LGBT Children’s Book Blasted By Critics For Inappropriate Symbolism

Natasha Biase

A new LGBT book targeted toward children is under fire from online critics for some disturbing symbolism they claim is present in the book’s illustrations. Grandad’s Pride, which was published on April 25, is aimed at children aged 3 to 6.

The book was written by Harry Woodgate, an award-winning author and illustrator, who, according to his website, writes and illustrates “diverse, inclusive stories that inspire young readers to be inquisitive, creative, kind, and proud of what makes them unique.”

The book is the sequel to Grandad’s Camper, which was centered around a “grandfather-granddaughter relationship” wherein a little girl named Milly “hatches the perfect plan to get her Grandad adventuring again” after his husband, “Gramps,” died.

In the follow-up to Grandad’s Camper, “Milly discovers a pride flag in Grandad’s attic,” inspiring the two to start a pride parade of their own to “build a world where everyone is proud to be themselves.”

Screenshots from Grandad’s Pride began circulating on social media this week, raising concerns about the content and its appropriateness for children.

In one illustration from the book, two men wearing what appears to be bondage-themed gear are seen each other in public during the pride parade festivities.

The illustration only appears in the US edition of the book, and was edited to something more subtle in the UK version, suggesting it was a point of editorial debate.

Outside of the United States, the male couple, still wearing fetish-themed clothes, only appear walking in the background of the pride parade. The paw-print tattoo prominently displayed on one of the men’s arms was also erased in the UK version.

While some speculated the tattoo referenced the “bear” community, a gay subculture referring to sexualizing hairy and/or “rugged” older men, others suggested that the tattoo had more similarities to the paw-print used in the “furry” fandom. “Furries” are individuals sexually aroused by roleplaying as anthropomorphic animal characters.

The illustration as seen in the US version of the book [L] and the UK version [R].

Another Twitter user made a thread with a collection of details on another page of the book that she believed had some concerning symbolism.

“Two MAPs alongside the side ‘Love Is Love is Love,'” user @blablafishcakes wrote. “If you know the code, you know. If you don’t: MAPs are Minor Attracted Persons and Love is Love is the covert little mantra of pedophiles.”

The term “Minor Attracted Person” was first coined by a pro-pedophilia lobby group called B4U-ACT, which was founded in 2003 by convicted child rapist Michael Melsheimer. Melsheimer explicitly stated that the purpose of the organization was to normalize pedophilia where he felt the National Association of Man-Boy Love had failed to do so.

“MAP” has become a popular way for pedophiles to identify themselves on the internet. Social justice activists have also taken to using the term for “non-offending” pedophiles, which some are claiming represent a marginalized sexual minority.

The backlash against Grandad’s Pride is just the latest in a battle parents and child safeguarding advocates have waged against “pride” books aimed at children.

In September of last year, a graphic novel by “genderqueer” writer Maia Kobabe triggered widespread condemnation for is graphic content, resulting in the book being banned in several schools across the United States.

The novel, which includes disturbing scenes of a 12-year-old Kobabe “masturbating to the thought of having a penis,” received criticism from lawmakers and was even subject to a court challenge pressing for it to be banned in Virginia.

According to Gay News, as of 2022, there are 25 “LGBTQ+” books banned in schools across the United States. But despite the outrage many of these books have received, corporate publishing houses, including Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Walker Books, Bloomsbury, and Penguin Random House, continue to offer the publications.

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