As well as being a month long celebration, Pride month is an opportunity to protest and raise political awareness of current issues facing the LGBT+ community.
Pop'n'Olly is an LGBT+ educational resource that aims to combat ideas of prejudice or homophobia before they even have a chance to develop. One way they’re doing that is through reimagining fairy tales.
Olly Pike, Pop'n'Olly founder explains...
For many of us fairy tales are something from childhood. Sweet stories that kept us brieﬂy entertained. But is it possible that these tales are far more powerful then we could ever imagine? It's where many of us ﬁrst learn about the balance of good and evil, where we discover ideas of emotion, and where we possibly, unknowingly, identify with the characters we meet. Yes, fairy tales are useful and perhaps even vital, but what is most magical, is our ability to now increase the power that these stories have. These tales can now be weapons in a very real ﬁght against discrimination.
Through Pop'n'Olly's adapted fairy tales, we reﬂect different types of people – largely those who are LGBT+ – so that children who experience our stories can learn about the diversity that makes up our world. We want to 'usualise' characters who may be Gay, Lesbian, Bi or Trans in an effort to encourage a more accepting and understanding society for future generations.
The Pop'n'Olly YouTube channel produces animations to be used in UK schools and homes (as well as internationally). Our books are read in primary and junior classrooms, and used alongside lesson plans and workshops.
Our message is consistent and simple, ‘We are all equal’, regardless of our differences. It took me a while to discover this for myself (I'm sure many would relate). Growing up knowing you are not quite like the others, even at a very young age, is not always easy. I knew I was different, and at times I felt confused and ashamed. Years later, when I had quite happily understood and accepted who I was, I found myself at the brunt of homophobic abuse from a complete stranger. It was this that made me truly question, Why? Or actually, How? How can someone be so hateful, so disrespectful, so cruel? I considered that perhaps no one had ever taught this person otherwise. Perhaps the thought of two men in love was so alien to this individual that he couldn't respond any other way. It was the sight of two men holding hands that had sparked this verbal attack.
Our work has received much praise from teachers and parents, not to mention emotional 'thank you's' from children who identify with our transgender Cinderella story 'Jamie'.
Knowing that we are reﬂecting situations of those who may not have felt represented before gives us great pride in our work and encourages us to continue. Sales of our books help to fund each new project, so we are grateful for every book that we sell. The dream for the future, is to grow Pop'n'Olly as a brand as far as we can. Creating new stories, videos and books for use in more schools and homes.
We eventually want to be inclusive of everyone, and also focus on other themes such as gender, race and disability. Our recently produced story 'Princess Penny & the Pea' is a story that questions whether our differences should determine how we are treated.
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