Professor calls for more ‘gender-fluid’ books aimed at preschoolers in libraries

By Toni Airaksinen, Campus Reform

Young children trying to learn basic 123’s and ABC’s don’t need to be confused with topics of “gender fluidity.” Images: Shutterstock.

A University of Rhode Island professor recently argued that libraries should start carrying more books with “transgender or gender-fluid protagonists” for preschoolers.

Susan Trostle Brand, a professor of early childhood education, suggested in an article published last week that school libraries should carry books with LGBTQ main characters to “provide active and enthusiastic support” for youth in those communities.

“Transchildren see protagonists like themselves, and feel far less alone.”    

“By using carefully selected children’s literature…teachers can make a positive difference in the lives of individuals who are transgender and/or those who live in diverse families,” Brand wrote in her article for the Journal of Childhood Education.

Without these books, transgender kids may face a higher “risk of depression” or “low self-esteem,” Brand argues, especially since the “curriculum in most schools does not reflect the wide range of individual uniqueness” in the LGBTQ community.

Brand told Campus Reform that providing kids access to books such as My Princess Boy and When Kathy is Keith is crucial because it helps to counter the societal message that there is “something dreadfully wrong with being gay or transgender.”

“Transchildren see protagonists like themselves, and feel far less alone. They feel understood, validated, and respected for who they are. They are freed to be themselves,” she explained, calling upon her colleagues to set positive examples for non-transgender students and they “will follow suit.”

“Early experiences with diverse literature and positive role modeling make a tremendous difference for transgender, gay, and cisgender individuals, alike,” Brand remarked, adding that parents have a similar responsibility.

“Parents and caregivers should introduce the topic when children are in preschool,” she concluded. “They ‘get it’ more than we might think.”

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen

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