Highlights to be Reflective of All Families

Highlights to be Reflective of All Families

In October 2016, the children’s magazine Highlights was accused of neglecting LGBTQ readers. Kristina Wertz, an LGBTQ activist posted on Facebook about the lack of same-sex couples in Hello, a magazine published by Highlights aimed at children up to two years old. Wertz’s Facebook post said the following: “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. . . . 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.”

Highlights responded to Wertz by saying that the conversations about same-sex families should be initiated by families. “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.”

Needless to say that response was met with outrage. Highlights apologized immediately, saying its initial response wasn’t “reflective of our values, intentions or our position.”

“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,” according to the statement. “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.”

The February issue of Highlights will include an illustration of a same-sex couple, two men loading a station wagon for a family trip in an item that invites readers to send letters. “Has your family ever taken a memorable family trip?” the text reads. “Tell us where you went and what you liked about it.”


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