In news that will send at least 52 moms (the entire number currently loyal to the One Million Moms movement) into another apoplectic frenzy, Highlights, the magazine children read while nervously waiting for the dentist has published its first depiction of a same-sex couple in the magazine’s 70-year history.
The image, which appears in February’s issue, isn’t on the cover. And it’s not, as some people definitely feared, a full-colored representation of the “homosexual lifestyle” boiled down to its most base form (dudes having sex). Instead, it’s a tastefully done sidebar featuring two dads helping their kids pack for a trip. The wording below asks readers to remember one of their most treasured family vacations and send in their stories. And unless you were totally looking for it — if you’re a kid who has gay parents or someone looking for something to be outraged about on behalf of THE CHILDREN! — you probably wouldn’t even notice.
The move to include a depiction of a homosexual couple in the magazine isn’t a result of the decline of western society or part of an agenda that sees young and impressionable children recruited to a sexual orientation (you literally cannot do that; see: conversion therapy), but a prudent decision on the part of the magazine to include all types of families within its pages (after being called out by activists) — allowing kids who have gay parents to recognize their own experience in their favorite magazine and letting kids whose parents are heterosexual learn about the other types of families their kids might interact with — building strong developing minds that will hopefully move towards stamping out hate and bigotry.
While some will decry this as just another way in which our once-great country is slowly sliding ever deeper into a hot and murky hell, it’s important to note that representations of the LGBT community are now more important than ever. In the wake of the Orlando shooting, the HB2 bill, and moves by several states to make it harder for the LGBT+ community to live their lives, it’s important that gay and lesbian parents and their children are not forgotten and that homosexuality is normalized in popular culture. And what Highlights has done here is excellent: instead of using the same-sex couple as a beacon of virtue for the magazine, singling the two dads out, or making their appearance a big deal, it plopped them in as if nothing were different or out of order — which is absolutely the case.
This isn’t “trash in today’s media” as One Million Moms might call it (they’re demanding you call the magazine and complain), but a big step forward. And Highlights has posted a message saying they won’t be backing down to its website, threats of lost subscriptions be damned: “Our depiction of people is in support of our mission to help children become their best selves and understand that all families, including theirs, are important. We appreciate your continued trust in us in enriching children’s lives with our publications,” reads the magazine’s response to would-be critics.
Of course, as per usual, the parents who would cancel their subscriptions due to the mainstream acceptance of homosexuality in popular media are the same ones who need the magazine in their homes most.