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.

A Gay Fairytale for Children - Prince Henry

Pop'n'Olly is an LGBT+ and Equality educational resource used by children, parents and teachers. It is a resource that aims to combat ideas of prejudice or homophobia before they even have a chance to develop.

Through our own 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 regularly produces animations and episodes that are already being 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.

Virgin Unite, LGBT, Olly n Pop

Virgin Unite, LGBT, Olly n Pop

We are proud and happy to think we are helping these children grow into a world with an open mind and heart, and are able assist them in becoming young people who will be respectful to those around them who are different.

Additionally we are here to reflect those children who, for whatever reason, do feel different. We want to let them know that it is more than OK to be who you are.

Our message is simple, ‘We are all equal’, regardless of our differences. However it took me a while to discover this for myself. I'm sure many would relate, but 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 and even left with an idea that I had to pretend to be someone I'm not.

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.

Virgin Unite, LGBT, Olly n Pop

Virgin Unite, LGBT, Olly n Pop

Prince Henry is a video and book produced by Pop'n'Olly, and we describe it as a gay fairytale romance for young readers. It is a story that focuses on ideas of discrimination, but not in the way you might think.

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.

We work hard, producing all that we do in our spare time. 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. A live show, with songs is also on the agenda for 2017 and we are currently aiming to fund this via our ‘go fund me’ campaign.

Virgin Unite, LGBT, Olly n Pop

Virgin Unite, LGBT, Olly n Pop

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.

Looking back on a year that many of us wish could have been fictional, it's difficult to predict the storylines and plot twists for 2017. But we know that our story will continue, no matter what the pages have in store for us. Equality is for all, and if a fairytale has taught us anything, it's that good will always triumph.


This is a guest blog and may not represent the views of Virgin.com. Please see virgin.com/terms for more details.

 

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