A new book from Really Big Coloring Books, called “Being Gay is Okay: A Practical Novel for Children, Adults and Educators On Gay Life,” seeks to be a guide to gay modern life and all it’s many facets For real.
But it also four pages of colorful "gay sharing cards" that include Queen Latifah at the center of nine cards, who has denied rumors of homosexuality, although she did perform at a gay pride event last summer and gave the world a few classic and extremely imporant human rights anthems. Although the company states in its press release that the cards don't only represent gay people, and include gay "supporters," everyone else on the page surrounding Latifah's smiling mug on this page—Billie Jean King, Elton John, Nathan Lane, k.d. lang, Greg Louganis, Jane Lynch, Rachel Maddow, Ricky Martin—are openly gay as are all the other card pages.
Creators of the book were 50% LGBTQ folks and 50% people who knew little about the gay community before starting on the project, according to their press release. “This truthful, fact-based, inspirational coloring novel is very appropriate for anyone,” publisher Wayne Bell says. “It opens the door to education and conversation about how Being Gay Is Okay.”
The book can act as a fun coffee-table conversation starter, an introduction into gay culture and history, and/or a guide for folks who may be struggling with understanding their own sexuality or the sexuality of others. Or you can just marvel that there are gay trading cards.
The kitsch level runs high throughout: It features a sample "coming out letter" with helpful tips on how to come out to your friends and family, a timeline of LGBTQ world history, an explanation of "The Kinsey Scale," a guide to dealing with bullies and homophobia, a glossary of LGBTQ terms and definitions, and a fairly extensive guide for some gay-friendly workplaces in the United States (favorite? Cummins, Inc. in Columbus, IN). The coloring section includes somewhat unflattering renderings of people such as Ed Koch (he's officially gay according to this book), Paul Lynde, and lesser-known actor William Henry Rorke (1910-1987).
Also included are the new Fabulous Gay Sharing Cards™ which feature favorite LGBTQ celebrities from television, film, music, and politics. These cards are meant to showcase the role models of the public LGBTQ world and celebrate their sociological impact because as Portia De Rossi explained in the latest issue of Out, “Anybody who is openly gay and visible is powerful. It doesn’t matter what you do, you are impacting people.”
According to the creators of the playing cards, these figures must be “supporter[s] or role model[s] within the Gay community and help promote discussion on basic civil liberties which may include, human rights, marriage equality, tolerance, inclusion and much more. (Being featured on a Fabulous Gay Sharing Card™ denotes a supporter of the Gay community and does not refer to anyone’s personal sexual orientation.” The cards do include an image of Jodie Foster, who is kind-of-sort-of-mostly-basically out and
Overall, the novel’s main message is that being gay is something to be celebrated and there is community, history and resources to be found in LGBTQ culture. If you're looking for a great way to educate a child or friend or want to spice up your road trip or waiting room, check out Being Gay Is Okay.
Or just buy it to have fun at your next dinner party.