If you know of any queer/trans children or youth, you might want to get them some good queer/trans themed stuff for Christmas. Actually, even if you think all the kids you know are straight and cisgender (you’re probably wrong), you’ll probably still want to get them some good queer/trans themed stuff for Christmas, because you want them to grow up lovely, welcoming people, and not bigoted jerks who will ask questions like “which one of you is the real mother?” and “so, have you had the surgery?” And if you’ve ever spent money on Harry Potter books or merch, purchasing work by queer and trans artists might help make up for that transphobic footprint.
Flamingo Rampant is the indie micropress for all your needs in the realm of LGBTQ2S kids books featuring a diversity of races, cultures, abilities, class, and family structures. All their books are #ownvoices, full of exciting tales — no portrayal of bullying or harassment, and no preachy didacticism. Right now they have a Kickstarter on for their new season, and if you pledge you can get a colouring page gift card to mail to the recipients letting them know they’ll receive a holiday gift in the summer. There’s a picture book package and a middle grade package, and I’m very excited for my kid to read the “Afro-Futurist tale set in a dystopian future, in which two Black, nonbinary children unlock a secret that might just save the world.” That feels very much like his jam.
If you want to buy something currently available, their previous publications – all picture books and their new middle-grade offerings – are available on their website. My kid’s favourites were Newspaper Pirates, A Princess Of Great Daring, and Super Power Baby Shower, but there are so many to pick from; I feel safe in assuring you there is something to suit the taste of the kid in your life.
In the Young Adult (YA) sphere, I cannot enthuse enough about Tillie Walden’s On A Sunbeam. The story is a slow burn space epic, full of visuals that are somehow even more dazzling for having a purposefully limited palette, and heart-breaking romance between characters who are all women, girls or non-binary people. There are no men. There is no explanation of why there are no men. I found that extremely refreshing.
The whole comic is available for free on Walden’s website, so if finances are limited, you and your tween/teen of choice can enjoy it on your devices. If you can purchase it from your local independent comic shop or bookstore though, I love the weight of it in my hands, and seeing the stunning art on paper. And I really want our indie shops to survive – they were struggling enough as it is, thanks Bezos.
One of the Big Guns in the book world is getting on board with our identities; Penguin Random House is now publishing the Pocket Change Collective, which is a series of small books that are each produced by an artist or activist. One of these is The New Queer Conscience, in which Adam Eli offers a candid and compassionate introduction to queer responsibility, calling on his Jewish faith to underline how kindness and support within the queer community can lead to a stronger global consciousness. Another is Beyond the Gender Binary, in which Alok Vaid-Menon challenges the world to see gender not in black and white, but in full color, showing us that gender is a malleable and creative form of expression.
The only way you know the right pronoun to use for a person is if they tell you in one way or another. Now you can integrate inclusivity with fashion by adding a pronoun pin to your wardrobe. Every single person you know uses a pronoun, so that’s everyone on your holiday shopping list! If you know more about someone’s queer/trans identity, you could get them a fun background in the colours of the suitable flag, but there are also plain-colour backgrounds for allies to use. (And you’re not an ally if you’re not doing the work of allyship, so go ahead and put a button on, cisgender folks.)
The 9 to 5 world has gotten used to wearing sweatpants under our button-up tops, but I didn’t see youths wearing business casual even in a pre-pandemic world. Kids know how to be comfortable, and key to that is T-Shirts. Maybe you know a teen who would rock a Bi-Furious T. Or a dino-loving kid who could sport a Trans-osaurus Rex T. Or someone who stans David and Patrick (who doesn’t?) Or you could combine your wonderful youth’s passion for anti-racism and their queer identity with this T-shirt. Etsy is your oyster, truly.
Happy shopping, eating, decorating, and praying to whatever gods you may believe in, practicing any possibly useful arcane rites, that 2021 will be a brand spanking new year full of vaccines, defunding police, and averting the climate crisis. Cheers!