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We deserve more LGBTI representation in family-friendly media

We deserve more LGBTI representation in family-friendly media

The queer romances of Promised Land books

Two authors who write LGBTI-inclusive children’s books are calling the media industry to have better representation in family-friendly content.

Adam Reynolds and Chaz Harris are the co-founders of Promised Land Tales. Their illustrated children’s book tell queer love stories, with diverse protagonists, such as princes and a female captain sailing the high seas.

We wanted to create the kind of books we needed when we were kids,’ Reynolds said. ‘We need more positive stories with LGBTQ+ characters centred in the narratives – especially in family entertainment.’

Harris told GSN part of the inspiration for the campaign was the tragic loss of 9-year-old Jamel Myles when he took his own life.

Reynolds continued: ‘We believe the continuing loss of queer kids to suicide is a result of this lack of LGBTQ+ education and visibility, and it’s causing kids to develop unaccepting attitudes towards our community. It’s literally killing us – we have to change that message.’

Their new campaign is #HearUsShowUs, encouraging content creators to include more LGBTI represention.

The mantra in filmmaking is to “show don’t tell”,’ Harris said. ‘But telling the world on press tours or social media a character is queer isn’t good enough if it isn’t obvious in the content.

‘That’s lip-service, not representation.’

The need to see yourself

Many people have taken the hashtag on Twitter and shared what it means for them to see themselves represented.

#HearUsShowUs tweet
There’s a lack of representation in books | Photo: Twitter @lupercos

Queer author and activist Harry Cook tweeted about how representation can be inspiring — or damaging.

#HearUsShowUs tweet
Representation can be inspiring | Photo: Twitter @HarryCook

Children should feel loved, wrote another user.

#HearUsShowUs tweet
It helps us feel loved | Photo: Twitter @MandyEvett

There’s also the simple notion that representation does, in fact, matter.

#HearUsShowUs tweet
Simply: representation matters | Photo: Twitter @harpursbizarre

Teen movies like Love, Simon are good steps forward, but this campaign believes more can and should be done.

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