When I was little one of my favourite things was reading fairy tales and nursery rhymes out loud with my dad. We had a big collection of books which I pretty much knew off by heart – and most of those stories and rhymes I can still recite today.

All those classic tales of princesses and princes falling in love and living happily ever after – no wonder some kids freak the fuck out when they realise they’re gay. A childhood of hetero socialisation really doesn’t prepare you for that sudden gay plot twist on page six.

Snow White isn’t awoken by the magical kiss of a handsome princess and Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater doesn’t put his husband in a pumpkin shell – does he? If only children’s texts reflected the diversity of sexualities and genders, perhaps we’d realise we were beautiful swans a lot earlier on – instead of emo ugly ducklings hiding behind our feathers in the school yard.

Just imagine Jack and Bill going up that hill to fetch a pale of water, or girls being told it’s OK to be made of slugs and snails and puppy dogs’ tails. Why couldn’t Little Mr Muffet be frightened away by the spider, or Cinderella be the sweetest translady to ever slip on a glass slipper?

Fortunately kids have epic imaginations so they can interpret bedtime stories however they like. When I was little I never identified with the girly characters; no matter what the stupid book said, I was Princess Charming.

These days you can find queer picture books for kids. King and King, a Dutch story first published in 2002 – a year after same-sex marriage was legalised in the Netherlands – is about a young prince whose mum is tired of being queen and insists he marry a princess before he can be king.

The mum marches an array of chicks through the palace who fail to float the prince’s boat. Instead he falls in love with a spunky prince and they get hitched. The story ends with a kiss between the two kings, which is said to be the first image of two men smooching in a kids’ book. Hoorah!

Fairytales stick with us our whole lives, so it’s important we set kids on the right path. Just last week I heard three bears on Oxford Street bragging about whose beds they’d been sleeping in.

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