‘Gender critical’ campaigner furious over gender of fictional cartoon alien and Twitter had a field day

A cartoon mascot designed to promote reading among young children became a hot topic on Twitter, after some anti-trans voices accused the fictional alien character of being “not age appropriate“.


In August, a local library shared ‘Tala the Storyteller’ – a cartoon character, designed by local artists, created to act as a library card mascot and “to inspire families with babies and young children to visit Hertfordshire’s 46 libraries.”


Tala is described as “a lovely little creature who likes to search for stories to tell and rhymes to sing”.


Adorable, right? Take a look..

All fine, lovely and perfectly normal.


Enter “gender critical” Twitter voice and executive director of Sex Matters, Maya Forstater, who angrily shared the fictional alien character online, claiming to have been contacted by an upset parent.


Forstarter says the unidentified parent messaged her, saying: “Book Start Bear has been retired and replaced with Talia, a ‘trans’ bear, with they/them pronouns.” “I cannot express how upset I feel. Why do children need this?”


Sharing her concerns to Twitter, Forstarter reasoned that Tala being referred to as ‘they/ them’, implied that they were, in fact, a trans fictional alien and therefore, in her eyes, posed a considerable risk to children.


The library was quick to offer a response to the accusatory tweet, with a simple but wonderful reply, saying, “Tala isn’t trans, they are an alien.”



Undeterred, Forstarter asserted, “The parent who messaged me told me she was told “Tala is non-binary” and “uses they/them pronouns”.


To which the library then replied:

“These are true things. Tala is a storytelling alien from outer space, so neither male nor female.”


At this point, rather than offer an apology to the library or just quickly change the subject and hope no one noticed, Forstarter maintained.


“The idea that this alien species are not male or female, and that this is something we should all take in our stride, is the idea that the question of where this infants mother is should not even be asked… “

“It is important that institutions do not allow cultures to develop where it is ok to lie to & disparage parents. Safeguarding 101. “Queering” these institutions w ambiguity & lies, makes parents rightly feel they are unsafe.”


The internet didn’t miss a beat in unpacking the unfortunate mix-up, and her @ replies quickly became a thing to behold. 


Here’s what some folk had to say:

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