A Dying Gay Brother Inspires a Children’s Story on Tolerance
In a world where gay rights recognition vary tremendously from recognition of same-sex marriage or other types of partnerships, to the death penalty as punishment for same-sex sexual activity or even expression of identity, many of us are longing for positive change and cutting with prejudices, hate and fear of the different.
From such thoughts, Gordon the Giraffe, a children’s book about tolerance is born as part of a dying gay man wish.
Bruce Brown, an American graphic novelist, touched and inspired by his dying gay brother’s lifelong struggle for basic rights struck motivation to respond to his wish to write a children’s book about tolerance, destined for gay parents and mainstream audience.
Brad Brown was an HIV positive gay American fighter who faced trials and tribulations due his sexuality, his wish was to call out those who promote hatred and discrimination.
In an interview with SDGLN (San Diego Gay and Lesbian News), Brown stated, ‘Gordon the Giraffe is a message of tolerance. Clearly it is a message of gay tolerance, but honestly it’s simply message of tolerance could be applied to many things. The thing I love about this book is that it states that even though you see someone different in your eyes, have you ever considered they see you as different through their eyes. So, in the end, being different from each other is something that is not only normal, but should be accepted and embraced’.
‘My brother was diagnosed with HIV and as he started to decline in health, he spoke to me about doing something with my books other than entertain. He asked me before he passed away to do a book that would do just that. As an all children’s graphic novelist it seemed natural to do a book for children. My brother had always wanted the right to marry and even adopt a child and start a family. So, from that desire of my brother, “Gordon The Giraffe” arose’. Added the author.
Bruce Brown is the creator/author of the Howard Lovecraft series. I am now finishing up and starting production on the third book in that series; “Howard Lovecraft & the Kingdom Of Madness”.
Gordon lives with his mother in the hidden kingdom of Ugladunga. Every day, the adult giraffes gather on the other side of the waterfall, but the kids meet to play the game Mulunga Doo in pairs: one boy and one girl. When Gordon is asked to play by Gary, the other young giraffes laugh at them and ask Gordon if he’s a girl? Hurt, Gordon flees to his mother who tells him that he must follow his heart. The next day, the boy giraffes plan to teach Gordon a lesson, but their plan backfires, and Gordon must save them from plummeting down the waterfall. In the end, Gordon teaches the other boy giraffes that they should love everyone – even those who are different from themselves.
Few blurbs from other reviewers:
“This book does not shy away from the sweet simple, natural love that grows from within each of us uniquely. Deftly illustrated in silhouette, suggesting emotion and intent without defaulting to over-sentimentality to deliver poignancy.
An important children’s book for any parent that wishes their child lessons of tolerance and acceptance toward themselves and others.”
Michel Horvat, Award winning Documentarian, “We are Dad”
“At face value it’s a simple story, but behind it is a world of meaning. Kids will see only the story itself – which is presented in big, easy-to-read print and simple language, accompanied by charming illustrations. Parents will see beyond the story to the real gist.
It’s about having the freedom to choose, to be who we are – or want to be, when we grow up, at any rate. It’s about parents having the courage (not to mention the decency) to respect their kids’ choices and not try to force them into alien roles. And the gentle subtext points out that gay people can be, and have been; among history’s greatest heroes … that bravery is not a specifically heterosexual quality.”