Harrisburg, PA—Big World, Little Om is a campaign to create a television program for LGBTQ children and other children living in non-traditional households that will enable them to see a representation of their family in a cartoon format. Representation in film and media has become a huge rallying cry for LGBTQ activists, especially in children’s entertainment. Marginalized children, whether that is someone disabled or of LGBTQ, immigrant and minority families, face discrimination daily and have different happiness percentiles than children of more “normative” families. For example, those LGBTQ children and those children living in LGBTQ families face higher rates of depression than children in more traditional homes and are twice as likely to a4empt suicide as their peers.
Research into their experiences shows higher than average rates of negative experience in their school careers and additional challenges that can make the types of feelings that come with being a youth or teen more frightening and ominous. In spite of the breakthrough in Hollywood and independent films, there remains a lack of positive representation still exists for children. The team behind Big World, Little Om wants to change that by producing a cartoon series that demonstrates what it is like to live in an LGBTQ family or to be different than other children you go to school with.
“I was in the same-sex relationship for nine beautiful years,” says originator Meher. “Our relationship ended not for any lack of love, but because she could no longer handle the discrimination she faced in her community or the disapproval of her family. Our child lost one of his moms and no doubt was confused by the whole situation. All he knew was the two of us and the love that was our family. I don’t want that to happen to any other family or child.”
Meher says that the world she wants to live in and raise children in doesn’t discriminate when it comes to love or family; a world where everyone’s story has power and importance, where hearts and character are more important than skin color and gender. She believes that begins through representation and community building. Big World, Li4le Om will be a show dedicated to showing how wonderful –but sometimes challenging—the lives are for unique families. “It can be a child who has a disability, a refugee family,” she says, “I’m not excluding anyone. I want these kids to see themselves on media in a positive, uplifting way.”
Other programs like Steven Universe include gay characters, but they do not focus on them or explore those challenges children may face. Meher wants it to be a good representation of real life, with all its challenges and possibilities. The show will tackle many issues such as gender equality, divorce, disability, immigration, and other contemporary issues not seen in children’s programming.
For more information, visit: www.bigworldlittleom.com