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“REPRESENTING THE DIVERSITY THAT POPU- LATES OUR SCHOOLS, COMMUNITIES AND THE BROADER WORLD IS ACTUALLY OUR JOB AS TEACHERS... ONTARIO TEACHERS HAVE A MANDATE TO MAKE SURE SCHOOLS ARE SAFE AND WELCOMING SPACES FOR ALL STUDENTS.”


Although she had never written a chil-


dren’s book, an idea emerged. “It was as easy as breathing. When my daughter was around five years old, she was known as ‘the little tyke on a bike’ for the Dyke March,” well known for the Dykes on Bikes contingent of motor- cyclists. Hernandez’s daughter, wearing a pink Stetson, would ride down Yonge Street on her little bike festooned with balloons. “You could really see in her mind that she thought she was on a float,” Hernandez laughs. This child-like point of view is maintained


throughout M is for Mustache. The words cho- sen for the letters of the alphabet reflect that viewpoint: “T is for Tita, our Filipino word for Auntie,


which is a kind of chosen family I am so lucky to have so many of.” Again, this mirrors the experience of


Hernandez’s family and that of many queer people. When relatives and community are unsupportive,


it’s common for queer and


trans people to form a chosen family, made up of peers who agree to help raise children


10 ETFO VOICE | SPRING 2019


and support one another. The several titas pic- tured in the book are diverse in ethnicity and gender expression. Another example of the intersectionality


of Flamingo Rampant titles is the book 47,000 Beads (2017) by Koja Adeyoha and Angel Ad- eyoha, with illustrations by Holly McGillis. “Peyton loves to dance, and especially at pow- wow, but her Auntie notices that she’s been dancing less and less. When Peyton shares that she just can’t be comfortable wearing a dress anymore, Auntie Eyota asks some friends for help in getting Peyton what she needs.” Auntie begins to wonder if Peyton is two-


spirit and seeks the counsel of an elder, referred to as “Grandparent” and “L.” It’s important to note that Peyton has not declared herself two- spirit, or trans, or non-binary. Neither have the extended family in her life. They merely re- spond affirmingly to her wishes and collaborate to make her a regalia similar to that worn by her brother and uncle. Auntie’s sole motivation is to support Peyton. “She feels alone but I know she isn’t. I want to show her that she’s not.”


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