Representations of trans and gender diverse characters in picture books

Year: 2015

Author: Bartholomaeus, Clare, Riggs, Damien, Andrews, Yarrow

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Abstract:
An increasing number of young children identify with a gender that differs from that normatively expected of their natally assigned sex, yet there is little Australian research about trans and gender diverse issues in education, or development of resources for educators. Issues facing trans and gender diverse students in early childhood and primary education are often overlooked, sometimes because of the young age of the children, and sometimes because they are grouped with ‘LGBT’ issues, where trans and gender diverse issues are largely ignored.

This paper presents findings from our audit of picture books with trans and gender diverse characters, conducted with the aim of providing a resource for early childhood and primary school educators. Having such a resource available is vital for ensuring that educators and are aware of materials that are inclusive and supportive. Existing research about books with trans and gender diverse characters tends to focus on Young Adult fiction rather than picture books, and there is no comprehensive audit of books specifically focused on trans and gender diverse characters. Many new picture books with trans and gender diverse characters have been published in the last couple of years, highlighting the importance of examining the content and representation of trans and gender diverse issues in such books.

This presentation will focus on the key themes of our audit, including the intended audiences of the books, the intended messages of the books, who the trans and gender diverse characters are and how they are portrayed, the broad themes of the books, and the presence (or absence) of other forms of diversity.

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