Grandad’s Pride publisher slams ‘offensive and homophobic’ attacks on LGBTQ+ kids’ book

A picture of Grandad from Grandad's Pride waving a Progress Pride flag.

The publisher of an LGBTQ+ children’s book about a grandad going to a Pride event has hit back at a ‘gender critical’ attack, calling the criticism “baseless, deeply offensive and homophobic”.

Grandad’s Pride, published by Andersen Press, tells the story young Milly who goes on a trip to their grandfather’s cottage and, after finding his Pride flag in the attic, helps set up a local Pride.

Released on Thursday (1 June) as a follow-up to author Harry Woodgate’s Grandad’s Camper, the book received positive reviews but was quickly flooded with a wave of negativity after anti-LGBTQ+ groups claimed it was harmful to children.

In a social media thread, a prominent gender-critical activist made a number of bizarre allegations about the book’s content, spuriously claiming it is damaging the gay community.

The first of her accusations stems from items seen in the old man’s attic, which is littered with interesting objects, many of which are related to Pride or coloured with rainbows.

The activist, however, claimed that a map of the UK, seen in an illustration leaning on the side of an old wooden box, was a reference to the label Minor Attracted Person (MAP) – a synonym for pedophilia that has falsely been associated with the LGBTQ+ community for decades.

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Others have suggested that – just maybe – it might be a drawing of a map with no meaning whatsoever.

Further spurious accusations included a pair of heart-shaped sunglasses and a camera being references to the controversial book Lolita, written in 1955, rather than just being an old camera and a pair of shades.

Other outraged anti-LGBTQ+ pundits, including right-wing amateur commentator Ian Miles Cheong, pointed to panels such as a picture of two men kissing – removed in the UK version – and a topless trans man with top surgery scars as reasons to be outraged.

Woodgate’s publisher Andersen Press told PinkNews: “We stand by our author and illustrator Harry Woodgate and their book Grandad’s Pride.

“We believe it is a faithful representation of Pride Celebrations and Pride Parades around the country enjoyed by many families,” they said.

“We discussed the images of the Pride parade during our stringent and robust editorial process and decided collectively that we should show a true representation of what a Pride march looks like and what the many children who attend these events see.

“We consider accusations of ‘hidden messages’ to be baseless, deeply offensive and homophobic.”

Waterstones faces ‘gender-critical’ backlash

The situation mirrors the anti-LGBTQ+ backlash that similar books about acceptance have faced at the hands of gender-critical activists.

British book retailer Waterstones was forced to defend the trans author Lewis Hancox after he was nominated for its children’s book award in February.

Twitter users accused Hancox of damaging children with his book Welcome to St Hell: My Trans Teen Misadventure – a book for teenagers about his pre-transition school years.

In response, Waterstones doubled down on its support, saying it was “enormously proud” of his and the other books on this year’s children’s book prize shortlist.

“Lewis Hancox’s Welcome to St Hell is a work championed by our booksellers and represents a lived experience of courage that deserves to be properly read rather than have pages taken out of context,” the booksellers continued.

“The book remains a source of reassurance for those moving through similar experiences and a stepping-off point for informed, respectful conversation.”

Similarly, Grandad’s Pride has received rave reviews from those who bought it, with one Amazon review reading: “At its heart, this is a lovely, heart-warming story full of fun, terrific illustrations and emotional punch.

“Beyond that, it’s educational, important and all inclusive. Would instantly recommend to any parent. Wonderful.”

Another reviewer said: “This book will warm your heart and soothe your soul, Harry’s illustrations are wonderful and I can’t wait to see what they do next.”

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