Children’s book Hooray for She, He, Ze, and They! celebrates gender identity amid LGBTQ+ book ban

Books, Identity, LGBT, LGBTQ, News, non-binary, Trans

Lindz Amer’s book Hooray for She, He, Ze and They! What Are Your Pronouns Today? celebrates gender identity amid book bans on LGBTQ+ topics in Republican-dominated states in the US. 

Amer’s 2024 piece of literature discusses how people use different pronouns and the joy in which a person feels when they are affirmed in their correct gender identity. 

The book — suitable for readers aged between four and eight years old — reads in the blurb: “Finding the right pronoun for you feels like a warm hug and helps you be your most wonderful self.”

The book teaches the lesson to children that living as your most authentic self is not only okay but should be celebrated, according to Amer. 

“The book is meant to be a conversation starter” for parents, guardians and carers to discuss gender and identity with their children, the author explained to The Advocate. The book serves as an important guide on how to navigate such topics. 

“It’s not just about teaching kids about nonbinary gender identity. It’s also teaching kids that you have a gender, I have a gender, we all have gender,” said Amer to the outlet. 

They add that creating an open conversation using literature like this is “fundamental” to normalise conversations on gender identity, as well as creating an inclusive and empathetic environment for children to grow and learn. 

Their book comes as Republican-dominated US states have targeted books and classrooms from discussing gender identity and sexual orientation. 

In January, Idaho approved a ban which could target books featuring LGBTQ+ characters kissing and holding hands. 

The latest version of the bill aims to prevent school and public libraries from giving or making available any materials to minors that “depict nudity, sexual conduct or sadomasochistic abuse and that is harmful to minors,” and “that depict sexual excitement, sexual conduct or sadomasochistic abuse that, taken as a whole, is harmful to minors”.

Last year, Florida also voted to expand the horrific “don’t say gay” law, which further tightened restrictions on how schools can address LGBTQ+ topics. 

The extension bans discussions of gender identity and sexual orientation in public schools through the eighth grade, up from third grade as previously outlined in the legislation. 

“Navigating spaces where your very identity is a point of contention can be exhausting and disheartening,” said Amer. “It’s like constantly having to validate your existence, to assert that ‘I am real, my experiences are valid.’ It’s a relentless journey, but one that I believe is necessary for change and acceptance.”

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