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FLAMINGO BY GORDON NORE


“There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.” – Audre Lorde


told the latter that my library was in possession of a title that might not be appropriate for ado- lescent readers. I presume the purpose of the meeting was to bring me to my senses. Here’s how it went. The offending title


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was a benign little picture book called Mom and Mum Are Getting Married, published in 2004. In the exchange, there was much hem- ming and hawing about whether we had any “gay families” in the school, along with con- cerns some people of faith might be offended and recent immigrants wouldn’t understand. I stated the obvious: people can be gay (like my own late father) and parent children with a different sex spouse; children themselves might be gay or questioning, regardless of parent or community comfort levels; people of faith and immigrants are not automatically heterosexual or cisgender, nor are they auto- matically unaware of these issues, homopho-


8 ETFO VOICE | SPRING 2019


bout 12 years ago, I was working in the library of a middle school when I was pulled into a con- versation with another teacher and an admin- istrator. The former had


bic or transphobic. As I look back, I’m honest- ly embarrassed that such a conversation could take place. By the way, I stood my ground. The book remained in our library. Back when I started in the library, Mom and


Mum Are Getting Married was one of a grand total of three LGBT2Q books I was aware of. The others were Asha’s Mums (Women’s Press, 1990) and Daddy’s Roommate (Alyson Books, 1990). School and public librarians had to fight to keep these titles on the shelves of children’s libraries. The pushback was that intense. Thankfully, j wallace skelton and S. Bear


Bergman – partners in life and business – have expanded the small corpus of picture books with diverse queer and trans characters. And they’ve taken it a step further. Flamingo Ram- pant “is a micropress with a mission,” reads their website, “to produce feminist, racially- diverse, LGBT2Q positive children’s books, in an effort to bring visibility and positivity to the reading landscape of children everywhere.” Every two years since 2015, their publishing house has released a series of six new picture book titles – the third is scheduled to launch in August of 2019. Funding for these editions has come from Kickstarter campaigns, allow- ing readers to pre-order the titles. Where earlier titles painstakingly explained


that gay parents were just like everybody else, Flamingo Rampant titles are unapologetically


queer. A good example is The Last Place You Look (2017) by j wallace skelton. The setting is a seder at Pesach. A large extended family has gathered and is about to begin the ritual hid- ing of the matzo bread – a children’s game. It’s a funny, charming story of a family tradition, complicated by a misplaced matzo. Readers might even overlook that grandma, Bubbe, is partnered with another woman. Their relation-ship as spouses is simply part of the landscape of a family diverse in race, gender and ability. The theme of family runs through Fla-


mingo Rampant titles. A popular entry from its first series is M is for Mustache: a Pride ABC Book (2015) by Catherine Hernandez, more re-cently the author of the celebrated novel Scar-borough. The picture book is narrated by the author’s daughter as a young girl while visiting the Toronto Pride festival. Hernandez, a the-atre artist, had taken a meeting with Flamingo Rampant co-founder S. Bear Bergman who, to her initial surprise, asked her if she had an idea for a children’s story to appear in the first sea-son of titles.


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