New York — Writer David Levithan last year marked the 10th anniversary of his “Boy Meets Boy,” a romantic teen comedy where the homecoming queen was once a guy and the gay-straight alliance was aimed at helping the straight kids learn how to dance.
Levithan, also publisher and editorial director at Scholastic, offered his insights into parenting and books on LGBTQ-related themes for young people in an interview with The Associated Press.
AP: How does a parent who isn’t involved in the LGBTQ community but would like to foster an awareness and tolerance in children go about doing that through books, and at what age does that process begin?
Levithan: It’s never too early to foster kindness and equal treatment, for whatever group. So much of the pain that LGBT kids go through is because they feel distanced from all of the narratives they’ve been given. They’ve been told that everyone grows up a certain way, and now their own way is diverging from that.
The best thing parents can do, whether their kids end up queer or straight, is to acknowledge all of the different options that are out there, and letting their kids know that they support them no matter which options end up being theirs.
Books are a wonderful signifier and a perfect conversation starter. With my novel ‘Boy Meets Boy,’ I’ve seen it work both ways: I’ve had kids who’ve left their copies around for parents to find, as a way of ‘coming out‘ to them. And I’ve had parents who’ve left their copies around for kids to find, so the kids would know they were supported and loved.