Coloring book tells kids that 'being gay is okay'
A new kids coloring book is hitting shelves and we're guessing it's not like anything you've seen before.
There are no superheroes or epic adventures; rather, this book, called "Being Gay is Okay," is intended to show kids that being homosexual is not something to be ashamed of.
We talked with the book's publisher via Skype on Wednesday. He said he's been getting all kinds of reaction - some positive and some not.
"I have made coloring books for 24 years and this has been the most joyful and the most non-joyful book in a 24 hour period that we've ever made," Wayne Bell said.
He described the book as a practical way for kids and adults to learn about lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and trans-gender life.
"We made the book so people that don't know anything can have a very positive representation of these guys right here," Bell said, pointing out sections of the book about notable homosexual people like Anderson Cooper, Ellen DeGeneres and Elton John.
Cooper, DeGeneres, John and others are featured in the 40 page book as part of the "fabulous gay sharing cards" section. Their names, pictures and bios are printed on trading cards.
There is also a pretend "marriage certificate" and a model letter for someone who wants to come out to friends and family.
We asked Bell who he said the target audience for the book is.
"That is going to be decided by the parent, the teacher and the educator," he said. "There is a variety. I know the typical five or six year old, the book is going to go right over their head."
So far sales of the book have been good, Bell said, and he is getting lots of reaction. At one point last week, he received 2,200 hate emails in just a few days, but that has been balanced by positive reaction.
"There are people who simply love the book and are so excited about it," he said. "But some of the extreme, hardcore social media people have just flat told me 'you don't know what you've done here. You're bound for Hell."
We asked a spokesman for the Q Center in Portland, an LGBT advocacy organization, to take a look at the book.
Logan Lynn, the Q Center's public relations manager, said he was hesitant to comment without spending more time to research the book and its publisher.
However, he said at first glance it appeared the intentions were good, but that "based solely on some terminology used I am not convinced that the appropriate level of cultural competency has been met to fully serve the diverse LGBTQ communities we serve."
Lynn urged anyone concerned with the well-being of LGBT youth and young adults to get familiar with the latest terminology and queer issues.