Growing up we can think back to particular experiences through hearing or reading stories which help us to understand and normlise things that we would go through and experience as children.

However, recent research conducted by Deakin University has found that there is a demographic of Australians that lack stories which can support their children in the progression through childhood and understanding of where they fit in society.

The research found that 83% of LGBTQI families who responded to the survey said that they could not find any literature or pop culture that was aimed at their children.

At Deakin School of Communication and Creative Arts, Dr Helen Young, Dr Paul Venzo and Lara Hedberg said all respondents so far expressed a desire to read picture books reflecting their own family’s situation, but some find this difficult.

Dr Young said, “These families are often forced to adopt different tactics when they read – from changing pronouns to searching for books that represent many kinds of diverse and extended families, to avoiding books that represent families altogether.”

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 Star Observer spoke with Chris Matthews who has been in a same-sex relationship with her partner of 42 years. Together they have raised their family through the 70s and 80s with no children’s literature to replicate their family.

Chris says that their son who was adopted in the early 90s had one book that was written in 1989 titled, Heather Has Two Mommies. However, this was very American and not relatable to children in Australia.

She finished with, “I really think that being able to see your family reflected in the books you read and the TV and films you watch is vitally important.”

Star Observer also spoke with Ellie Sibbald, Chris’ daughter, and she says that growing up it was extremely hard to find literature which represented her family. Something which made her feel out of place as a child.

Ellie says that as she home schooled her sons, she ensured that she incorporated education around the LGBT!I community along with the required curriculum. But only minimal resources were available to her.

Dr Young and her colleague Dr Paul Venzo, invite all Rainbow parents, guardians, and caretakers to participate in the survey up until July 31.

For more information, or to take part, go to www.researchsurveys.deakin.edu.au

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