Saturday, October 1, 2005

The Book List

A lot of my blog-friends have been posting the ALA Banned Books list. I read through the list and noted most of the books that were challenged (the term the ALA uses for books that someone finds objectionable and files a complaint against) were written for children or young adults and a lot of the books touched on the subject of homosexuality.

Well, that’s not surprising. Putting together “children” and “gay” is a pretty touchy subject for a lot of people, and many of them aren’t raving homophobes. They feel that it’s not appropriate to write about something that is considered adult material for kids that don’t even know what sex is.

But that’s the point. Being gay isn’t all about sex. The Religious Reich may be obsessed with sex of any kind, and they’re especially obsessed with gay sex, but anyone who has developed a maturity level beyond, oh, say, the age of sixteen, realizes that sexual orientation has a lot less to do with whom you make love to than it does with understanding who you are and where you fit in the grand scheme of things. Being gay is no different than any thing else that makes people different from others — being left-handed, for instance. You don’t choose it, and with some effort, you can probably learn to do things the way the majority of the population does. But your instinct is pre-wired and whether or not you are attracted to people of your same gender or pick up a pencil with your left hand, it is not the most important thing in your life, it shouldn’t define you in the eyes of others, and it certainly shouldn’t limit others from learning about what it’s like to be you.

I think it is important for children to understand what being gay is before they learn about the birds and the bees. Teach them about love and attraction before they become adolescently obsessed with sex and they won’t see it only in the context of what people do in the bedroom. Kids understand the concept of love and friendship, regardless of gender, long before they care about the mechanics of fitting parts together. Any author that can write a book for children that can portray love and friendship without judgement and enlighten the reader is worthy of celebration.