The daughter of a transgender dad has done something about the lack of LGBT representation in children’s stories. She’s created a book named, ‘Introducing Teddy: A Gentle Story about Gender and Friendship’.
Jessica Walton is a gay woman who has had a child with her wife. Upon thinking more about the stories they would read to their baby, they faced disappointment. Unfortunately, there was a serious lack of diverse children’s books.
Around the same time Jessica’s father came out as transgender. She soon realised that their relationship was built on the love and care he had always given her. It wasn’t at all affected by his change in gender.
This prompted her to look into the representation of Trans experiences in children’s books and again there was a gap. Jessica then decided she would write a children’s book about a teddy bear that goes through a transition. She said, “I figured that if I couldn’t find the right thing, I would have to have a go myself”.
In the book Teddy transitions to Tilly, yet nothing changes in his friendship with best friend Errol. It’s a story of acceptance, of being who you are and of unconditional friendship.
There is a clear need for more children’s stories which reflect experiences of the LGBT community. Kids need to hear stories of every kind of family set-up, stories that promote being proud of whoever you want to be.
Nick Harrop – campaigns manager at YoungMinds – explains the effects that a lack of these stories can have on young people: “If children do not find their own looks or abilities reflected in the media as they grow up, it can affect their self-esteem, self-worth, and sense of pride about who they are”.
This wonderful book has had glowing reviews and great success to date. With any luck, future children’s stories will follow suit and show our young ones that diversity is positive.