When I was in 4th grade, my mom was offered a conversion therapy book for me by my teacher. My mom had gone to a basic parent-teacher conference simply to make sure that I wasn’t being too chatty in class.

 

My parents had an inkling that I was gay from when I was young -- younger to understand it myself. While they never pushed me to come out, they always made sure to make it known that our home and our family was supportive. The way that they managed to do this was not by addressing my sexuality directly, but by telling stories about one of our uncles who was gay.

 

Without hesitation, my mom did not accept the conversion therapy book from my teacher.

 

Two years ago, I began writing and illustrating this children’s book. The in-progress work is a collection of poems dealing with themes on the gender binary, queerness, and more. Many of such are drawn from personal experience or the experience of queer friends of mine.

 

My hope for this book is that it can create more environments for queer children to feel safe, understood, and loved. I want it to foster spaces for education for children and parents alike. I believe in the book’s capacity to open up anyone, regardless of identity, to new possibilities of who they are and who they could be. Breaking gender expectations and binaries isn’t only to the benefit of queer people, but to everyone.