A professor at the University of Rhode Island is calling for preschool libraries to carry more books with “transgender or gender-fluid protagonists” to allow young transgender children to feel validated.
A Wednesday report on Campus Reform highlights a paper by professor Susan Trostle Brand, who teaches early childhood education at the University of Rhode Island. In the paper, published on September 6 in the Journal of Childhood Education, Brand argues that school libraries should carry books with LGBTQ main characters to “provide active and enthusiastic support” for transgender children. The paper was co-written by Susan L. Maasch, director of the Trans Youth Equality Foundation.
“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,” she wrote.
Brand states that children without such positive validation are at a higher “risk of depression” and “low self-esteem.” She argues that school literature “does not reflect the wide range of individual uniqueness” of LGBTQ individuals, whom she believes need more representation.
Speaking to Campus Reform, Brand suggested that books like “My Princess Boy” and “When Kathy is Keith” are examples of books she’d like to see carried by libraries.
“Transchildren see protagonists like themselves, and feel far less alone,” she said. “They feel understood, validated, and respected for who they are. They are freed to be themselves.”
Brand says that parents and teachers alike have a responsibility to teach their kids about transgender issues.