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First published at eurOut.

Wouldn't it be great if kids in kindergarten would hear stories about tough princesses who rescue princes from great danger, or about princes who fall in love with other princes or about growing up with two mums instead of a mum and a dad? Even though lgbt children's books have been around for a while, expecting to find them in a kindergarten's reader's corner still seems a bit too optimistic.

Not so in Norway. The Norwegian Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion says that children should be taught that having gay and lesbian parents is normal, reports Vårt Land.

Malins mamma gifter sig med Lisa (Annette Lundborg & Mimmi Tollerup-Grokovic)

Since January 2009 it is legal for same-sex couples in Norway to get married and to adopt children. This means that lgbt families are indeed reality for many kids in Norway, yet studies showed that kindergarten staff played a big part in reinforcing traditional gender patterns.

To counteract this tendency the Ministry sent out teaching materials that warned against one-sided gender patterns in typical fairy tales and suggested children's books that supplied different themes.

Among the books specifically mentioned was Malins Mamma gifter seg med Lisa (Malin's mum is getting married to Lisa). A book that tells the good old where-do-babies-come-from story from an lgbt point of view. Malin's family is a tad more complicated than what other children might be used to. There is her mum Siv, and there is also Siv's fiancée Lisa, who is pregnant. The father of Lisa's child is Nicholas, Malin's father's boyfriend.

It is important that children's books that break with traditional models of how a family has to look like are offered in kindergartens for various reasons. There's of course the aspect of providing identification for kids who grow up in a non-traditional family setting. But what I find even more important is that these books can help broaden the horizon of children whose parents would never even think about buying lgbt themed books or who might teach them, if intentional or not, that being different is not all right.

That lgbt children's books are available in stores alone can not be enough. If a country truly cares about equality and the prevention of discrimination it is vital that it teaches these values in its public educational institutes. I hope many more European states will follow in Norway's footsteps.


joan_psmith: name icon (Default)
Joan Y. Psmith
"Because we're grown-ups now, and it's our turn to decide what that means."
~ xkcd

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