Friday, September 30, 2011

Banned Books Week Day 7: These Books Were Born this Way

Take a look at this Chart from the ALA:

The 7th most common reason a book is challenged by the ALA is because it includes Homosexuality.  Not necessarily that it contains explicit homosexual sex, but just that the idea of homosexuality exists in the story.  The children's book And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson has made the top Ten Most Challenged books list from 2006-2010, and for 4 of those 5 years, it was the #1 most banned book in the country (It slipped to #2 in 2009).  Keep in mind that this book is banned for homosexuality and the word "homosexual" doesn't occur in it.  

I was cavalier about books that included the occult in this blog post and it's actually more often a reason books are challenged, so why get up in arms about this?  After all, isn't homosexuality just another issue where some of us are just never going to see eye to eye?

Here's the difference.  Animals don't talk.  Broomsticks don't fly.  Vampires, sparkly or otherwise, do not exist.  Also, Banning Harry Potter and Twilight hasn't done much at all to stem their popularity, and I challenge you to find a library with picture books that don't have animals talking.

When someone bans a book that just even mentions the idea of homosexuality, they are trying to banish the idea that homosexuality even exists in this world.

While the fantasy, vampire, magical genres are going well and good in publishing, books that include homosexual characters all ready have an uphill climb.  People who ban books have failed to stem the popularity of Harry Potter, but banning a book with homosexuality in it can doom the book to obscurity or take the book out of the hands of someone who needs it most.

Someone who needs to know that they are not alone.

Someone who is trying to make sense of themselves in a world that is constantly telling them they are wrong just for being born who they are.

Support these books.  Put them in the hands of kids, teens, and adults who need them.  Help give a voice to a group of people who have been too long treated like they were second-class citizens and told that their very existence is wrong.

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