Gay Lit Collections For Teens

Submitted by GregS* on Fri, 02/10/2006 - 18:18

Originally posted at SHUSH...

    Back in early December I
posted a
for Debra Whelan at School Library Journal. She was looking for a
conservative viewpoint on gay teen collections in school libraries. I don't know
if anyone contacted her or not but I said I'd post what I sent when the article
came out, which apparently it did last month:

Hi Debra,

Here's my take...

First and foremost I don't believe schools should be getting into issues of
sexuality at all. They have a responsibility to educate students on what sex is
and how it works but the issue of sex as pleasure is something best left to parents.
The excuse used that parents don't talk to their children about sex is an excuse
used by those who simply don't like what some parents are saying. Ideas about
abstinence, marriage and monogamy are anathema to certain groups of people who
believe that if it feels good it must be okay. Bringing sexuality into the schools
is a way of promoting only that viewpoint.

On the issue of teens and being gay I could tell by your message you don't have any
question there is such a thing as a gay teen. But not everyone agrees with the view
that a person is born gay. I believe everyone is born with traits of both sexes and
the levels of those traits vary from person to person. So certainly some men can
have a high level of female traits but that doesn't make them a woman. If you are
born male you grow up to be a man and all the responsibilities implied with that.
If you wish to turn your back on it you are free to do so but its a decision to be
made as an adult, not a child. Until adulthood its the parent's role to try and mold
the child as best they can. And no parent is ever going to encourage their children
to be gay.

So yes I also believe that everyone is influenced by the environment they grew up in
and that certainly can be a negative environment. People weren't born wanting to be
prostitutes or pedophiles or to take part of any number of an incredibly long list
of sexually deviant activities ranging from the mildly kinky to the permanently
damaging, both physically and mentally. But it is only political correctness that
has allowed homosexuality some form of special protection which many feel is
undeserved. It is not anymore normal then a monk who chooses celibacy or the
individual that can only find sexual pleasure in being tied up in intricate knot
work. The same outside influences that push one person into a gay lifestyle could
just as easily push them into these others. Yet no one is advocating special
collections in schools for these other subjects or asking for special rights for
such groups. there are my basic views on the subject. Sex is subject as big as any science
so trying to explain a viewpoint on any part of it can get very involved, it touches
on so many other issues. But I tried to keep it succinct. Its also a very hot topic
with some people, so good luck with your article.


    The only arguments given in the article for not having such collections are
the straw-man of avoiding-controversy which is kicked around throughout and then there's
the quote from the lesbian librarian who says
"Unfortunately, some
media specialists have personal objections to gay literature and are quick to throw
the concept of intellectual freedom out the window..."

    Yeah this article isn't biased at all. Speaking of the lesbian
librarian here is her introduction:

    Arla Jones, Barton's librarian at Lawrence High School and
founder of the school's Gay-Straight Alliance, has become the school's de facto
counselor for gay teens because of her extensive gay literature collection and the
fact she's a lesbian herself.

    Emphasis mine. Besides smacking of 'creepiness' I find it funny that we're
so PC that a lesbian can set-up shop in a high school in a way that should get most
people fired for gross misconduct. It would be as if a Christian librarian set-up a
chapel in the school and started giving communion. I wonder how Republican students
or Christian students feel about getting help from Ms. Barton? Do you think she
treats them the same if she knows? I don't.

    The opening bit was ridiculous. Erica Barton (not her real
name) liked girls since kindergarten? I didn't like girls in kindergarten and I'm a
straight male. She was so confused about being gay in the fifth grade that she tried
to kill herself by slitting her wrists. Am I really expected to believe that coming
out of the closet is supposed to cure someone this emotionally disturbed? Or that she
thinks she's gay is even the problem?

    And then of course the Matthew Shepard card is played, poster
boy for abused gays. Except
he's not
. Has there been violence against gays? Yes. Has there been violence by
gays? Yes, just ask the parents of
Jeffrey Curley and
Jesse Dirkhising. No
amount of books is going to stop people being violent against other people. Tough
laws, tough punishments, yes. Reading, no.

    Why such a biased and absurd article? Well we're given that
answer in the editorial by Editor-in-Chief, Brian Kenney who is gay and

It takes guts to create libraries that support the needs of all students. It takes
even more guts to support collections that may attract fierce opposition. But that
just happens to be our job.

    Well, no it isn't. School libraries are there to fill the
needs of the student, not the wants or imaginings of a child. Mr. Kenney is pushing a
personal agenda and shame on him for dragging his profession into it.