Gay Children’s Books

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I teach classes on children’s literature at a university in California. I always say that, although I’ve been teaching now for 30 years, what I really want to be when I grow up is a children’s author. It’s a genre that we teachers love and spend a great deal of time specializing in because we want to thrill our students with a passion for reading so that they too will become lifelong readers. Students love this class for that very reason. That is, until I get to the topic of contemporary children’s books that have non-normative gender roles as a subject.

Whether it’s classics like Oliver Button is a Sissy (published in 1979), William’s Doll (1985) or more recent books with gay themes like King and King (2004) or And Tango Makes Three (2005), you can feel people beginning to get uncomfortable. It’s no wonder that books like these are among the most banned books in the last decade.

But why does a boy wanting a doll instead of a ball, or a boy that prefers to dance instead of play sports, make us uncomfortable? I myself married a prince of a guy just like in King and King and we recently adopted a baby girl just like two little chinstrap penguins living in New York City’s Central Park Zoo. What is it about love that makes us so uncomfortable?

Are we afraid of these books because our communities of faith preach against them? Or is it that we don’t feel equipped to mediate the conflicts we think they’ll cause in our classrooms? Do we hate these books because they reveal our own hidden homophobia? I’d be curious to hear what you think about this.

Comments

I Teach Tolerance I teach

Submitted by Chloe Fletcher on 24 March 2014 - 11:23pm.

I Teach Tolerance

I teach kids that it's okay to be different and to love different things that most of their gender doesn't and to love someone of same sex. I also teach kids that not all kids have a mommy and a daddy, that some just have a mommy and some just have a daddy and some have two mommies or two dads. I tell them to be accepting of these kind of people and that not everyone is the same. I really think that more teachers and parents need to teach this too. Too many think that gay is wrong and that gay is a choice. Gay is not a choice, those people are born that way. I am a Christian and I believe that God loves everyone no matter who they love. I am not gay, but have gay friends and I love them. TOLERANCE ALL THE WAY!

Good grief there is a lot of

Submitted by Steven on 30 June 2012 - 5:35pm.

Good grief there is a lot of intolerant posts on this page. I do a simple search and get smacked in the face with horrible comments. For some reason those stand out more than the positive and supportive comments. I applaud any family that teaches diversity to their children and makes them aware that people are different and that everyone should be accepted for who they are. Why would you burden your child with the weight of intolerance and judgement upon others?

I was talking today with

Submitted by Janet on 8 May 2012 - 6:01pm.

I was talking today with other teachers and we would love to learn about children's books where the characters are gay or lesbian but the story is not about their homosexuality, but just about life events. Can you help? Thank you!

I'm coming to this

Submitted by Rebecca R. on 20 November 2012 - 2:53pm.

I'm coming to this conversation a bit late, but in case you're still interested there are two new books out that do just what you're looking for: they have gay characters but the story is not about their homosexuality. In fact, the story is a classic!

The books are The New Goldilocks and the Three Bears: Papa Bear, Daddy Bear, and Baby Bear (ISBN 978-1479389278) or The New Goldilocks and the Three Bears: Mama Bear, Mommy Bear, and Baby Bear (ISBN 978-1479389285).

You will not find any mention of homosexuality in these books. It's simply The Three Bears story with parent bears of the same-sex. I got the Papa Bear version for my classroom where we have at least two students with LGBT parents. All the kids seem to like the book!

Hi Janet, Sorry for the late

Submitted by Jeff on 12 October 2012 - 5:11pm.

Hi Janet,

Sorry for the late reply but I just saw your message. I've written an article on gay and lesbian children's literature for a professional journal where I analyze 20 years of children's books with gender variance as a theme. The article contains a great bibliography and I am happy to share it with you.

I have finally, happily,

Submitted by Kenton Jones on 16 December 2011 - 12:28pm.

I have finally, happily, found a worthy MFA thesis project:
I will compile a theatre piece centered on and around the
controversy stirred up in MA several years ago over the benign
children's book, "King and King." Seriously, people... time to get
over yourselves.

There are very good reasons to promote "tolerance" and diversity at
an early age. If, for no other reason, than to prevent our children from
growing up into bigoted, homophobic morons like their parents.

BTW, there are also very good reasons why our libraries and classrooms
are NOT stocked exclusively with conservative, Christian propaganda.

Frankly, I find all of the

Submitted by Emily on 23 February 2012 - 1:11pm.

Frankly, I find all of the homophobic, anti-gay statements on this page offensive and outrageous. The purpose of this website is to promote tolerance and spread equality. If that is something that you aren't couragous enough to tackle, than please, keep your INTOLERANT views off of this very important, positive space.

In my opinion books like

Submitted by Ash on 5 November 2011 - 11:05pm.

In my opinion books like these shouldnt be banned. By banning it is saying to gay's that what they are doing are wrong. To them it is not wrong, the feelings are their just like they are in a "normal relationship". Just because a straight person reads a book dealing with gay people does'nt mean they are going to become gay too.

After reading this article, I

Submitted by Sha-nayyy-nayyy on 3 November 2011 - 10:49pm.

After reading this article, I took the time to think about if I have read the books stated. I have not. I do not know what the stories are about, but the author states that in one, a boy wants a doll, and in another, a boy fiends his prince. I don’t see anything wrong with these books whatsoever. It’s a part of life. What’s the point of waiting until a child is in his/her teens to introduce homosexuals and what not? I believe that sharing these books with children will help them understand difference and know that it is not wrong for a boy to play with girl toys, or a girl to play with boy toys.

I'm 18, and I came out last

Submitted by Belgium on 21 October 2011 - 11:52pm.

I'm 18, and I came out last year to my parents. Raised in a very Christian household, this wasn't easy seeing as they found out through a love-letter to my girlfriend. I know many people won't believe me when I say it was not a choice, but I know it wasn't. I just know it. I liked girls and I wanted to hug them when they sat next to me in the lunch room. The only way it can be seen as a choice is in whether or not you chose to make it public or rather act upon it.
I'm not looking to make enemies here, and I'm not looking to get picked on by anyone who doesn't understand. So please just take this as I write it. Don't turn up your nose at someone else's love. Don't insult them in front of your children. Please, let's start a new chapter.

New chapter

Submitted by Anonymous on 4 November 2014 - 3:54pm.

I respect you!! You have made the decision to live openly and honestly!! May all your dreams come true!

If we truly care about the

Submitted by Karen on 29 September 2011 - 10:06am.

If we truly care about the emotional as well as academic needs of the children in our care, we will share literature and talk about the diversity of human experience to them. No need to editorialize.

I have a strong memory from 2008 of two 1st graders in my class dicussing whether or not a person can have two moms. I suggested they ask a third grader in the classroom (whose moms were raising him to be a strong proud person.) "Yes, you can have two moms," he replied. The younger children accepted his truth and went on with their class work. Talk about empowerment.

I teach young children. There

Submitted by Lisa D. on 28 June 2011 - 3:24pm.

I teach young children. There are a couple of reasons that I'm hesitant to approach this subject in class. One: I haven't seen a couple of the books mentioned here, so I have some new things to look at and consider. Books I've seen in the past treat gay families as though they ARE an ISSUE. I'd like to see books about families, their activities, their children, etc, that just assume that same-gender parents are normal. I may have to address questions, but I'd like to not suggest (by reading a book that makes an issue of same-gender parents/couples) that there is any issue at all.
Two: There will be an upheaval if I read these books. Some kids will get a scarier sermon at home that may make them aware of bigoted attitudes at home. I'm not as sure about whether this really makes a difference in what most kids would hear or not.
Three: Unless I can get books similar to the ones I describe in "One" I am very vulnerable vocationally. That is, I'm brave enough to read a book about families of many "configurations", but not to lead with the "issue". Just being honest here. Not proud that I'm protecting myself at the expense of others. Just telling the truth.
As an aside, by the time kids are in elementary school, "gay" is used in name-calling. I generally try to stop that while saying that's not really a bad word, but we need to call each other by our names. If someone has a better approach, I'm interested.

Lisa D. I am a teacher as

Submitted by Amanda Wheeler on 19 October 2011 - 2:44pm.

Lisa D. I am a teacher as well. I do not allow name-calling of any sort in the classroom. It is mean and easily escalates to a barrage of name-calling. With students who say something like "that's so gay", I point out the fact that things or objects can not be "gay" like an assembly or a test. When I ask them to define "gay", they have to stop and think. Then they sometimes see how absurd it is calling something 'gay'.

I ask them how would they feel if they were gay and had to hear that derogatory language everyday. Sometimes it has an effect, but at least they need to be aware of what is coming out of their mouths, and how damaging it can be.

I think these kinds of

Submitted by Stacey on 24 May 2011 - 6:35pm.

I think these kinds of children's books are wonderful! We live in such an undereducated, narrow-minded, hateful world. I'm straight as a board, but I can assure you, my children will grow up on these kinds of books. You cannot "turn" someone gay. Those of you who teach your children to hate others should be ashamed of yourselves.

Memories. I remember running

Submitted by Jack on 2 April 2011 - 10:45pm.

Memories. I remember running around the playground when I was 8 or 9. Playing with all of the different little groups, and thinking, "Man, I'd really like to suck a dick about now."

Good times.

Wow!

Submitted by danya on 9 June 2011 - 1:08pm.

Wow!

BTW jack, that was FUNNY!

Submitted by grant garber on 10 May 2011 - 12:49pm.

BTW jack, that was FUNNY!

My goodness, I am concerned.

Submitted by grant garber on 10 May 2011 - 12:48pm.

My goodness, I am concerned. I just finished a book about black slaves, guess now I will turn into one! I was gonna read a book about Joan of Arc but now I better not. Don't want to be a woman. What on earth can I read now? Apprently a bible like all good white middle class Americans! I am amazed how this whole blog exploded into Christians vs whatever. Frankly I don't like having Christian views pushed on me! I think it is time to welcome the 21st century and try to live in the here and now. Not your parents here and now, that is long gone. Some of these posts are really out there and kinda scary to think there are people out there like that.

I have a very simple

Submitted by Very basic on 7 January 2011 - 1:02pm.

I have a very simple question. Without name-calling or sarcasm but with an honest answer. What good does homosexuality bring to a society? I don't mean what homosexual persons have done because their intelligence has nothing to do with their sexual activity...if that's the case, there are far more heterosexual accomplishments, and even THAT is not the point...I mean, what good to promote the HUMAN species is homosexuality? The way I see it, if you placed all homosexuals of the world, on a deserted island, they would all die, because of the inability to procreate organically, and by that I mean that the child is birthed, without any lab involvement, by 2 parents, not a third or fourth...Not only that, but disease that arises from such behavior would kill them quicker. I ask because I care about all these people too, and I am trying to make sense of this....I'm not saying I am better, because I KNOW heterosexuals are sometimes WORSE, so I don't believe in gay-bashing....HOWEVER that does not excuse neither me or you, of our behavior. Please help me understand...Thanks

Hi, I know this comment is a

Submitted by Pop on 5 July 2013 - 1:29am.

Hi, I know this comment is a bit late since your question was asked two years ago. Anyway, my answer to your question is yes, homosexuality brings good to a society: 1) population control since there are too many people in this world 2) a decrease of abandoned children since they are adopted by gay couples 3) straight people learn more about themselves why they are straight since a majority of straight people do not know why they like the opposite sex, yet homosexuality opens a door to a more open-minded atmosphere and helps straight people learn more about human sexuality, sexual orientation, gender, human relationships, science, human rights, sociology, the understanding of male and female, male and male, and female and female, etc, which means homosexuality brings good to a society by contributing to the enlargement of science and knowledge, thus the world is more developed since more people know or are willing to know about facts.

Here are my honest answers to

Submitted by Richard Lavigueur on 14 May 2011 - 2:23pm.

Here are my honest answers to your question(s). The answers are simple too.

Heterosexuality's single contribution to society that homosexuality lacks is biological procreation. This is important, yes, but the worth of heterosexual people does not depend on their being constantly pregnant or, in the case of males, seeking out women to make pregnant. Infertile and childless people in heterosexual relationships contribute just as much to society as those who breed, ditto for LGBT people in same-sex relationships, as there is more to human worth than the desire to breed. As well, many gay couples or individuals do raise children, often children who have been adopted and who needed parents for various reasons.

Next, if I understand your question, the number of accomplishments by heterosexuals vs by homosexuals is a falacious way of measuring things. There are many more heterosexual than homosexual people, and many peoples' sexuality in history is a mystery. Even if this were not true, it could not be a valid measure. Through much of western history, women were denied education and as a result, did not contribute in volume the level of accomplishments men did. This does not mean that they cannot or do not when given the opertunity to succeed. Even still, gay individuals have contributed a great deal. Read about Alan Turing for example, if you used a computer to type your comment. Both his contributions and his fate are worth remembering.

Next, this might surprise you because of how it is taught in school, but if reproduction is the only goal, love, and even attraction, are not actually required. To use your island example, gay men and lesbians could still have sex with members of the opposite sex, thus having kids (our anatomy all works the same way), they just wouldn't fall in love with each other or take any enjoyment in the sexual component of the task. Their children would largely be heterosexual, and society on their island would continue as normal. If you repeated the same experiment with infertile people of any orientation or with heterosexuals above a certain age, on the other hand, there would actually be no means of natural reproduction.

Finally, no diseases come from homosexuality. Sex does not cause disease, it transmits some diseases. Certain forms of sex, whether done by men or women, transmit diseases easier than others. This is why lesbian women have the lowest incidence of STI transmission through sexual acts in the population. This does not mean that heterosexual women should refrain from sex with men because it is unhealthy, only that the risk is lower for two women having sex.

Off the top of my head, I

Submitted by Teri Acosta on 12 April 2011 - 5:00pm.

Off the top of my head, I think that - if I have the audacity to pretend I understand why someone else exists the way that they do - this world was meant to be experienced and enjoyed by all of the people God created. I think, too, that it's not too much of a stretch to assume that you should use the mind God endowed you with to recognize the supreme pleasure that comes from learning about people who are different from yourself. God has given us a garden, filled with variety, and a multitude of pleasures that come from being good to one another. God never meant us to only interact with or be kind to those who were only like ourselves. God made tons of people who are incapable of reproduction. He didn't intend us to be cruel or disrespectful to anyone simply because they do not breed and further increase the numbers of our species. There are plenty of us. More than most of us can even begin to live up to our Creator's hopes for us, in terms of taking care of one another. Every person on this earth is an opportunity for you to show how godly you are, when you open yourself up to loving them in the form they were presented to us, as they are all gifts from the Creator. Get busy, dude. It's on you.

Well the world needs more gay

Submitted by Luzian Drake on 15 December 2010 - 11:52pm.

Well the world needs more gay friendly kids literature...here is my favorite Totemic Haven by K.R.COLUMBUS http://www.lulu.com/product/paperback/totemic-haven--a-gay-childrens-book-/14307138 Columbus pretty much only writes gay fiction but his first children book was pretty entertaining.

I have had the book "And

Submitted by ellwyn on 4 November 2010 - 9:52pm.

I have had the book "And Tango Makes Three" in my elementary library for several years. It is only adults who read this and make some huge 'agenda' about homosexuality being promoted to our children. The kids just read it and see a cute story about two penguins raising a baby penguin. No secret gay agenda, no restructuring of American morality.
I do have to chose my books carefully. My pk-grade 5 kids are not emotionally prepared to read in depth about abusive relationships, sexual topics, extreme violence, etc. Penguins do not fit into any of these categories.

I think gay childrens books

Submitted by Ava on 8 August 2010 - 2:34pm.

I think gay childrens books could makea child who is being raised by a gay family make them feel more confortable and happy with their family...... having these books can show them that they're family is just as fine as a straight family.

I really agree with you. I'm

Submitted by Erin on 30 September 2010 - 1:11pm.

I really agree with you. I'm a bisexual woman currently in a relationship with another woman. We have no intentions of ever separating (not that anyone ever does) and would already be married if the state would only let us. One of the most important things for me in life is becoming a mother. Yet, I struggle with the idea that our children may grow up resenting our lifestyle. The idea of LGBT issues in the format of children's books excites me. I believe if we can show people early on that it's nothing to be angry about and nothing to be afraid of we can create a more tolerant world.

You are who you are, reading

Submitted by Geri on 19 May 2010 - 10:01pm.

You are who you are, reading a book isnt gonna change that. You may say that after something about homosexuals may turn someone gay its not true. I personaly think it gives them the courage to accept who they really are and come out, and hopefully people will accept them.

I am in college now, writing

Submitted by Tammy Breeden on 17 April 2010 - 9:26pm.

I am in college now, writing a final on should tolerance be taught in school, or at home. I think it should be taught in school but here is where I believe the mix up is. Every aspect of tolerance always get turned in to a question of sexual preference, and it should not be presented this way to children. Yes, we live in America, yes we have children being raised by to parents of the same sex, and yes they have the right to read a book to their child about this life style choice, but I too have the right to not have it read to my child. I think if we just teach, to respect and understand we are all different and leave out the specifics (leave that to the parent’s beliefs) then we would be better off as teachers. People are teachers, and I think they are uncomfortable teaching everyone’s children the same thing when it comes to religion, sexual preferences, and politics..... that's what does not belong in schools, just my opinion.

I'm a storyteller and writer,

Submitted by Nancy on 4 August 2011 - 3:16pm.

I'm a storyteller and writer, so perhaps I'm biased, but I think we teach values by stories, not by abstractions. I don't think we can teach tolerance in general and not deal with specifics. A story teaches moral choices better than a list of commandments. The Old Testament God gave lists, Jesus told stories. That's progress.

Tammy, I believe that

Submitted by Kari on 8 May 2010 - 11:09am.

Tammy, I believe that children have a right to intellectual freedom: that they are young, curious and growing, and that we should respect their dignity by exposing them to different perspectives. As a teacher it is my goal to empower children: to give them choices in how they see and understand the world. That does not mean they will adopt my views. But it means that they will begin to understand and respect different viewpoints on issues: that is teaching tolerance. Children and adults must do their own thinking to determine how they will live. I do not believe any individual has a right to impose her/his belief system on someone else because they are a child. So actually, Tammy, I am saying I disagree with this: no one has the right to choose that a certain book not be read to their child. That child has a right to be exposed to all books.

Religion, politics and sexual orientation are issues in school because they are matters of children's experience, family and identity. Children think and talk about these matters, and understanding them is crucial for making sense of our world (current events, history, even how science is practiced). As a teacher, I work to respect the diverse backgrounds of students, but I will not omit these issues nor will I capitulate to those who wish to deny human dignity by refusing to expose curious, bright young people to diverse perspectives and ideas.

Weather you believe

Submitted by Anonymous Jim on 2 December 2009 - 3:42pm.

Weather you believe homosexuality is moral or accepted by God or not, we have to put any child's safety first. Every child deserves an education in our country. Whether they are disabled, recently come from another country or they are homosexual or have parents that are. These kids need a safe, learning environment. Bringing prejudices and avoiding understanding will only create an environment of tension. Bringing these books into the classroom will give the students awareness and a sense of community. It's time we as adults grew up.

Child safety. As a teacher I

Submitted by Anonymous on 8 December 2009 - 10:21am.

Child safety. As a teacher I have witnessed more children being harassed for voicing their opinion that something is wrong with the heterophobic lifestyle than a student who states that homophobia is wrong! Students who are afraid of their personal biological and genetic orientation need professional assistance. They grow up to threaten their own physical safety and wellbeing.

I have to agree. One could

Submitted by MB on 24 February 2010 - 7:23pm.

I have to agree. One could make an argument that if you belive homosexuality (not homosexuals, because your sexual "identity", as homosexuals claim, does not define you) is wrong because you believe God isn't trying to confuse us, then you are under many threats, exclusion, and cast out of many circles, jobs, and public avenues because you believe that.

I certainly know that is true for myself.

And the very ideal of not succumbing to fear of who you are (the ideal of Gay rights) is now the fear of those who believe it to be wrong.

It is terrible to see people

Submitted by Richard Lavigueur on 14 May 2011 - 2:03pm.

It is terrible to see people discriminated against for their beliefs, but when it comes to the school system, it is not heterosexual students who drop out at higher rates, or commit suicide at heightened rates, or have their sexuality used as an everyday insult. There is growing disrespect for people who dislike LGBT people and wish they would remain closeted for their whole lives, but the vast, vast majority of hatred in the school system is directed at non-heterosexual students.
The discrimination you suffer is the result of actions. You claim that it is homosexual sex and not homosexual people which you dislike, well, look in the mirror. It is not your thoughts that lead to people shunning your company, it is your words, your actions, your attempts to impose these beliefs on others whatever the cost. Does my homosexuality define me? That's like asking if my gender defines me, or my religion, or job, or family background, or language defines me. It is part of the definition, and I will not give it up because it makes you uncomfortable.

I don't know if this has been

Submitted by Anonymous on 8 October 2009 - 7:04pm.

I don't know if this has been written already, but I was unable to read all the threads of people talking. You were asking why people are uncomfortable about having gay childrens books in schools. The answer is simple in that people are still mostly uncomfortable with homosexuality.

Less than a hundred years ago, people were uncomfortable with the idea of blacks in our schools, and now it's common and frowned apon otherwise. It took longer for black literature to be taught and read in schools.

The social norm for society is that being homosexual is bad. This norm will eventually change as did the norm for having all white schools or segregation. It will take work, and probably a decade for our children to overcome the differences.

It will take time for gay

Submitted by Ellen on 17 November 2009 - 9:50pm.

It will take time for gay relationships to be fully accepted but our children already are far more tolerant than we were as children. So, I think we're on the right track. When I was a middle schooler over thirty years ago, no one of that age would admit to being gay. People generally waited until college or after college to come out, if they came out at all. Nowadays, kids are coming out in high school and sometimes as early as middle school. I live in a fairly conservative, Republican town and the president of the high school student body is an openly gay young man. My daughter has a good friend who has two moms and the boy seems very well adjusted, loved and happy. If this can be going on in a quiet, little town like mine then I think times are really changing for the better.

What I find to be just as

Submitted by Anonymous on 7 October 2009 - 10:07am.

What I find to be just as problematic is when school districts themselves, not just the students or the parents, say that we shouldn't be using these books in school. For a teacher to read a gay-themed book in the classroom would only promote acceptance of homosexuality. Making the comment that kids who read gay books will grow up gay is ridiculous. Besides, if they do grow up gay, then we need to show them that it is OK to do so. Students need our support, especially the ones who are marginalized.

I stumbled on to this website

Submitted by Linda on 9 October 2009 - 9:50am.

I stumbled on to this website looking for the lyrics of a song and will respond to this blog.

What if we quit worrying about whether it is the education intuitions responsibility to teach elementary kids about sexuality? What if we were all passionate about whether our kids are being taught math, science, and spelling? What if we decided that teachers have a big enough challenge trying to get it through little Johnny's head that 1 + 1 = 2, without her having to go through the balance beam act of deciding whether she should use that equation to expand his learning on whether she meant 1 girl plus 1 girl equals tolerance. What if we told her it was okay to just use apples for this lesson? Being the mother of a nine year old boy and watching the struggles he has just trying to grasp the concepts of a compound sentence verses a complex sentence, or trying to memorize his multiplication, makes me think that this discussion is out of touch with what little kids need to be taught at school. Let the lessons of morality or sexual orientation or whatever phrase you want to use be taught at home. I grew up with a boy that we all knew was a little different than us. He was like one of us girls, but we all loved him just the same. I recently saw my old friend at my 30 year reunion and I can tell you he was not scarred one bit for not being outed 40 years earlier. He loved us and we loved him. Kids are smarter than we give them credit. By and large, we don’t have to beat it over their head to be nice to someone who is a little different than they are. Now math is something else.

For anyone who thinks that

Submitted by Erin on 7 October 2009 - 8:07am.

For anyone who thinks that teaching children to accept others who may be "different" from you is wrong need to read "a rose for Charlie". THAT is what happens when you don't teach your children to respect differences.

People are talking about "religious rights"...What about HUMAN rights? and by human rights I mean the right to love, the right to feel safe and the right to be yourself. How can you say that's a sin?? Because the Bible says so? Try listening to your heart, it may tell you different.

Read A Rose for Charlie on

Submitted by Annah on 7 October 2009 - 8:13am.

Read A Rose for Charlie on the Teaching Tolerance site.

Personally, I have nothing

Submitted by Lisa on 7 October 2009 - 5:39am.

Personally, I have nothing against using books like these in my classroom. Unfortunately, I teach in a very conservative area and am afraid of losing my job if I introduced such topics in my classroom. Instead, what I do is not allow any sort of anti-gay talk in my classroom. I also point out to my students that such talk is discriminatory and I allow no discrimination in my classroom.

There are several issues

Submitted by epaburke on 6 October 2009 - 6:21pm.

There are several issues being discussed in this forum, a few of which I would like to address, as a teacher and a parent.
A parent's decision that a particular book is inappropriate for his or her child, or inappropriate in a classroom setting, equated with government banning of books is mindless and contemptible--just stop it. I would have been a very irresponsible person indeed if I had not taken an interest in what my child read in school. Some schoolteachers forget that some of their students' parents, in a public school, are as well or better educated than the average elementary school teacher, and may be more liberal. I definitely do not think sex education or discussion of any kind is appropriate in a public school, or in any elementary school. Students do, like it or not , have parents whose opinions may differ from yours. Tolerance should of course be taught, but more importantly, it should be modeled. If your school is having tolerance problems, please do an honest self-assessment of the behavior staff-classroom and administration--may be modeling and teaching to students.
Comparing human behavior to animal behavior is one of the most pernicious philosophical/psychological ideas I have ever encountered. It is used to underwrite rape, child molesting, incest, murder, war,and cannibalism, among other things. Many so-called scientists have attempted to prove that animals rape, for instance, or that they mate with immature animals--the premise being that it is natural, and therefore only part of human nature when humans do it. This has been destructive to both animals and humans. I do not know whether or not homosexuality is "natural"--no one does--but surely this is not the way to teach tolerant behavior. Not forgetting that some people still teach their children that it is acceptable to abuse animals--they believe they are giving their children the skills it takes to compete in a hostile world when they teach them to throw rocks at dogs, etc.

I am a 50 year old lesbian.

Submitted by Tammy on 6 October 2009 - 3:11pm.

I am a 50 year old lesbian. When I discovered my orientation in the late 70's I looked for every book, article, story I could find. Most did not portray my orientation in a positive light. How I would have loved to have had access to normal stories about people who just happen to be lesbian or gay -- like the books mentioned here.

Since my partner and I adopted a little girl 3 years ago, it is even more important that she have access to books about normal lesbian/gay families. Because that is what our family is -- normal. Our LIFESTYLE is just like most other middle class families. We get up, go to work and school, come home and spend quality time together, only to go to bed and do it over again the next day. We spend time with family and friends of all diversities, we attend chuch on Sundays. They would never make a movie of our lives because to the world, this lesbian family would be boring. We are that normal.

As for the issue of choice, the only choice I ever had in being lesbian is, am I going to live a lie and try to fit in, or am I going to live the truth of who the Divine made me? Thankfully, after many years of struggle, I chose the latter, and that has frred me to be all I am meant to be.

Keep the books coming!

Being in Law Enforcement for

Submitted by Anonymous on 6 October 2009 - 2:51pm.

Being in Law Enforcement for over 30 years, I think it is if you don't talk about being Gay it's not a problem. I know officer who are gay and they try to everything so that other officer don't know it. I think it is sad that our society has come to that.

With all due respect to those

Submitted by Shiori Daze on 6 October 2009 - 1:33pm.

With all due respect to those commenter’s contention that their children shouldn’t be exposed to homosexuality because it’s against their religion, I counter that those of us tolerant of homosexuality shouldn’t have to submit to their religious beliefs being imposed on us. We are a democracy, not a theocracy. The same human rights should apply to homosexuals as they do to heterosexuals and other religious “pariahs” such as people in bi/multi-racial, mixed religion or broken marriages. Banning books is a symptom of an insecure and controlling society, and it never accomplishes its’ #1 purpose: the eradication of the thoughts expressed by the authors. If the word "gay" were never uttered, written or even whispered for 100 years, homosexuals would still exist.

Knowing a bit about being

Submitted by Sad without Solution on 6 October 2009 - 11:58am.

Knowing a bit about being raised conservatively, I sadly concede that some folks want the books banned because if we do not acknowledge reality, we're free to deny/avoid that reality. You know, a conversation stopper -- the simple way to avoid complex questions. Think about it, the process runs rampant in our society today -- denying sexual orientation, abstinence only policies, seemingly twisting every legitimate debate into a referendum and rejection of abortion, illegal immigrants, or the gays? Ahem, I digress...

Anyway, I don't have a solution. But I know the answer is not denial.

What a wonderful discussion

Submitted by Jennifer on 6 October 2009 - 11:30am.

What a wonderful discussion topic, although I am disheartened by so many negative comments. As a teacher in a Catholic school homosexuality can be a touchy subject, but what conservative Christians who preach that homosexuality is wrong based on their religious beliefs forget is that Jesus loved EVERYONE. That's what we teach children. We don't teach them that Jesus loves everyone... but you. If God created humanity then why would God create someone "wrong"? Your sexuality is not a choice, it's who you are.

I think it makes people

Submitted by Kamimyla on 6 October 2009 - 11:18am.

I think it makes people uncomfortable to teach about gay relationships because of our social, cultural, and religious upbringing. Also, simply because we are not equipped with the proper information. There is also fear that to accept it is to condone it as socially acceptable behavior of which it is not, at least not yet from our society's point of view. I personally could care less how people choose to live their lives, it is none of our business what they do in the comfort of their private homes. But I have seen gay parades, and I believe even for heterosexuals the idea of walking openly in the street with cowboy chaps wearing no jeans, with bare buttocks sticking out is not acceptable in any circumstance. What do you say when your child asks you, Mom, why is that man showing his butt in front of everyone? Even as a liberal, I have found myself wondering why is it so important to publicly display such lewd behavior, and why should we condone it just because we don't want to be seen as homophobic? I think it's the promiscuity which seems prevalent among the gay male culture that is a real turn-off. I have gay friends of other cultures who are themselves turned off by this behavior. Where are the boundaries, should their be any, why or why not. I am confused on the issue, and need further clarification and understanding as well as the next person.

If people are in a loving,

Submitted by GAA on 6 October 2009 - 11:41am.

If people are in a loving, non-violent relationship, why should others object if it is gay or lesbian or straight? I have a problem with media content that makes violence against anyone or anything ok. Why do we as a society get so caught up in our sexuality and not in the way we treat each other? Domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse, etc. why aren't these more of an issue than sexuality?