Thursday, January 12, 2017

Gay Family to be Depicted in February 2017 Issue of "Highlights" Magazine

It's been a long time since I've read "Highlights." I have nothing against the magazine. My boys have just aged out of the target market.

Several months ago, a lesbian parent named Kristina Wertz shared her concern about the lack of LGBT families within "Highlights" or "Hello" magazine on their Facebook page:
My partner emailed you about the lack representation of LGBT families in Hello magazine last month and we have not received a response. Our one year old daughter loves Highlights! She carries her magazines all over the house and we read them countless times a day. One of the reasons we appreciate Hello is the diversity represented - families of all races, interracial families, and grandparents. We are consistently disappointed, however, in the complete lack of same-sex parents in Hello magazine. I think a lot about the things that create culture – the subtle and not so subtle messages that our kids get about how the world works. Since becoming a parent, I feel keenly aware of the messages kids’ books send to tiny minds. There is a deep need for books that positively reflect back the diversity of the world around us and I hope that Highlights embraces that diversity because we would love to keep it in our little one's life as she grows.
Highlights responded in a way that really didn't address Wertz's concerns:
We understand your wish to see your family’s situation represented in Highlights Hello. For much of our readership, the topic of same-sex families is still new, and parents are still learning how to approach the subject with their children, even the very little ones. We believe that parents know best when their family is ready to open conversation around the topic of same-sex families. 
Please be assured that it is very important to us that every child see his or her “face” in the pages of our magazines at some point—that every child feels that Highlights is truly for them. We will continue to think deeply about inclusion —specifically, how to address it in developmentally appropriate ways for our broad audience. Your note is a good reminder of how important it is.
They later apologized and came out with stronger support for all families, including those with gay or lesbian parents:
We want to reiterate that we believe all families matter. We know that there are many ways to build a family, and that love is the essential ingredient... This conversation has helped us see that we can be more reflective of all kinds of families in our publications. We are committed to doing so as we plan future issues... Whether incorporating families headed up by a grandparent or single parent, or including adoptive families, blended families, same-sex families, multi-generational families, and multi-racial families, our depiction of families is in support of our mission to help children become their best selves and understand that all families, including theirs, are important.
And that provides some context about the graphic at the top of this blog article. It features a pair of dads with their son and daughter flanked by the following text: "Your Favorite Family Trip. Has your family ever taken a memorable trip? Tell us where you went and what you liked about it. Include a drawing, if you wish."

It will appear on page within the February 2017 issue of "Highlights."

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