Queer Families Storytelling
Stories have the power to shape the world and our imaginations. For the Queer Families community group, stories have always felt important. From the first meet-ups in 2018, storytelling has been one way to create an inclusive space where children see their families represented. It’s also at the heart of peer-support, as parents share community knowledge and experiences.
Funding success: Story Ripple funding from the Scottish Storytelling Centre
Given the important of stories to Queer Families, we’re thrilled to share we’ve received ‘Story Ripple’ funding from SISF (the Scottish International Story Festival) to host a family-friendly storytelling event. Thanks to this funding Queer Families is going to work with Lauren, a professional storyteller skilled at weaving traditional myths and folklore into inclusive, energetic activities everyone can take part in.
Storytelling Event: 2nd December – All LGBTQ+ families welcome
Originally, we planned the storytelling event for November, but it needed rescheduled. Sometimes things change, and we had a fun, cosy November event making postcards and running around outside anyway!
The new date for our storytelling workshop with Lauren is Saturday the 2nd of December, 10.30am-12.30 at Rumpus Room in Glasgow.
The event is open to all LGBTQ+ families, including families where any of the carers or children are part of the LGBTQ+ community. The stories are tailor-made for young children, so every member of the family can take part.
As usual, there’ll also be tea and coffee, and space to chat with other families.
The importance of storytelling
For LGBTQ+ families, stories which reflect and affirm their unique experiences can hold special meaning.
Most children’s storybooks don’t show a range of families, so it seems like there’s one ‘normal’ way to be a family. The Gender Friendly Nursery and Zero Tolerance audit of the books in nursery libraries found most books have male characters as the leading characters (this rises to over 70% if the story’s characters are animals!). They also found limited cultural, ethnic, religious and disability diversity, with few LGBTQ+ characters and families in the stories. This story gap can limit children’s imagination and confidence.
Parents who come along to Queer Families meet-ups often talk about the effort they need to make to find stories that make their children feel seen, and understand the history and context of the community their family is part of. Stories teach us about resilience, empathy, care and respect, and help us understand ourselves – something we need at every age. It’s important families have access to books that speak to them. We’re really lucky at Queer Families to be able to browse Rumpus Room’s little library, and families sometimes bring books to read or lend to each other too.
In peer-support, the more practical stories shared give us tools to move through the complexities of life as LGBTQ+ people. These narratives share day-to-day strategies for accessing services and support, having our voices heard, and dealing with barriers.
Sharing the joy: Postcards to spread happiness
As part of the Story Ripple funding, the Queer Families group wanted to find a way to share the happiness. We were thinking about small acts of kindness that can ripple out to people in the wider community. One parent suggested postcards – since we often do fun, sensory art activities while chatting, what better way to brighten up people’s autumns than little uplifting artworks? Thinking about what it feels like to get a postcard, they’re more than just pieces of paper. Postcards say ‘I care and want to encourage you!’.
Here are some of the postcards we created. We can’t wait to share them with anyone we meet who might appreciate the gesture and feeling of community.
Thank you to the SISF Story Ripple, Lauren, and the Queer Families families.