I was afraid to create this coloring book. That fear made me realize that making this coloring book is probably one of the most important projects I could take on.
Growing up is hard for everyone. For me growing up involved the loss of a parent and struggling with PMDD, which went undiagnosed for many years. If that wasn't enough, I was also in denial about being queer. I was convinced that the key to my happiness what being in a heterosexual relationship. How messed up is that for the people I dated, and me? I was a mess of anxiety, depression, and self-deprecation.
I denied my true self for so long. From elementary school all the way to college, I remember kids being humiliated and traumatized just for being themselves. The adults in my life never talked about queer people, and when they did queers were the target of a joke. It felt like everyone around me was trying to convince me that there was something wrong with anyone who was not straight and gender-conforming. But, what it did was brainwashed me to believe was that there was something wrong with me. So, I hid any real feelings I had about my gender and sexuality.
I finally embraced all of those feelings when I was 28 years old. When I came out, most people were loving and accepting. Some people even told me they knew I was gay all along. But not everything was beautiful. When I married my wife, I noticed that my siblings struggled with what they should tell their kids about me and my wife, their new aunt. That's what inspired me to create this book.
I want LGBTQIA+ for Kids: A Coloring and Activity Book to help parents talk to their kids about what LGBTQIA+ means, and give queer children words to help describe their feelings as they develop. This book is helpful for all children so they can begin to understand that different is natural and beautiful and, hopefully, help make this world a more inclusive place.