By Joshua Pedersen

“OUT, NOT IN! was created by visionary author-illustrator team Josh Pedersen and Faith Henke. This book was crafted from empathy and aims to inspire LGBTQ individuals struggling to find their voice when they are ready to come out. This beautifully hand-lettered book can enlighten families and close friends of every person who is navigating the coming out process. It is for ALL people wishing to gain a more empathetic understanding. It is a message of hope and bravery. It is a reminder that LOVE—between parent and child, best friends, and family members—is the greatest gift of ALL.

“No sides, just love.” This is the message DSU professor Josh Pedersen wants people to feel as they experience his new book, Out, Not In!

Aimed at helping increase understanding for LGBTQ individuals struggling through the coming out process, Pedersen created the book to spread the message of love and acceptance to all who need to hear it.

“This book is so important to who I am,” Pedersen said. “It is a part of me.”

Pedersen said until recent years the book had been written in various places, as mere bullet points and messages of love that didn’t yet have a home. He also shared that, over the years, many people have reached out to him with questions about LGBTQ issues.

“It became very clear that I needed to take my notes and turn them into a resource and a message of hope and love for all with questions,” Pedersen said. “My hope is that this will help so many out there who are struggling to come out as well as those working to accept that new reality.”Pedersen chose former student and fellow DSU alumni, Faith Henke, to help illustrate the book. As a design professor at Dixie State, Pedersen said he had considered illustrating it himself, but felt that Faith’s work spoke louder. “I met Faith as a student in one of my design classes and noticed very quickly she had a lot more to teach me than I was going to teach her,” Pedersen said. “Her hand-lettering and illustration skills are unparalleled.”

After graduating from Dixie, Henke started her successful company, Artsy Affirmations, to combine her love for colorful illustrations with spreading mental health awareness and positivity.

“This is such an important message and it’s so personal that I was flattered to be invited to help bring it to life.” Henke said.

Out, Not In! is a 44-page rhyming book created for all ages. Pedersen said since there is already a deficit of literature for the LGBTQ community, he did not want to exclude anyone.

This inclusive spirit was very evident as Pedersen teared up with emotion when reading the book out loud. “I just want to help as many people as possible, to help them know that love is the true message.”


To purchase your copy of “Out, Not In!” you can visit Amazon or check out a copy at the Holland Library.