This week was National Coming Out Day. If you’ve not heard of it or had your head in the sand for 24 hours, it’s a day to celebrate the coming out of the LGBTQ community (as a member or as an ally). We’ve written our feelings about the day before, which you can find over here.
Founded in the United States in 1988, the initial idea was grounded in the feminist and gay liberation spirit of the personal being political, and the emphasis on the most basic form of activism being coming out to family, friends and colleagues, and living life as an openly lesbian or gay person. The foundational belief is that homophobia thrives in an atmosphere of silence and ignorance, and that once people know that they have loved ones who are lesbian or gay, they are far less likely to maintain homophobic or oppressive views.
As well as a form of protest, it’s also an opportunity for members of the community to educate others on the language they use and advise others on what they can do to help those still in the proverbial closet.
In keeping with the theme, we were recently sent a children’s book that does this.
Alien Nation by Matty Donaldson, in collaboration with The Proud Trust, is a book about friendship, but unlike other books of a similar ilk, it also talks about who you are and celebrating our differences.
Using a colourful bunch of aliens and a journey across space and different planets, the reader will travel through a story about identity. It is a fun exploration of gender, gender expression, gender roles, and an explanation of different gender identities.
Alien Nation is aimed at primary school children, therefore making it a wonderful resource for schools and libraries, however from reading the book myself I feel this would also be a fantastic resource for anyone who wanted to educate themselves on making sure they’re using the right language amongst the LGBTQ community.
As well as the main story, there are also segments of the book that ask the reader questions about themselves and others. You’re encouraged to challenge what you know.
For T who is three, the book is probably a bit long to read in one sitting, which isn’t a criticism but more of an observation going on our current situation, however there’s no stopping us making reference to it every now and again or dipping in when he can actually read what’s on the pages. This is what I like about the book – you can start it at any point depending on what you want to know.
The pages are also bright and colourful and the text is easy to follow. The font is fun and the aliens are even funnier. It’s also not gone unnoticed the amount of diversity throughout the book as well. With this in mind, I would highly recommend adding this to your collection – even if it’s for yourself!
We were sent a copy of Alien Nation for the purpose of an honest review, however all thoughts, opinions and images are our own.