Samuel Leighton-Dore is a 23-year-old Sydney-based writer/director who has worked on music videos, written features, had his film Showboy premiered at the 2014 Sydney International Film Festival and a book titled ‘Love or Something Like It’, published through Thought Catalog.
It was his newly self-published children’s book ‘I Think I’m A Poof‘ that dominated our recent conversation with Sam and his dad, though.
According to Sam, one of the publishing executives he initially approached about printing his literary labour of love said that, whilst he “loved the book”, he was worried publishing it would “tarnish the company’s family reputation”.
The book follows a kid named Johnny, who’s faced with the hugely-daunting prospect of coming out to his dad.
“I was first called a poof when I was eight years old, and the label stuck like glue,” recalls Sam. “Even with the support of a loving family, coming out at sixteen was one of the hardest things I’ve done. And I can’t help but wonder whether I might have felt braver, sooner, should a book like this have come in to my possession back then.”
Research continually shows that representation in children’s books matters and Sam, a lover of books from a very young age, cited this lack of diversity as one of his main reasons for launching a Pozible campaign and making this story a reality: “The overt heterosexuality of my favourite storybook characters slowly began to magnify the segregation I already felt.”
Watch the story behind the story:
You can find the book online at www.ithinkimapoof.com and one dollar from every copy sold is donated to QLife, Australia’s first nationally oriented telephone support and counselling service for LGBTI people.
Videographer: Jess Hallay.