Queer Eye star Jonathan Van Ness has said he hopes his children’s picture book will inspire people to celebrate individuality.
The TV star, 33, and hair stylist, has released Peanut Goes For The Gold, which tells the story of a non-binary guinea pig with a love of rhythmic gymnastics.
Van Ness told PA News Agency: “I wanted to show a non-binary child, albeit a guinea pig non-binary child, I wanted to show a non-binary child whose individuality is celebrated but who is also very much part of a group.
“And is just absolutely thriving and no one really bats an eye at celebrating individuality in this world, and that’s something I want everyone to work towards.”
The personal grooming expert on the hit Netflix series wanted to create something for a new generation of children who would be able to see themselves reflected in content.
The TV star explained: “Growing up it’s like, so many of the things that I thought were amazing that I really wanted to participate in, there was no map, there was really no reflection of anything that I was interested in, like in children’s content.
“I didn’t know it was called children’s content then of course… and I just felt like how fun would that be to create something for kids that grew up like me and don’t really see themselves reflected in much of what they consume.
“And so I wanted to give something not only to children but also to parents that is more reflective of the diverse amazing kids that you know, have always been around but haven’t had a lot of content for them.”
The picture book, published by HarperCollins, also drew on Van Ness’ love of gymnastics for the story line.
After returning to the sport as a teenager, the author said: “I didn’t come back to it until I was like 14 – and then I learned how to tumble when I got into cheer leading…
“And I finally realised my lifelong dream of learning to flip my body upside down… I’ve always been obsessed with gymnastics”.
Peanut Goes For The Gold is out now.