A MOTHER and son from Dorchester are hoping to break down stigma surrounding LGBT+ issues among younger generations with a revolutionary new children's book.

Mel Lane and her son James Canning have been working with children's author and YouTuber, Olly Pike, to write a book, What Does LGBT+ Mean?, which is aimed at older children aged eight to 11, but has also proved popular with adults wanting to understand more.

Packed full of information; questions and discussion ideas; and eye-catching, colourful pictures, the 40 page book explores identity, assigned sex, gender, love, sexuality, discrimination, privilege, allyship, pride and more, and has already been successfully trialled in schools.

Although it is Olly, Mel and James’ names on the cover, hundreds of people were consulted. “We wanted to make sure the book was factually correct and appealing to a younger audience, but also that people with lived experience felt the language and content represented them accurately,” Mel said.

“We have consulted widely with local teachers and children to create a book that will work well in the classroom, and that we believe will make a difference to children and teachers.

Both Mel and James are volunteers at Dorset's Space Youth Project, a charitable organisation welcoming all young gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBT+) people across the county.

"We are very grateful for all the guidance, advice and suggestions we received, including from Space Youth Project trustee Eli Moore, who also features in the book," added Mel.

James said he wanted to write the book because he wished that he’d had it in school. “It would have made a real difference to how I felt about myself,” he added.

"After several years working with teachers and school students, we know that often teachers are keen to be supportive and inclusive to LGBT+ students but they lack the confidence and are concerned about things like using the wrong terminology.

"This book was written as a confidence-builder for teachers and other adults to start a conversation and provide a positive image of LGBT+ people to younger children."

A book launch event was held on London's Oxford Street last month - while a special Dorset celebration is also being planned later this year.

The book can also be purchased online at gayprideshop.co.uk/products/what-does-lgbt-mean-a-guide-for-young-people-and-grown-ups-book

For more information about Space Youth Project visit www.spaceyouthproject.co.uk