Esther Explains, a series of wonderful LGBTQ+ educational animations, was launched by LINC on November 16, 2021, to coincide with the BeLonG To Youth Services Stand Up Awareness Week.
For more than 20 years, LINC has provided support services with the aim of improving the quality of life, health and well-being of all women who identify as lesbian or bisexual in Ireland.
Inspired by one of LINC’s own staff team members, the series was designed by award-winning animator, Janet Grainger, to serve as a resource for teachers and adults to educate youth in three important topics, Being Trans, Non-Binary and Homophobic Language.
The animations follow Esther, an Irish teenager who takes pride in responding to her family and friends’ queries about gender diversity and homophobia. These conversations all occur in familiar settings like at the kitchen table with her Dad, on the couch in the living room with her brother and in the school canteen with a classmate.
Esther tackles these discussions with those around her in a direct and informative manner. In the animation on homophobic language, Esther confronts her brother when he uses the phrase ‘that’s gay’ while playing video games. She explains the range of ways homophobia and transphobia can occur and emphasizes the importance of not using homophobic or transphobic language.
To connect with the young audience, the tagline ‘Don’t be a butt!’ closes out each animation as a way of promoting inclusivity and acceptance with casual and unassuming rhetoric.
Along with the animations, LINC provides a workbook to help guide teachers and adults in the ensuing conversations about the series.
The power of and the necessity for an educational tool like Esther Explains is echoed by the creators and political leaders alike. Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that “using resources such as Esther Explains have the potential to help build greater empathy and understanding for LGBTI+ young people amongst their peers.”
The mission of the series to educate young people on basic knowledge of being LGBTQ+ is vital to improving current conditions for LGBTQ+ people.
Ciara Mulcahy, LINC Community health worker who scripted and lead the project highlighted the reality of the BeLonG To School Climate Report of 2019 and said, “with research showing that 73% of LGBTI+ young people feel unsafe in schools, the aim of these animations is to start a conversation about diverse identities, assisting teachers, parents and other adults who want to help create safe, inclusive spaces for LGBTI+ young people to do so in an easy and accessible way”.
Esther Explains provides a comprehensive tool to tangibly connect our hopes for equality, compassion, and acceptance with a generation of young people who can actively transform the current state of hardship that LGBTQ+ people experience.
Help create safe and inclusive spaces for LGBTQ+ youth and share Esther Explains animations as a resource for those around you to use.
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