Banned Books Week 2013: Books about LGBT Families Remain Targets of Censorship

2013 has been a landmark year for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender families. In June the Supreme Court struck down the discriminatory "Defense of Marriage Act," and left in place a lower court decision restoring the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in California. At least 13 states and the District of Columbia now recognize the freedom to marry for same-sex couples, and that number will hopefully grow even larger before the year is through.

But despite these breakthroughs, books about LGBT people and their families remain one of the biggest targets of censorship in school classrooms and libraries. Each year, the American Library Association compiles a list of books that have been the most frequent targets of censorship in classrooms and libraries, and almost every year one of the books on that list is And Tango Makes Three, a children's book about two male penguins that find an abandoned egg and raise a penguin chick together. Another frequent target of censorship is The Family Book, which as part of a survey of many different types of families includes a single page stating "some families have two moms and two dads." And just this past year, the ACLU and the ACLU of Utah had to take a school district in Utah to court to overturn the school's decision to pull a book about a family with two moms, In Our Mothers' House, from the school library shelves. The book had originally been yanked from the shelves because a group of parents complained that it "normalized a lifestyle that we don't agree with."

This anti-LGBT censorship extends into cyberspace. A few years ago, the ACLU launched a national "Don't Filter Me" campaign to challenge school web-filtering software that blocked access to non-sexual websites about LGBT people and their families with allowing free access to comparable websites that attacked LGBT people for lacking family values. We won a court victory holding that this type of viewpoint-based censorship is unconstitutional, but as recently as this past spring we had to threaten legal action against another school district whose filtering software was configured to block access to websites such as Freedom to Marry by labeling them as "sexuality."

For gay people and their families this type of censorship is not just an abstract philosophical concern. The fact of the matter is that children with same-sex parents attend schools across the country, and blocking websites or removing books from the shelves won't change that. It only serves to stigmatize these students and their families as something dirty or shameful. Libraries should reflect the diversity of all kinds of ideas -- and all kinds of families.

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Dan Kleinman of...

The American Library Association harms the LGBT community by falsifying incidents of discrimination against the community so that it will become angered and further spread the ALA's false message about book "banning." Studies have shown falsely claiming discrimination results in INCREASED discrimination because others see others discriminating so they think it's okay. To make this statement I need solid evidence. I have it. I made a recording of an LGBT author responding to a question I asked and saying the ALA intentionally put her book on the Top 10 List EVEN THOUGH OTHER BOOKS WERE CHALLENGED MORE because 1) the book was actually banned and 2) the book dealt with homosexuality. This book was Revolutionary Readings.

As to And Tango Makes Three, ALA fakes that too. For example, it had the book on the top of the 2010 list, if I recall, in position #1 for having been "banned" "dozens" of times. "Dozens." Sounds like discrimination, right? But the truth was that clever wording made it only appear to be have been banned dozens of times. In reality, the book was banned four times. 4. All year. Across the entire USA. 350 million people. 4 times all year. Book #1. And Tango Makes Three.

Can you say non-story? Not newsworthy? No, ALA whipped up the numbers and the LGBT community spread the ALA book "banning" message far and wide, unwittingly spreading the false and harmful discrimination lesson far and wide as well.

If anyone wants to hear the recording I made of the LGBT author saying what she did, just go to my web site.

I say this here because the post only continues to transmit the same false and harmful information. In reality, ALA stomps on the LGBT community to use it for its own gain and could care less about the resultant harm caused by falsifying incidents of discrimination.

Anonymous

banning books is stupid i say power to the reader

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