Highlights children’s magazine to publish image of same-sex couple for first time after controversy


By Justin Wm. Moyer,

After accusations of homophobia late last year, the children’s magazine Highlights will include an illustration of a same-sex couple in an issue for the first time.

The image, which will appear in the February issue of the magazine, shows 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.”

The illustration comes after Highlights was accused of neglecting LGBT readers last year, and then criticized by conservatives for agreeing to include them.

“We did expect and received a backlash when we committed to becoming more fully reflective to all the different kinds of families out there,” said Christine French Cully, the magazine’s editor in chief. “We expect this will make some people unhappy. Our focus remains on creating the best possible content for children.”

The controversy began in October, when Kristina Wertz, an LGBT activist in a same-sex relationship, posted about the lack of same-sex couples in Hello, a magazine published by Highlights aimed at children up to 2 years old.“One of the reasons we appreciate Hello is the diversity represented — families of all races, interracial families, and grandparents,” Wertz wrote on Oct. 14 in a widely shared Facebook post. “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 Oct. 16, saying conversations involving same-sex families should be initiated by families.

“We understand your wish to see your family’s situation represented in Highlights Hello,” according to the statement. “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.”