necessarily focusing on them).

Want more LGBTQ-inclusive books with characters of various LGBTQ, racial/ethnic, and other identities? The new Mombian Database of LGBTQ Family Books, Media, and More includes nearly 600 items, including more than 300 picture books, and can be searched and filtered by various categories and tags to find items with the representation you’re seeking (if they exist).

In alphabetical order by title:

  • I Am Perfectly Designed, by Karamo Brown with Jason Rachel Brown, illustrated by Anoosha Syed (Henry Holt & Company, 2019). A gentle yet affirming conversation between a young Black boy and his father about their life together, as they walk through their vibrant, multicultural, queer-inclusive neighborhood. The book captures universal feelings of parental-child love in simple but elegant phrases.
  • I Promise, by Catherine Hernandez and illustrated by Syrus Marcus Ware (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2019). A parent addresses her child’s curiosity about how different types of families form—not by going into technical details, but by focusing on the parental promise of love and support that underlies them.
  • Keesha’s South African Adventure, by Cheril N. Clarke and Monica Bey-Clarke, illustrated by Julia Selyutina (My Family!/Dodi Press, 2016). When Keesha’s moms surprise her with a trip to South Africa, she learns about the country’s animals, food, and landmarks. The fact that she has two moms is immaterial; the story focuses on the anticipation of the trip, the adventure of exploring a new place, and the excitement of sharing with classmates upon her return. See also Keesha & Her Two Moms Go Swimming, where Keesha and her moms go to the neighborhood pool for a day of fun. Keesha plays with her best friend Trevor, who has two dads, and befriends another boy who has no one to play with.
  • Leaders Like Us: Bayard Rustin, by J. P. Miller and illustrated by Markia Jenai (Discovery Library, 2020). A biography that focuses on Rustin’s work with the Black civil rights movement, but that also notes “Some people treated Bayard unfairly because he was gay, but that did not stop him.” There is no mention of his later work speaking for gay rights or of how standing up for one part of his identity compelled him to speak up for the other, as this History article explains. Still, the fact that the text says he was gay is a step forward in picture book biographies of him.
  • Love Is in the Hair, written and illustrated by Syrus Marcus Ware (Flamingo Rampant, 2015). A child is staying with her two uncles while waiting for the birth of a new sibling, and learns the stories of her family through the objects woven into the dreadlocks of one uncle’s hair. The uncles’ queerness is incidental; this is simply a charming tale of the way we collect, keep, and share family memories.
  • My Name  Is Troy, Christian A’Xavier Lovehall and illustrated by Chamar M. Cooper (Self-published; 2020). “My name is Troy, and I’m a beautiful, Black Trans boy!” this book proudly begins, then takes us through Troy’s day in rhyming couplets as he shares what he likes (playing outdoors, sports, and bugs)  and doesn’t like (the color pink and playing with dolls). We see images from his life and with his supportive parents. Trans boys whose interests go beyond the traditionally “boyish” ones that Troy favors might not see themselves reflected quite as well, but they should still be buoyed by his happiness and the love that surrounds him.
  • My Rainbow, by Deshanna Neal and Trinity Neal, illustrated by Art Twink (Kokila, 2020). Based on Trinity’s real life as a Black transgender girl with autism, this story tells of her mom and nonbinary sibling helping her get the long hair she wants to express her true self. The love of the family for Trinity and their desire to help her shines from every page.
  • Sylvia and Marsha Start a Revolution! The Story of the Trans Women of Color Who Made LGBTQ+ History, by Joy Ellison and illustrated by Teshika Silver (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2020). Tells the story of Stonewall icons Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson by focusing on their close friendship and how they cared for their community in the face of harassment. Some of the violence during the rebellion has been tempered for the age group and a few historical details could be argued, but as the author notes, this is only one possible retelling. What comes through clearly is the bond between the friends and how they worked to help those in need.

For some middle-grade titles (most, but not all, #OwnVoices), see the results of the “Middle grade fiction” category and “Black protagonist/family” tags my database.

Stonewall Book Award Winners for LGBTQ Kids’ and Young Adult Books

Stonewall Book Award Winners for LGBTQ Kids’ and Young Adult

The American Library Association (ALA) today announced its 2021 Stonewall Book Awards for LGBTQ-inclusive children’s and young adult books, part of the Youth Media Awards that also include the prestigious Newbery and Caldecott Medals.

We Are Little Feminists: Families

The Stonewall Book Awards — Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award (to distinguish them from the Stonewall Book Awards for adult books) are chosen by a committee of the ALA’s Rainbow Round Table, “the oldest professional association for LGBTQIA+ people in the United States.” This year’s winner is:

  • We Are Little Feminists: Families, by Archaa Shrivastav (Little Feminist), a board book that uses simply rhymes to celebrate many types of families as it shows photos of real families around the world engaged in everyday activities. While other books may have similar themes, this one is notable for the photos of real families and the broad LGBTQ inclusion. Several of the families include two moms and two dads; there are also children who seem nonbinary or gender creative, and one image of a transgender man who is pregnant. (Readers may recognize him as trans advocate Trystan Reese, who posts about his family on Instagram at @biffandi.) Some images are below; note the publisher has not made the one with Reese available to the media, but it’s very similar to this one on his Instagram.

Four honor books were also selected:

  • Beetle & The Hollowbones, written and illustrated by Aliza Layne (Atheneum Books for Young Readers): In this middle grade graphic novel, 12-year-old goblin-witch Beetle, who lives in the eerie town of ‘Allows, fits in neither as a sorceress nor as a ghost whose spirit is trapped in the mall, like her nonbinary best friend Blob Ghost. When Beetle’s old best friend, Kat Hollowbone, returns to town for a sorcery apprenticeship with her Aunt Hollowbone, Beetle is reminded of her inadequacy. Yet plans are afoot that endanger Blob Ghost and force Beetle to act, confronting her fears and her feelings for Kat. A fun and clever story that is surprisingly human despite the fantastical characters.
  • You Should See Me in a Crown, by Leah Johnson (Scholastic): In this middle grade novel, Liz Lighty is a Black, nerdy, poor, wallflower, which sets her apart in her small, rich, Midwestern town. But when a scholarship to an elite college falls through, she unexpectedly finds herself in the social spotlight, running for prom queen and the prize money that brings. As if that’s not hard enough, she may also be falling for one of her competitors. Full review.
  • Darius the Great Deserves Better, by Adib Khorram (Dial Books): This sequel to Khorram’s young adult novel Darius the Great Is Not Okay, continues the story of Darius, an out gay Iranian American teen navigating romantic relationships and family as well as bullying, racism, and his family’s financial struggles. He also has queer grandmothers.
  • Felix Ever After, by Kacen Callender (Balzer + Bray): A young adult novel about a Black, transgender teen whose plan to foil transphobic harassment lands him in an unexpected love triangle—but also leads him to redefine how he feels about himself.

In addition to the above, Welcoming Elijah: A Passover Tale with a Tail, by Lesléa Newman and illustrated by Susan Gal (Charlesbridge) won the Sydney Taylor Book Award, presented annually to “outstanding books for children and teens that authentically portray the Jewish experience.” While the LGBTQ content is slight (one pair of visiting relatives to the Passover seder is a two-dad couple), I’m still going to mention it. Newman, author of Heather Has Two Mommies and many other LGBTQ-inclusive works, arguably brought LGBTQ picture books into mainstream awareness, so I’m happy to celebrate any recognition of her work. Full review.

And queer mom Jacqueline Woodson won the Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award for her middle grade novel Before the Ever After (Nancy Paulsen Books) about a 12-year-old whose father, a retired football player, is grappling with traumatic brain injury.

The full list of ALA Youth Media Award winners is here.

Congratulations to them all!


(As an Amazon Associate and as a Bookshop Affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

Board Book with Same-Sex Parents, Gender Creative Kids, and Pregnant Trans Man Wins Prestigious Stonewall Book Award

Stonewall Book Award Winners for LGBTQ Kids’ and Young Adult

The American Library Association (ALA) today announced its 2021 Stonewall Book Awards for LGBTQ-inclusive children’s and young adult books, part of the Youth Media Awards that also include the prestigious Newbery and Caldecott Medals. The winner was a board book that includes not only same-sex parents, but also gender creative kids and a pregnant transgender man.

We Are Little Feminists: Families

The Stonewall Book Awards — Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s & Young Adult Literature Award (to distinguish them from the Stonewall Book Awards for adult books) are chosen by a committee of the ALA’s Rainbow Round Table, “the oldest professional association for LGBTQIA+ people in the United States.” This year’s winner is:

  • We Are Little Feminists: Families, by Archaa Shrivastav (Little Feminist), a board book that uses simply rhymes to celebrate many types of families as it shows photos of real families around the world engaged in everyday activities. While other books may have similar themes, this one is notable for the photos of actual families and the broad LGBTQ inclusion. Several of the families include two moms and two dads; there are also children who seem nonbinary or gender creative, and one image of a transgender man who is pregnant. (Readers may recognize him as trans advocate Trystan Reese, who posts about his family on Instagram at @biffandi.) Some images are below; note the publisher has not made the one with Reese available to the media, but it’s very similar to this one on his Instagram. This is truly a joyous book that belongs in any library or bookshelf for young children.

Four honor books were also selected:

  • Beetle & The Hollowbones, written and illustrated by Aliza Layne (Atheneum Books for Young Readers): In this middle grade graphic novel, 12-year-old goblin-witch Beetle, who lives in the eerie town of ‘Allows, fits in neither as a sorceress nor as a ghost whose spirit is trapped in the mall, like her nonbinary best friend Blob Ghost. When Beetle’s old best friend, Kat Hollowbone, returns to town for a sorcery apprenticeship with her Aunt Hollowbone, Beetle is reminded of her inadequacy. Yet plans are afoot that endanger Blob Ghost and force Beetle to act, confronting her fears and her feelings for Kat. A fun and clever story that is surprisingly human despite the fantastical characters.
  • You Should See Me in a Crown, by Leah Johnson (Scholastic): In this middle grade novel, Liz Lighty is a Black, nerdy, poor, wallflower, which sets her apart in her small, rich, Midwestern town. But when a scholarship to an elite college falls through, she unexpectedly finds herself in the social spotlight, running for prom queen and the prize money that brings. As if that’s not hard enough, she may also be falling for one of her competitors. Full review.
  • Darius the Great Deserves Better, by Adib Khorram (Dial Books): This sequel to Khorram’s young adult novel Darius the Great Is Not Okay, continues the story of Darius, an out gay Iranian American teen navigating romantic relationships and family as well as bullying, racism, and his family’s financial struggles. He also has queer grandmothers.
  • Felix Ever After, by Kacen Callender (Balzer + Bray): A young adult novel about a Black, transgender teen whose plan to foil transphobic harassment lands him in an unexpected love triangle—but also leads him to redefine how he feels about himself.

In addition to the above, Welcoming Elijah: A Passover Tale with a Tail, by Lesléa Newman and illustrated by Susan Gal (Charlesbridge) won the Sydney Taylor Book Award, presented annually to “outstanding books for children and teens that authentically portray the Jewish experience.” While the LGBTQ content is slight (one pair of visiting relatives to the Passover seder is a two-dad couple), I’m still going to mention it. Newman, author of Heather Has Two Mommies and many other LGBTQ-inclusive works, arguably brought LGBTQ picture books into mainstream awareness, so I’m happy to celebrate any recognition of her work. Full review.

And queer mom Jacqueline Woodson won the Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award for her middle grade novel Before the Ever After (Nancy Paulsen Books) about a 12-year-old whose father, a retired football player, is grappling with traumatic brain injury.

The full list of ALA Youth Media Award winners is here.

Congratulations to them all!


(As an Amazon Associate and as a Bookshop Affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

GLAAD Study Shows Growth in LGBTQ-Inclusive Kids’ TV, but Still Need for More

GLAAD Study Shows Growth in LGBTQ-Inclusive Kids' TV, but Still

GLAAD yesterday released its latest annual “Where We Are on TV” report, which looks at the number of LGBTQ regular and recurring scripted characters on network television, cable, and streaming services. Let’s look at what they discovered about LGBTQ inclusion in children’s shows—while I wildly speculate about some LGBTQ-inclusive kids’ books that I’d love to see made into shows.

Television Rainbow

The good news that there’s been “significant growth” in programming for children and families in recent years, “and the space continues to grow rapidly with new LGBTQ stories premiering on all platforms.” GLAAD therefore this year announced a second GLAAD Media Awards category to honor outstanding LGBTQ programming for young audiences—an Outstanding Children’s Programming category in addition to the existing Outstanding Kids & Family Programming category. Stay tuned to hear the results at the 32nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards later this year.

Let’s focus here on shows for the younger age group. GLAAD informs us that in 2020, Cartoon Network aired the final episodes of Steven Universe Future, a limited-series epilogue to Steven Universe. They don’t tell us what the LGBTQ representation was in the miniseries, however, perhaps assuming that we’ll know the main series (which ended in 2019) was one of the queerest kids’ shows ever. This queerness carried over into the epilogue, with an episode in which one female character has a crush on another, and an episode with a character who uses they/them pronouns and is dating a female character. A show storyboarder has also tweeted that another character is asexual and aromantic.

Other inclusive shows listed by GLAAD include:

  • Nickelodeon’s The Loud House, with bisexual character Luna Loud and her girlfriend Sammy, as well as the two dads of protagonist Lincoln Loud’s best friend Clyde.
  • Nickelodeon’s Danger Force!, which had one episode that included two gay dads who recently adopted a son.
  • Disney XD’s DuckTales, which introduced a two-dad couple, the parents of Huey, Dewey, and Louie’s friend Violet. I’ll add that co-executive Producer Frank Angones has said that while they “do not play a huge role in the story thus far,” he’s “well aware that the ‘queer representation through parents and background characters’ trope is an issue, and “We do have some themes and ideas coming up that address relevant LGBTQ+ narratives.” Other episodes, GLAAD tells us, focused on a new character named Penumbra “who was confirmed to be a lesbian by the episode’s writer and director on Twitter. The character is not expected to return.” Half credit if the queerness has to be confirmed separately and the character is only temporary?
  • The Disney Channel animated series The Owl House, which developed a romantic storyline for bisexual protagonist Luz and a female classmate.
  • The finale of Netflix’s She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, which confirmed that the two female lead characters were in love. While that might seem like yet another example of queer inclusion being revealed only when the show was on its way out, the show in fact has had many queer secondary characters, some in same-sex relationships, one nonbinary, and others who are gender creative. In this case, keeping the main characters’ love for each other as a reveal at the end was about building romantic tension (which was pretty obvious in earlier episodes).
  • Netflix’s animated Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts, which included central character Benson, in love with another male character, Troy. The series has ended, however.
  • Netflix’s The Baby-Sitters Club, a reboot of the 1990s show, which had one episode where one of the main characters is asked to sit for a young transgender girl, played by 9-year-old transgender actor Kai Shappley.
  • And one possible future show, the animated series Little Ellen on HBO Max, which follows the 7-year-old Ellen DeGeneres on various adventures. I have been unable to find a premiere date for it; given accusations of a toxic workplace environment on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, I have to wonder (though I have no evidence one way or another) if the kids’ show is in jeopardy.

Other queer-inclusive “family” shows on streaming services seem aimed at teens and up, so I won’t recap them here, but I encourage you to go read the full GLAAD report if you’re interested in shows for that age group.

Amazon has quietly shown characters with same-sex parents on its ongoing animated shows for young children, Pete the Cat and Bug Diaries, but GLAAD has not included them in its report, so I assume those characters did not appear in 2020 episodes. And the only kids’ show on a mainstream network to center on a child with LGBTQ parents, Hulu’s The Bravest Knight (about which more here), dropped its first season in 2019 but has not yet announced a second.

So: Progress? Yes. Where we need to be? Hardly. We need both LGBTQ characters who populate the world as secondary characters and LGBTQ characters and those with LGBTQ parents who are the stars of the show (without necessarily focusing the show on their LGBTQ identities).

Original television programming is one way to achieve the latter. Another is to use the accelerating number of LGBTQ-inclusive children’s books as starting points. Here are just a few of many possible ideas, which I offer with absolutely no inside information on whether any such things are in the works or if the authors would even be interested:

  • I’ve said before that Kyle Lukoff’s Max and Friends series, about a young transgender boy and his classmates, would make a terrific foundation for an animated series. And while there are happily many young trans actors who could voice the main role, my dream casting (not only because of his acting skills, but because of the attention it would bring to the show) would be Elliot Page.
  • Daniel Haack’s Prince & Knight, which is getting a sequel this year, feels like a natural fit. In my 2018 review, I even said the images have a “Disney-like” quality. Since Hulu’s The Bravest Knight focuses on a girl with two dads, and Prince & Knight focuses on the same-sex couple themselves, they seem sufficiently different.
  • Lesléa Newman’s classic Heather Has Two Mommies has the name recognition to be a hit. Expand it into “Heather and Friends” or “Heather and Her World” and it could work as a series about the adventures of a young girl.
  • The four-book Magic Misfits series by actor Neil Patrick Harris, about six friends and aspiring magicians (one of whom has two dads), seems ready-made for an ensemble-cast show, either animated or live action.
  • Emma Donoghue’s two books about the Lotterys, the multiracial, multiethnic, neurodiverse family of two same-sex couples co-parenting seven children, has the kind of controlled chaos that could make it a fun television romp (or even a feature film).
  • Dana Allison Levy’s four books set in the universe of her Family Fletcher, which include a family with two dads and one with two moms, feel like they could translate into a live-action show for older kids and tweens.

I’d also love a show in which a two-mom family (preferably a family of color) and their kids fly around the galaxy in a spaceship meeting diverse people and aliens and learning STEM lessons each episode. Clearly there is no end of ideas; we just need the networks and streaming services to commit to increasing further the LGBTQ representation in children’s programming. Are they tuning in?

Court rules trans woman’s kids can move abroad – and she has to pay

A mother and children playing on the kitchen aisle

A trans woman must pay for her own children to be relocated to live with their other parent abroad. (Stock photograph via Elements Envato)

An Ontario, Canada, court has ruled that a trans woman must pay the travel costs for her two children to move in with their mother in Washington, US.

Increasingly isolated from her family, the upshot of a legal custody battle has seen Darcy feel she is drifting from her children after her former spouse divorced her in 2017.

Her ex is now remarried to a man who works for Microsoft, the Ottawa Sun reported. Darcy and her family were then plunged into a custody battle that sowed division and fear, she said, as her former partner wished to relocate to Washington as her new husband’s job is there.

In the judgment released last month, justices ruled that Darcy’s youngest children can move some 4,000 kilometres away to stay with their mother, step-father and half-sibling.

“I’m in shock, just shock,” the 37-year-old told the outlet.

“They’re moving my kids to a place I can’t go and the idea that I somehow should pay their costs to take my children away seems kind of unfair.”

For a trans mother weary of the US, fears of coronavirus and transphobia loom

Ontario Superior Court justice David Broad considered that while a joint custody agreement would be in the best interests of the children, they need to be allowed to move with their mother.

It’s a decision that has left Darcy reeling, weary of both the rampaging coronavirus keeping country borders shut as well as a US she feels is unwelcoming of trans folk.

“The likelihood of me seeing my kids now is just so low because of COVID,” she explained, finding little respite in the virtual access judges granted her alongside extended long weekends, four weeks in the summer and a week over Christmas vacation.

To her list of woes, she added that as a trans person she “doesn’t feel comfortable” in the US. “I used to travel there for work and I won’t anymore,” she added, worrying that her children would be exposed to transphobia if raised there.

But Broad disagreed. Writing in his judgement: “It was clear from her testimony that the applicant’s concerns respecting these issues are sincere and strongly held.

“However, no expert evidence was led that would suggest that living in the State of Washington, with exposure to the local culture, would adversely affect the children’s development and best interest.”

Republican claims trans kids want to ‘sadistically harm girls’

Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah, a fervent opponent of LGBT+ rights

Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah, a fervent opponent of LGBT+ rights (Getty/TOM WILLIAMS)

A Republican senator has claimed that transgender children play sports as part of a “deliberate, sadistic effort” to “harm girls.”

The claim comes from Mike Lee of Utah, a fervent opponent of LGBT+ rights who appears to be attempting to cast himself as a defender of women after a solid nine years in the Senate opposing their right to access reproductive healthcare or marry someone of the same sex.

Lee is among a group of Republican lawmakers behind the so-called Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act, a bill that would revoke federal funding from schools that allow transgender girls to participate “in an athletic program or activity that is designated for women or girls”.

The Orwellian bill defines sex as “based solely on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth”, though it does not elaborate on how this will be determined – with similar state-level laws requiring genital exams in cases where an athlete’s sex is disputed.

Republican senator Mike Lee launches shocking attack on trans children

Speaking to the Deseret News, Lee claimed that “biological males might as a pretext use certain words in order to qualify themselves in girls and women’s athletics”, despite zero recorded cases of someone transitioning with the express intent of getting ahead in a professional sport, let alone at the high school level.

Without any evidence at all to back up his claims, he soldiered on: “Some of them might do it to win a prize or a trophy or scholarship.

“Others might do it just to prove that they can or for bragging rights. Others still might do it in a deliberate, sadistic effort to harm girls and women.”

Again, none of this has ever happened, apart from inside the head of a senator with an extensive history of cheering on anti-LGBT+ discrimination.

Senator Mike Lee of Utah, a fervent opponent of LGBT+ rights
Senator Mike Lee of Utah, a fervent opponent of LGBT+ rights (Getty/ANNA MONEYMAKER)

‘Defender of women’ is not so keen about them getting married or getting healthcare

Lee was previously behind an attempt to effectively erase civil rights protections for married gay and lesbian couples.

The GOP senator spearheaded efforts to pass the First Amendment Defense Act, a bill that would have blocked the federal government from enforcing anti-discrimination protections or civil rights laws in cases where people acted based on “a sincerely held religious belief” in marriage.

He has also intervened in court battles over LGBT+ discrimination laws in the past, arguing that religious business owners have a right to discriminate on the well-trodden grounds of ‘religious freedom’ and ‘free speech’.

The newly-converted champion of women’s rights also has an extensive history of anti-abortion legislation, supporting moves to pull federal funding from women’s healthcare providers that offer reproductive healthcare.

The lawmaker has also sought to restrict minors’ access to abortion and ban the procedure after 20 weeks, suggesting women should be forced to remain pregnant aside from “in cases of rape, or cases of incest against a minor”.