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

gay childrens' books are

Submitted by Anonymous on 29 September 2009 - 9:00am.

gay childrens' books are okay, if you want your kids to grow up gay. It justs depends if you have a problem with your kids ending up in the lifestyle that many homosexuals take, and last time I check, it's usually bad.

What a sad and pathetic

Submitted by MommyC on 29 September 2009 - 11:01am.

What a sad and pathetic response. Children do not grow up to be gay because they read gay books. If that were even remotely true, then it sould seem that homosexuality is in fact the default position and the only thing maintaining a heterosexual majority is a strict prohibition against acknowedging homosexuality.

I want my children to be happy and healthy. Whether that means they are gay or straight or bisexual or trangendered is of absolutely no consequence to me. What is of consequence is that my children understand that it's a big world and they're not alone in whatever their orientation.

Why aren't these books taught in school more often? Because of the very real fear of responses like anonymous' -- ignorant, fearful and loud.

I would have to agree with

Submitted by Anonymous on 27 October 2009 - 9:39am.

I would have to agree with you. Its of people like that children are afraid to come out and say that "I'm gay" they don't feel safe in this world. Parents need to accept there children as they come, but its sad that some parents stop talking to there kids or don't want to have anything to do with them if they are something other than straight.

Wow! I had a lot of gay

Submitted by Anonymous on 12 January 2010 - 2:41pm.

Wow! I had a lot of gay friends my entire life and read a variety of books. If the formula of gay books turn people gay then why am I a woman happily married to a man? Would reading a book about GLTB issues turn you gay? If so, maybe it isn't the book...

I feel that the reason we

Submitted by Candy on 4 September 2010 - 11:53am.

I feel that the reason we don't see more books like this in schools is that children do not need to grow up so fast and learn about ANY sexual orientation. Allow them to be innocent children for as long as we can keep them that way.

"Innocence" unfortunately is

Submitted by Tiffany on 9 October 2010 - 12:24am.

"Innocence" unfortunately is something which adults have created. Who's to say what innocence truly is? Only in the united states do we have such a view of innocence. Rather than keep them innocent and closeted and afraid of the world which surrounds them it is better to deal with the things kids will see, ask about, and be curious about. Are we trying to save their innocence or our own?

There's a difference between

Submitted by Edison T. Allere on 27 March 2011 - 5:57pm.

There's a difference between teaching kids about sex and teaching kids about tolerance. A kid doesn't have to know about sex to know about love. I assume that, like when I was growing up, I understood that my parents and my friends parents loved each other before I knew about sex, and that if I had a friend with a different family situation than my own (one parent, separated parents, gay parents, no parents but a grandparent/other relative, adopted, etc) my parents explained it to me and explained that it wasn't wrong and that I should be tolerant. If you had (or have) a child and they met a new friend at school who had two happily married (or civil union'd, or simply partnered) moms/dads, and your child asked about it, you don't have to explain all the ins and outs (pun not intended) about gay sex, all you need to say is "Sometimes boys love girls, sometimes girls love boys, sometimes girls love girls, and sometimes boys love boys, but all kinds of love are okay". Sex and love are intertwined, but can be seperated for the purposes of innocence.

Edison, thank you for this

Submitted by Elizabeth on 10 May 2011 - 7:51pm.

Edison, thank you for this beautiful, well-informed post. Your suggested,innocent words for parents or educators teaching or answering questions, are exactly what children need to hear that will give them a natural understanding of who makes up our human race.

For those of you who are not yet able or willing to embrace all people, I caution you with a strong reality: Be very careful how you describe others to your children. Your children, especially young ones, trust you and will believe what you say to be true. If he/she hear from you, his parent/guardian, that some members of our society live a life that God doesn't like, or that they are sinners, or not going to heaven, or are going to hell, God doesn't love them, Bible says how they live is wrong, or any number of hurtful words, he will take them to heart, tuck them away, and think about them everyday. As he grows and gets a little older, he starts to feel there's something different about himself...something you said was very, very bad. He waits long enough to know for sure. It's true, all of those horrible, ugly things he learned about from you...he is. And now he has to decide what he needs to do. I understand that many who have taught your children (at best) intolerance, or (at worst) hatred, are in complete denial that your child's life may not match your own. A dear, young member of my family attended a private church school for 12 years. For all those years he heard, not only from parents, but from church and school teachers/leaders all of the bad things he was. He never doubted for a minute it was all true. Hating himself; fearing hell; ashamed before God and his parents, he tried to take his own life. He survived, only to attempt suicide two more times. He is alive today, and, some years later, finally understands, loves and accepts himself; happy with a wonderful partner, whom I also love. The parents today...still think his life is "some kind of silliness, that he'll come out of it with enough prayer." Their relationship is strained and scarce.

I believe there may be at least one member of most families who is born of Homosexual orientation, rather than Heterosexual, and that it's always been that way.

I agree completley, this is

Submitted by Becky on 26 September 2011 - 2:51pm.

I agree completley, this is what I try to instill in my children as well, that people are different, and thats ok.

That's actually an

Submitted by Kat on 20 March 2012 - 9:56am.

That's actually an interesting point. Kids in elementary school often think that even heterosexual dating is gross. They believe that members of the opposite sex have cooties! Maybe we need to figure out at what age students begin to crush on members of the opposite sex and introduce homosexuality there. We wouldn't overemphasize either orientation. We could be like, "There's this, or there's that."

How is a book that shows two

Submitted by Jill on 18 November 2012 - 4:20am.

How is a book that shows two dads and a child, or two mothers and a child, any different than a mother and father and a child? This isn't teaching "sexual orientation," but family structure. If it is sexual orientation, then all books with a "couple" in it, by your standards, should be banned. I have children, and it is important to me that they learn to be loving, tolerant adults. I pray for them to one day be part of a society free from hate, intolerance, and fear. And in my experience, it is fear of the unknown that causes hate. Teaching alternative family structures can help our society greatly. We do not live in a cookie cutter world, God has made each an every one of us uniquely. Every time I hear about a young man taking his life for being bullied for being gay, it breaks my heart. My son isn't gay, but if he were, I wouldn't want him to experience what those other young men have gone through. Wouldn't you want your child, if they were gay, to be able to live in a world that accepts them for who they are?

Your response is sad,

Submitted by annie on 18 May 2011 - 9:19pm.

Your response is sad, pathetic and repulsive. I would rather home-school than the likes of your non-moral approach. I fear for parents that do not know what their precious children are being subjected to.

I fear for CHILDREN who are

Submitted by Jeremy Barger on 21 February 2012 - 2:12pm.

I fear for CHILDREN who are taught that being exposed to homosexual people is a horrible thing. They grow up to become people like you, which is very sad indeed.

I agree 100% with you...

Submitted by John Kroposky on 12 August 2011 - 10:27am.

I agree 100% with you... Since you are born gay, a book changes nothing. It just teaches children to accept all beings for who they are and to love all people no matter their differences. It's idiots like that poster that make gay teens kill themselves before ever knowing true love and acceptance... There should be more books and they should be read in all schools...

I couldn't agree more!

Submitted by CindyF on 15 March 2012 - 8:33am.

I couldn't agree more!

My son read "And Tango Makes

Submitted by Tim Lockette on 29 September 2009 - 11:17am.

My son read "And Tango Makes Three" at church. It didn't turn him into a penguin.

My son is six, and he hasn't declared a sexual orientation yet. Marrying a girl, marrying a boy -- neither seems to interest him much right now. His plan is to live with his parents forever, collecting toys and playing Wii.

I suspect he will change his mind on that plan in a few years. When he does, straight or gay, I hope he keeps Tango in mind, because it's a TRUE story, about the making of a family. It's a much healthier story than a lot of the fictional stories he'll encounter on the topic of relationships.

With luck, gay or straight, my son will wind up in a "lifestyle" like that of my friend Jeff Sapp. Here's a guy who is happily married, with a beautiful child and a great career as a mentor to future teachers. Another true story. Another great example for young people trying to learn how to live in this world.

If a story is true, and teaches a good lesson, why can't we share it with our children?

I think the reason why people

Submitted by Anonymous on 29 September 2009 - 12:54pm.

I think the reason why people get uncomfortable is because I was taught by my parents that homosexuality is wrong and that God does not approve of it. So it goes against my religious background to say that this is ok. So it would make people who are religious uncomfortable because they were taught it is wrong and they don't want to teach that to their kids. Shouldn't thier religious freedom be protected also? I am not saying you should not have these books or that they should not be written but if your mad that they don't agree with you, that is up to them, just like you don't agree with them. That is everyone's personal freedom.

Hello Anonymous. I am

Submitted by Shamrock on 23 November 2009 - 12:30am.

Hello Anonymous. I am saddened that your carefully presented point was meet with such animosity. Your point is valid and just. Too much was read into it and responded to in anger.
It is unfortunate that it is assumed that because one believes homosexuality is immoral and the Creator forbids it, that one is hateful and judgemental. It is also unfortunate that believing that God knows best for the beings He has created and forbids things for a reason, is perceived as archaic and phobic.
Truly, children should be taught to respect and accept all people. It is a diverse world to be sure. But in the areas of sexuality, rather than "normalizing" certain lifestyles perhaps an attitude of "informing" and sending them home to discuss with their family on what is their family's beliefs might well be a better approach. Guiding children to respect and honor their own parents beliefs first would be doing a great service to the family itself and to respecting parental rights.
That way there might truly remain a place in the "public" school system whereby people holding the above mentioned beliefs are not forced to compromise what they hold as truth.

My CREATOR is big enough to

Submitted by John on 11 May 2010 - 4:49pm.

My CREATOR is big enough to accept that my son's gayness makes him no less loved than his "straight" brothers.

Your son is Blessed to have

Submitted by Elizabeth on 10 May 2011 - 7:58pm.

Your son is Blessed to have such a loving Dad.

Perhaps you can explain this

Submitted by Katie on 13 September 2010 - 11:15pm.

Perhaps you can explain this to me. I was taught (in a religious school) that homosexuality was wrong. However I was also taught that when Jesus died for our sins, we entered into a new covenant with God (which is why most Christians do not restrict themselves to Kosher foods and circumcision is not a religious requirement). Therefore the law in the Old Testament which forbids homosexual relations applies no more than the prohibition on eating shellfish. You can't pick and choose.

Furthermore, if you could show me where in the New Testament homosexuality is condemned, I would still have to point to the words to Jesus, ""Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?" (Luke 6:41)

You spend so much time trying to do right by the vengeful God of the Old Testament, while proclaiming the loving God of the New Testament, that you fail to do right by Love.

The fact of the matter is

Submitted by Jeremy Barger on 21 February 2012 - 2:16pm.

The fact of the matter is that if this was really about religion, then people would be just as up in arms about people eating shellfish, working on the Sabbath, cursing parents, and any number of other things the bible condemns. No, this is obviously about something else. Some people are unwilling to change as society progresses and still feel uncomfortable with certain people who they feel are different than them. It's really that simple, and religion is just the tool many people use to try to justify their bigotry.

This approach does anger me

Submitted by Matt Young on 17 December 2013 - 11:41pm.

This approach does anger me though not because you and I disagree. I take issue with " Shouldn't thier religious freedom be protected also? ... if your mad that they don't agree with you, that is up to them, just like you don't agree with them. That is everyone's personal freedom" because, in this case, you are promoting the idea that homosexuality is inherently wrong. Although this is a religious belief, and therefore protected I am willing to grant you, not all beliefs are created equal; this one in particular, historically, at its worst, encourages unchristian acts by those inclined towards discrimination, harassment, and violence against our fellow human beings. At its best, this belief tells us to judge a person based on an intrinsic trait, in place of the content of his character. Why should we promote such a belief, and keep passing it down the generations?

What an awful generalization

Submitted by Anonymous on 29 September 2009 - 1:20pm.

What an awful generalization you're making. Last time I checked, being comfortable and happy with who you are is a GREAT thing. Being accepted for who you are (which you have no control over) should be a standard, not something you should have to fight for.

but that is the controversial

Submitted by Larry on 29 September 2009 - 3:10pm.

but that is the controversial element in it, is a lot of Christians feel that gay is a choice, not something they don't have control over. Im sorry if I offended you I was just trying to answer the question why people are unfomforable that is all.

i just re-read what I wrote

Submitted by Larry on 29 September 2009 - 3:19pm.

i just re-read what I wrote earlier and I did a typo, I meant to say that I am NOT saying that these books should not be read in the classroom or written. In other words, I am not against the books, or the people I just don't agree with them. that is all

Actually, that's not a typo

Submitted by footballcardsnatcher@yahoo.com on 7 April 2011 - 3:50pm.

Actually, that's not a typo ... it called a freudian slip.

I may have misunderstood a

Submitted by ESOL75 on 29 September 2009 - 4:13pm.

I may have misunderstood a statement: "...who you are (which you have no control over)..." If the aside is in reference to being accepted, I apologize in advance. What is the intent? Because I believe people do have control over who they are. It comes from taking responsibility for your actions. I believe that who you are dictates your actions, not vice versa. We live from the inside out. Who a person is on the inside is demonstrated to society by the choices they make and how they live. This is one reason why I agree with diversity in children's literature. Students should be exposed to the reality that not everyone is the same, so not everyone lives the same.

Its not that some of us who

Submitted by Anonymous on 6 October 2009 - 8:30pm.

Its not that some of us who are Christians don't understand that people are different. All through the old and new testament various peoples are discussed and addressed. The issue for many Christians is not that people are different, its that according to our scriptures, some differences are disapproved of by God. For example, several references can be found in scripture where any type of sexual relations outside of the union between a man and a woman is spoken aganist. It has nothing to do with who is violating God's laws, its that the violation is occuring. Its really no different for most Christians than the idea that stealing or murder is wrong.

To all who have posted on

Submitted by kimberly Courtney on 7 October 2009 - 8:57am.

To all who have posted on this blog I just want to say that ignorance to fact that hurting or judging people based on real or perceived differences is not what God would want. Maybe just maybe, people are different because we have to learn to be accepting of all people no mater what their orientation is in life. We are not to judge anyone, we are here to grow developmentally with time and expereince and to become loving to all people, not just the ones you have been taught to accept because this is what society or your religion tells you is normal. If what science says is true, then our sexual oreintation just might be determined before we are born. I work in the school systems and encounter many children who are taught to hate themselves because they are and feel different from what is presented to them by society as being normal. If it was a choice do you not think it would be easier to be heterosexual? Religion should not teach the hatred of any people of God because we are all one in the eyes of the Lord. TEACH means tollerance, empathy, acceptance, compassion and honesty. Lets see if we can all live by these words in the eyes of God and the world would be a better place to live in for all people. For thee who judge here on earth, they will make the path for which they will have to travel in order to make up for what they have done to others in this life in the next life. AMEN

God does not teach hate, and

Submitted by Tammy Breeden on 17 April 2010 - 10:38pm.

God does not teach hate, and just because a Christian does not approve of a homeasexual life style does not mean they are teaching their child to hate people who chose to be what they are. Remember we are to hate the sin, not the sinner. God loves us all but he does not love when we live out side of His will. The Bible is very clear that marriage is between a man and a woman. I can teach my children this with out teaching them to hate, and saying that people who chose to teach their children what the Bible says are hateful people is wrong too. You can make everyone think what you think no matter the topic. Man is sinful not God, we are all sinners in many ways must it takes the power of Christ to clean us.

I have no doubt that you,

Submitted by Richard Lavigueur on 14 May 2011 - 2:45pm.

I have no doubt that you, like many heterosexual Christians, believe that you may condemn what you call the homosexual lifestyle while at the same time, not preaching a doctrine of hatred. As a gay man, I can tell you that your explaination, like so many others, does not achieve this goal. By hating our "sin" of homosexuality, you hate US. We ARE homosexual, and bisexual, and transgendered, etc, and dismissing the findings of science and the deeply held identity of millions of people as a "lifestyle" does not change reality. The only choice that exists here is accepting the love that we each find in our own lives, or rejecting it. I have always believed that hating the sin, loving the sinner is far more about comforting the one passing judgement than about loving the judged. We do not need that kind of love, nor does it benefit us to recieve it from you.

I am not attempting to attack your religion. The reality is, if you teach your children that men who love men and women who love women are perverts who do not deserve the same recognition as others, you will not prevent them from being LGBT. Millions throughout history have been homosexual or bisexual despite such teachings. The cost of these teachings, though, should leave you cautious. Many youth who grow up with these lessons learn to hate themselves, and an unacceptable number take their own lives as a result.

If it's not alright to

Submitted by Tara Ronda (proudly un-anonymous) on 7 October 2009 - 9:10am.

If it's not alright to present the facts to children about the society in which they live, we are dooming them for failure. This issue is not just about civil rights or about "tolerance" (a word that I deeply despise because it implies that we are merely supposed to "tolerate" differences rather than accept that they exist and that they're okay). This issue is about helping children of all ages understand the world as it actually is and not how we IMAGINE it. Teaching is about objectively presenting information to students and then giving them the tools they need to think critically and make decisions based on their own feelings.

If we're not allowed to mention homosexuality in schools, then we shouldn't be allowed to mention heterosexuality or heck, anything to do with sexuality. We'll pretend that the Vlassic stork delivers babies to houses along with the pickles. Then one day, our kids will grow up and face the real world outside of the school-incubators we've created and they will be shell-shocked by what they find - their parents and teachers have lied to them their whole lives about what's really "out there."

I have a friend whose child has been educated in public schools all of her life. Now that the girl is in 5th grade and is being taught about reproduction (in an age-appropriate way), her mother has demanded that she be excused from health class. She was particularly incensed when a video depicting different types of families (including homosexual parents) was being showed in the classroom - the movie wasn't ABOUT homosexuality, but it normalized different types of families. She has also demanded that she be excused from history and science class because those subjects as they are taught in public school conflict with her religious beliefs. So we now have a child who is spending the majority of her day in an isolated study hall. She will know nothing about the way the world works or what has transpired throughout American history. She will know nothing about how her body works or how pregnancy or STDs happen. And even more sad is that she will have no social skills whatsoever - she will be shocked when she discovers there are gay and lesbian people in the world who (gasp!) actually are good people who raise families like everyone else.

It makes me sick. For years, families have demanded that schools act in loco parentis (in place of the parent) - schools must feed children breakfast and lunch, make sure their homework is done, teach them about things that they should be learning in the home. All because parents don't want to parent their children and want the school to take all the responsibility for raising the kids, but then they get angry when they give children a realistic view of what's out in the world. Make up your minds - if you don't want children to grow up knowledgeable about what is real and true, take them out of school and move to a compound where they never see the light of day.

Or to judge or criticize?

Submitted by Loribg on 12 October 2009 - 9:34am.

Or to judge or criticize? Aren't those thing that are spoken against in the new testament? Perhaps I'm getting it wrong....

I think the fundamental problem is that most of us are talking about a public education. As such, religion doesn't really have a place in the debate, or at least a foothold. If Christians, or other devout people's don't want their children to be exposed to other outside elements that may clash with their belief system, then they should enroll their children into an education system that is kosher (excuse the pun) with their own religious customs.

Additionally, as a responsible parent of a forthcoming member of society, wouldn't it be prudent to expose your children to these kinds of influences and talk to them about it rationally before they are thrust into a world with homosexuality in the mainstream media? Parents aren’t biologically designed to be in their child’s life forever, wouldn’t it make sense to talk about it before you die?

Last, it is a teacher’s and a parent’s job to prepare children to become adults. Thinking, critical, and responsible adults; adults who will know what to do with different situations thrown at them. Isn’t it a rather large gap in education not to address the topic of homosexuality? Unless you plan to live in a commune of some sort, you will be exposed to it in “the world.” Would you leave your children unarmed and ignorant of it until it is upon them?

I am a Christian, and I do

Submitted by Tammy Breeden on 17 April 2010 - 10:43pm.

I am a Christian, and I do send my children to a Christian School, but why can I not live in my country and be able to send my child to a public school, and not have other peoples sexual prefrence pushed upon them? Why must my rights be shortened because they are not popular? School is not the place to teach how should have sex with who.
And just to make a note of it, Christian schools do teach our children what the world or media teaches, and then they teach them what the Bible says, maybe you should work on being less judgemental as you expect Christians too.

Very well said. Thank you.

Submitted by Candy on 4 September 2010 - 12:00pm.

Very well said. Thank you.

Nobody's sexual preference is

Submitted by Katie on 13 September 2010 - 11:31pm.

Nobody's sexual preference is being "pushed upon" your children. They are being exposed to homosexuality in the same way that they are being exposed to heterosexuality, except to a much lesser extent, because the vast majority of media, and of children's books focus on hetero-normative families.

And it is not as if these books are addressing the subject of sexual relations. They may bring up homosexual families, but at that age, children aren't thinking about their parents having sex, regardless of the parents' (chosen? inborn?) sexual preference.

It seems as though most of the books described are actually about children who just don't fit into our pink and blue ideas about what they should enjoy.

Christian schools often do

Submitted by Jean on 11 January 2011 - 2:51pm.

Christian schools often do teach them both perspective, but most of the time ultimately stating that the christian doctrine is the only truth. What is the point of teaching something, if you are going to say yeah this exist, but it's false instead of letting the person decide for themselves.

What is true, and what is fiction?

I speak from experience raised in the church all my life, still gay.

This is where you are

Submitted by Anonymous on 6 October 2009 - 10:02pm.

This is where you are severely wrong. Regardless of what you may think. The biological theories brought forth have been dis-proved thus far. Homosexuality is a choice and many have chosen to 'come out' of that type of a risky life style, never to go back!

Firstly, it should say 'have

Submitted by Michael Jones on 5 July 2010 - 3:00pm.

Firstly, it should say 'have been disproveN', not 'dis-proved'.

Secondly, 1400 species of animals have been found to have homosexuals. DId they choose it? I think not.

Thridly, your assertion that it's a choice shows just how ignorant you are. Because why would we choose it? Is it the bullying? The loneliness? The self-loathing? The inequality, the gay bashing, or the threats of Hell? If there were a choice, (Which there isn't.) who would choose homosexuality? I wouldn't have...although now I wouldn't choose not to be.

"Secondly, 1400 species of

Submitted by glen b on 15 July 2010 - 11:00am.

"Secondly, 1400 species of animals have been found to have homosexuals. DId they choose it? I think not."

They are animals, not humans. We all have animal instincts but as humans we restrain some of those instincts. Like my instinct to say sarcastic things about how you corrected the previous persons grammar.

People who are gay don't choose the internal feelings. It's the actions Christians refer to as wrong.

So again, a person who has

Submitted by Jenx Byron on 28 March 2011 - 6:45pm.

So again, a person who has not chosen to be gay, but is, must choose to be celibate and alone to live a Godly life? I don't understand how a God you folks claim loves everyone would want that for His children. I also cannot fathom a being of unimaginable power and knowledge being a petty little peeping tom, nit-picking about what happens in their bedrooms.

Michael, it actually is

Submitted by JetsonJenny on 16 October 2011 - 11:32am.

Michael, it actually is "disproved".....and before you try to correct someone else's grammatical errors, maybe you should re-read your own post. You wrote "1400 species of animals have been found to have homosexuals" what exactly were you trying to say? They "have" homosexual offspring? or....what? Michael, it is your own ignorance that is showing, since scientific studies have found no link that homosexuality is anything but a choice. In truth, no scientific evidence has been able to prove that homosexuality is genetic, since "a specific gene has not yet been isolated" and "DNA markers have not been detected". Of coarse, if you choose to believe that homosexuality is genetic, you help promote the notion that gayness is a "defect" in need of "fixing." You have CHOSEN to live that lifestyle, but it can be "fixed" by accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, and asking for His help.

I don't know what you've been

Submitted by Emma on 16 September 2011 - 10:06pm.

I don't know what you've been reading, but there is a massive variety of studies with evidence that homosexuality is genetic or inborn. For instance, often when one identical twin is gay, the other is as well (even when raised in separate households). Many species other than humans have gay families and couples. And why would anyone "choose" to be gay with all the ignorance and lack of respect they-- scratch that-- we endure.
Also, on the matter of teaching about homosexuality in public schools-- you can't teach that God forbids homosexuality in a public school. Separation of church and state, freedom of religion-- any of this ringing a bell? Although sex-ed is not nationally required, it should be taught at the middle and high school levels. If kids don't know a) about homosexuality, they may not have the vocabulary to describe or accept the feelings they begin to experience during or before puberty, or b) about sex in general, they won't know about SAFE sex and how to prevent pregnancy and the spread of STDs (And by the way, if you teach teenagers abstinence is the only way to protect themselves, they often just go ahead and have sex anyway-- just in a way that often leads to pregnancy and STDs). Teens have raging hormones and they need to understand the new and confusing feelings they experience!
Oh, one last thing-- on the topic of gay marriage. You can prevent gay marriage in religious establishments as much as you want (once again, separation of church and state), but the rights granted to LEGALLY married couples are never mentioned in the Bible! Does it say anything about joint health insurance in the Book of John? I think not! And does state law say anything about couples being "blessed before God"? Not a word as I can recall.

Signed,
A healthy, happy, well-informed, agnostic, gay 13-year-old (who, by the way, has read the Old and New Testaments as well as the Qua'an-- in return, maybe you could pick up the Science Times once in a while and get your facts straight)

Go you! As a teacher, I dream

Submitted by Stacy Fox on 16 February 2012 - 5:38pm.

Go you! As a teacher, I dream of having more students like you!

You're thirteen?! Wow! I'm

Submitted by Kat on 20 March 2012 - 10:06am.

You're thirteen?! Wow! I'm twenty, and you sound incredibly well-informed! I do hope that you have friends and family who accept you.

Amen. EVERYONE should learn

Submitted by Mrs. Vladimirova on 10 February 2010 - 4:40pm.

Amen. EVERYONE should learn to love who they are and accept others exactly as they are. That is the concept of tolerance. It is the only way we will create a peaceful world without war and hatred. We are all brothers and sisters. Embrace it! Feel the love!

my god! unbelievable. how

Submitted by Anonymous on 30 September 2009 - 6:14pm.

my god! unbelievable. how could you think for one moment that just because children read books about the homosexual lifestyle that theyll grow up to be gay. yes, the books may have an impact on them, and maybe they will grow up to be gay, but that is not for the books to decide. or you. i have a child on the way and i happen to not give a crap what orientation he/she is as long as theyre happy. if i have a boy and he wants to be a dancer, or have a doll, well so be it! and if my daughter is a lesbian and she wants to have g.i joes instead of barbies, or have her hair cut short, or dress differently, i wont care, its her life and shes's free to do with it what she wants.

because all gay people today

Submitted by Anonymous on 30 September 2009 - 7:38pm.

because all gay people today were born to gay parents and because they read books about gay people? yup. that sure makes sense to me.

Research by APA or the

Submitted by Dr. Gabriel Flores, Ed.D. on 6 October 2009 - 12:05pm.

Research by APA or the American Psychological Association has found that being brought up by a gay family or reading gay themed books DOES NOT make one gay. That is a myth and ignorance.

I am very saddened to see a

Submitted by RMS on 6 October 2009 - 12:11pm.

I am very saddened to see a response like this on a website based on tolerance. I think you are missing the whole point here. It is not our place to judge anyone else's lifestyle.

You are right, it is not our

Submitted by Anonymous on 19 October 2009 - 8:54am.

You are right, it is not our place to judge anyone's lifestyle. I am a christian and believe that homosexuality is unacceptable to God and goes against the teachings in the Bible. With that said, it is my job as a christian to guide one back to a closer walk with God and help them realize that their actions are a sin. We all sin and are imperfect as humans but we need to care for each other in the way that God would care for us. Sometimes that means confronting someone or something you believe is wrong. I would hope that if I were to "stray from the path," someone would hold me accountable. We can love the person just as God would but disagree with their behavior and actions.

hah - the Christian office I

Submitted by Karen on 3 November 2009 - 5:52pm.

hah - the Christian office I work in teaches that GOD LOVES all hetero. & LGBTQI people unconditionally. God is omniscient enough to love all the people God creates. God is even omniscient enough to love and nurture all the people whom people can't love.

BTW, there's 10x as many rules in the Bible for hetero conduct requirements ... because apparently it's 'straights' who need the most behavior guidance.

P.S. If you think "gay" is choice, then you haven't been paying attention during the occasions when you have spent time around LGBTQI persons. We cannot have an accurate understanding about anyone if we don't spend the time to know them. Without that, we are simply lazy -- not informed. And certainly not tolerant.

The answers to your questions

Submitted by mrs. i on 6 October 2009 - 1:03pm.

The answers to your questions are multifaceted and often cloaked in misunderstanding. Thank you for asking them in such a thoughtful manner. Please continue asking. Perhaps it may lead to understanding and thoughtful answers, rather than fear driven responses.

Can you truly be this

Submitted by Anonymous on 6 October 2009 - 1:17pm.

Can you truly be this ignorant? So according to your argument, if a child reads about zoo animals, then he will want to be one when he grows up? Or if he reads about a thief then he will desire to be a thief himself someday? I suggest you actually open up a book period- and attempt to read it. Perhaps if people like you opened their eyes, educated themselves and stopped being so ignorantly judgemental, the world would be a much safer place.

I grew up gay without ever

Submitted by Anonymous on 10 October 2009 - 1:30pm.

I grew up gay without ever reading a gay book, nor was I molested. When a person reads a book that discusses a diverse lifestyle than their own, it only broadens their horizon on the diversity of life. The main idea that any children's book should focus on is the importance of loving another human being, regardless of sex, religion, economic status or the fictious word "race", (there is only one race= the human race). Our children are taught to hate and discriminate for one reason or another. We should focus more on loving and respecting each other for their hearts and their actions. People preach about positive and actively conduct themselves in negative mannerisms. Action speaks louder than words. Thus, I love books that focus on kindness, respect, honesty, friendship, love and peace. These are the virtues our children should have, they are our future leaders.

Books don't make you gay,

Submitted by GayTeenInSC on 16 October 2009 - 11:07pm.

Books don't make you gay, being gay isn't something that just happens, it's something your born with and it's not something people just wake up one day and decide they want to be.

This is true. Also, you don't

Submitted by Anonymous on 23 November 2009 - 4:06pm.

This is true. Also, you don't just wake up one day and say
"Well, today I think I'll be gay" it doesn't work like that. You are either gay or you aren't. It's not a choice.

if this is truly the way you

Submitted by Anonymous on 20 October 2009 - 10:41pm.

if this is truly the way you feel, then i hope you're not a teacher, as you are doing anything but 'teaching tolerance' through this opinion. i hope that before you continue to teach ignorance and hate, you educate yourself. to say that the "lifestyle that many homosexuals take" is "usually bad" is like saying that the lifestyle of people who have freckles is bad. i'm intrigued, however, as to why you haven't lumped all gay people into your ridiculous statement, but instead suggested that only some ("many") have this "bad" lifestyle. what constitutes a "good gay" or a "bad gay" in your opinion?

I'm a 15 year old who's grown

Submitted by Anonymous on 22 October 2009 - 11:22am.

I'm a 15 year old who's grown up with gay books not only in my local and school library, but in my own personal collection as well. These books have not forced a certain orientation upon me in the slightest. They have taught me life lessons of tolerance, friendship, and love. Schools often have a mission statement that proclaims that it accepts differences in children and fellow beings. My old school's chant said, "Everyone is different, and that's okay!". If we are to stay true to this statement, how do you propose isolating a whole group of children?

A gay lifestyle is just as good or bad as the next man or woman. They love each other, respect each other, and have a better understanding of tolerance. Our world could only be improved by gay lifestyles.

And just a side note, banning books on subjects that interest children will only lead to illiteracy, and illiteracy leads to ignorance.

What an odd response for

Submitted by Anonymous on 2 December 2009 - 1:45pm.

What an odd response for someone that is reading "teaching tolerance". Books don't make you gay. And there are gay people that have good lives. Usually the gay people who have the love and support of family and friends. I know lots and lots of people in "straight" relationships that are pretty bad too...and those people often don't have the love and support of family and friends either.

Kids can't end up gay because

Submitted by Anonymous on 2 February 2010 - 10:12pm.

Kids can't end up gay because they are educated about gay parents and families. Most often, this type of ignorance you seem to adhere to leads young and confused kids to commit suicide because they don't grow up learning the realities of our society in an educated manner. Being gay is not a choice; if it was I can guarantee people would not chose a life of persecution from ignorant and intolerant people like yourself. If you have kids, don't put it passed you that they may be gay- they may not know it until they are married with children and miserable without knowing why.

Reading children books with

Submitted by sam on 30 March 2010 - 8:08pm.

Reading children books with "gay themes" does not "turn" a child gay. you cant make someone prefer one sex over another at all, let alone from reading an animated childrens book. thats crazy. thoes books are written to raise homosexual awarness and encourage a more open-minded generation. NOT to brainwash kids... that doesn't even make sense.

I am glad you made that last

Submitted by Kathleen on 19 September 2010 - 7:17pm.

I am glad you made that last comment, because it gives us a chance to talk about this subject. Books about gays do not make someone gay, anymore than books about heterosexuals have that effect on gay people or books on broccoli make some people like that vegetable.

It's not a lifestyle. It's

Submitted by C. Jones on 4 January 2011 - 4:15pm.

It's not a lifestyle. It's our life.

I think that is a bit much

Submitted by Anonyoumous on 17 May 2011 - 7:24pm.

I think that is a bit much considering that you don't even understand the concept of "What is Gay" and "What is Straight" you could be gay for all you know. Beside, do you really believe that a book will make a child gay, seriously? Or are you just insensitive.

And ... how come reading

Submitted by danya on 9 June 2011 - 2:07pm.

And ... how come reading straight books all their childhood didn't make our country's several million gays turn out straight? Is straight so fragile? or unnatural? Or is there a spectrum
of diverse forms in all God's creations?

It sounds as though you

Submitted by lesley annesley on 6 September 2011 - 3:34pm.

It sounds as though you haven't had the experience of being a parent of a gay kid!I can speak for my great son who didn't have it easy and struggled with feeling different. I've never saw difference as a pronlem only another chance to see how much I can truly love a person for who they are on the inside. My son is the most loving gentle person one could meet along with many other gay folks. If books about being gay are helping to create unity than division I'm all for them!

I have a friend with a 4 and

Submitted by Curtis Woodworth on 8 July 2012 - 1:54pm.

I have a friend with a 4 and 5 year old daughter and she would like some age appropriate books to read to her daughter or better yet that her daughter could read on gay families or gay/lesbian kids (age appropriate) of course.

Any recommendations??

Really?????? My pastor refers

Submitted by Linda and Larry States on 15 December 2012 - 12:26pm.

Really?????? My pastor refers to this type of ignorance as "Willful Ignorance". And in your case it applies. If you were educated in knowing what gay is then you might understand that you can not decide to be gay anymore than you can decide to be straight. By the way... when did you become straight?

Your statement is just

Submitted by Tia on 29 September 2013 - 2:27pm.

Your statement is just incorrect. Nobody told me anything about homosexuality at all, no books, no discussions, nothing, and I still realized at a very young age that I was not like my parents. And my lifestyle is great, thanks. Awful people have been the only complication.

Oh my God, how can someone be

Submitted by Vee on 1 December 2013 - 6:56am.

Oh my God, how can someone be so homophobic, ignorant, and moronic? I actually want to cry that someone like you still has such "traditional" views on homosexuality. Straight people create gay babies, you ignoramus.

For the record, reading about

Submitted by K.M. on 29 September 2009 - 10:48am.

For the record, reading about a gay person doesn't make you gay just like me reading a book about a kangaroo won't make me one. I think these books are necessary to expose children to the diversity that has become our society. That way, when they hit adolescence, they will have an awareness of different experiences. It's that kind of ignorance that displays the homophobia that America still needs to overcome. Being gay isn't a disease--you can't catch it.

I think the reason it makes

Submitted by Larry on 29 September 2009 - 1:08pm.

I think the reason it makes people uncomfortable is that for example I was raised that homosexuality is wrong and God does not approve of it. People don't want to teach their kids something that they believe is wrong. I am not saying that you these books should not be written or read, but if you are upset about how they feel that is probably why. Everyone, especially in this day and age believes something different about God, but everyone's religious rights are and should be protected. I have to be honest it would make me uncomfortable to teach my child that homosexuality is ok. I know a lot of people believe it is ok and that is great for them, but I however have no clue weather it is or not, that is why it makes me uncomfortable. It is when someone tries to force thier way of thinking of you that you don't like it, right? nobody is comfortable with that no matter who they are.

I also believe religious

Submitted by MommyC on 29 September 2009 - 2:14pm.

I also believe religious freedom is important and if you want to teach your children that homosexuality is wrong, that is your right as a parent. However, presenting books like And Tango Makes Three doesn't necessitate making a sexuality-based value lesson.

There are homosexual people in the world. Many of them are raising children. It's not for the teacher to tell the students that is a good or a bad thing. It's just a reality. I think even if you don't embrace homosexuality, you ought to at least want your children to have respect for people who believe and live differently. Forget about the books -- what if there is a gay parent in your class? Kids talk. Are children of same-sex parents going to be forced to keep their family a secret just so parents who disagree with homosexuality can avoid the discussion at home?

What is the difference

Submitted by Anna G on 29 September 2009 - 3:58pm.

What is the difference between having a book about a child with two mommies or having a book about a different nationality. It’s just a different lifestyle. Italians, African Americans, Jews, Native Americans, ect have different traditions and ways of life. So religion has taught people that being gay is wrong. Its time to step outside the box and learn that GOD loves everyone and it is wrong to pass judgment (per the bible). Reading a child a book about gay individuals is showing children that its okay to be who you are and if you have two parents of the same sex here is something you can relate to. Everyone is special. Thinking that your child will become homosexual because you read them a book is insane. Its about excepting peoples differences and teaching your child not to HATE.

I agree that parents can and

Submitted by Cassie C on 29 September 2009 - 4:34pm.

I agree that parents can and should be allowed to teach their children according to their own religious beliefs. If a parent objects to a teacher reading a book that offends personal beliefs, that individual has the right to take her/his/zyr child out of the classroom for the offending storytime. That being said, public schools serve everyone, and they are obligated to teach certain government-sanctioned, hopefully innocuous values like respect for others and an appreciation for various experiences. Children have a right to know that various kinds of families exist, and they especially have the right to see families like theirs represented. The earlier children are taught to love and celebrate differences, the more natural this attitude becomes. A personal favorite of mine that dear old Uncle Jeff showed me is "Pug Dog," about a 'girl' dog who feels and acts like a boy dog. I was reminded of it when a friend of mine who is majoring in Elementary Education found it at the College library. We rejoiced together.

I am both a parent of a

Submitted by Teri on 29 September 2009 - 6:01pm.

I am both a parent of a middle schooler and an elementary student as well as a teacher in middle school. And I am a lesbian. What is imperative, I believe, is for teachers to have the academic freedom to decide what their students need to promote acceptance of diversity. I want my children to feel accepted and to have their family be accepted. I want my children to know that they do not have to hide the fact that they have two moms and a gay dad. We are lucky because we live in a community where our family is not an issue.

I want my gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students to know that school is a safe place for them. LGBT kids are at-risk kids--with a higher than average suicide rate, runaway rate, drug use rate. Why? Not because it's the "gay lifestyle," but because our LGBT youth don't know where to go, who to turn to, don't ever see their reality, their feelings, and thoughts reflected back to them in the curriculum, in their schools, and certainly at home. I hope that those people who have responded negatively to gay people here would act differently if one of their children or a student came out to them.

Will And Tango Makes Three save a kid from suicide? I don't know. But I do know that hearing a story that somehow connects to their own reality makes a huge difference for the kid. That teacher has automatically made it known that his or her classroom has an open door.

Just a housekeeping note to

Submitted by Annah on 29 September 2009 - 1:47pm.

Just a housekeeping note to keep the discussion flowing: We allow people to post as "Anonymous," but the back and forth might get confusing with more than one "Anonymous.

Remember, this is YOUR place to express your opinions through a fun yet intellectual dialogue. I suggest choosing a username that, while keeping your true identity veiled, reflects something about your favorite cause or issue affecting the Tolerance community.

Most importantly, have fun but remember to always be tolerant of others yourself.

A minor correction... Jeff's

Submitted by Tim Lockette on 29 September 2009 - 2:09pm.

A minor correction... Jeff's class copy of "William's Doll" was probably printed in 1985. But the FIRST edition of the book was actually published in 1972. In fact, "William's Doll" was the source for one of the sequences in the classic TV special "Free to Be... You and Me" This first aired on ABC in 1974 -- 35 years ago. Isn't it time we welcomed William and his doll into the classroom?

Number one, I don't recall

Submitted by Chuck Winster on 29 September 2009 - 3:54pm.

Number one, I don't recall Williams doll implying his sexuality. Second, you can't compare reading about homosexuality to your kids to being a penguin, people! And third, you just can't have gay content in kids books! Even if they're in a straight relationship, you just can't have any of that type of content in stuff like that. Yes, we have to learn to tolerate people who are different than us (that's what this site is for), but Having books like these floating around in libraries is not something you want as a hazard for parents who prefer to teach their kids conservatively. And four, you can't really teach your kids (safely) about being gay using a book. Because what happens if it ends up being their favorite book? Some parents may want their kids to explore different forms of sexuality (how could I have said that) so If they do have books like these, please keep it in the restricted section.

Chuck, what message would it

Submitted by Jennifer on 1 October 2009 - 3:34pm.

Chuck, what message would it send to students who have two parents of the same-sex that books portraying families like theirs are in a "restricted" section? We are charged with caring for all of our students, not shunning or stigmatizing them. Aren't we?

"Having books like these

Submitted by Children's Librarian on 6 October 2009 - 12:05pm.

"Having books like these floating around in libraries is not something you want as a hazard for parents who prefer to teach their kids conservatively"

Chuck,
As a children's librarian, let me point out a bone of contention that many librarians have with parents like you. It is not anyone else's job but yours to make sure that what your child is reading is ok with you. This means that if you don't want your child to encounter particular types of books in the library, make sure you are with your child at all times and choosing his/her books for them. In doing this, you will also limit your child's ability to make decisions for him/herself or think critically.

It is not your job to tell the rest of the community what is ok and not ok to be in THEIR public library.

Any book that shows a

Submitted by Anonymous on 6 October 2009 - 1:07pm.

Any book that shows a traditional family (female mom, male dad) teaches heterosexuality. These books don't teach sexual acts, they show a type of family and sexuality. No one is advocating teaching children about gay sex. They are teaching kids that there are all types of relationships. I can't believe that there are any religions that would advocate shunning or hating other groups. Without teaching our children that they should at the very LEAST tolerate differences, we are all teaching them to judge and hate.

Yes, we all have personal

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

Yes, we all have personal beliefs that are not appropriate to boast in the school setting. Understanding and respect for all people is something to be valued. If we do not share these qualities with our students and teach them to be understanding and respectful, what kind of citizens are we training them to be? All types of people should be fairly represented at school. We all fear what we do not understand. If all types of families are not represented at school, we will only find that our children will be ignorant and fearful of this diversity.

Also, I would genuinely like to know why (some?)Christians are against homosexuality and believe it to be wrong? I know the Bible says it is wrong, but there are many many things the Bible asks us not to do that we actively engage in every day without feeling we are sinning.

I’m not usually compelled to

Submitted by Tim on 7 October 2009 - 10:28pm.

I’m not usually compelled to respond to discussion logs such as this, but I was confused by the reasoning in Chuck’s response and thought maybe I might offer some personal insight.

First of all, Chuck I get that these discussions tend to be heated; I get where you are coming from and understand that you don’t agree with homosexual relationships. So with what I’m about to say is not an attack on you but just some insight from a high school teacher. And not that it matters but I’m as straight as an arrow and a Republican.

I can attest to the fact that homosexual teens experience more feelings of depression and fear for simply feeling “different.” Kids want more than anything to fit-in; all kids. I just got a letter from a student that told me making the yearbook staff was the greatest moment of his life because he felt accepted. He said that he has hated school since the fourth grade. He has not identified himself as either gay, or straight. That’s not the issue. The issue is, he wants to fit in. So, how does this translate into discussing homosexuality?

When Prop 8 came out (no pun intended) last year, my students were up in arms. Some were opposed (for gay marriage) but most were supportive of the proposition (against gay marriage). As a teacher it was impossible not to discuss the issue. Not because I’m a super liberal teacher, but because kids were arguing non-stop and were arguing (yelling) not debating or discussing. So we decided to do a little pro con exercise.

One of my African-American students said that homosexual people did not deserve the right to get married because they would stand-out too much and homosexuality was wrong. I asked if it was alright for people to date or marry interracially. Everyone seemed to agree that this idea was acceptable. I then pointed out that just a few decades ago the marriage of interracial couples was illegal. The African American student’s mother is dating a white man. This opened the discussion to Civil Rights issues and the separation between church and state.

Here is where your comments on the books come into play:

If you kids read these books, they will ask you questions. You can teach them your beliefs. I would hope that even though you disagree with homosexuality, you would encourage your kids to follow the golden rule, and treat people the way they would want to be treated. The books will serve as a discussion starter between you and your children. Kids talk. I heard my first gay joke in the fourth grade. That joke made me ask my mom questions. (It was the joke about a condom floating to the top of the water in a spa) Do you think it was easy from my mom to explain the punch line of that joke to her fourth grader? Wouldn’t be a lot easier to open a dialogue with your kids about homosexuality through penguins?

As a lesbian, is it my duty

Submitted by Stacy Fox on 16 February 2012 - 5:52pm.

As a lesbian, is it my duty to society, then, to hide myself? To not be seen in public with my partner so your children won't be exposed to me & my kind?

You would never ask me to do this, would you? (I am guessing not...)

Then how can you suggest that books aknowledging my existance as a normal human being be hidden from children?

If I was raised in a racist household, do I have the right to demand that literature presening people of other races as equal be limited to a restricted section?

20 years from now (hopefully much much sooner) people will look back on conversations like these with surprise that so many were willing to denounce, deny, and limit the rights of a group of people so blatantly without apology.

What I think is most

Submitted by Lacey on 29 September 2009 - 3:54pm.

What I think is most interesting about And Tango Makes Three is that it is the author's interpretation of a true story. In fact, there are many true stories of penguins joining same sex relationships that flourish (in whatever way penguin relationships flourish). We had a fiasco about Tango a few years ago in Charlotte, and many parents lamented how the book sought to "normalize" homosexuality. But the joke is on them, because these penguins were, by all accounts, normal. They had not read books on homosexuality, or been exposed to the "deviancy" of the lifestyle...they were just being penguins. In regards to the banned books, I think there are two things at work here. In the case of books with "gay themes" I think it's extremely difficult for parents to understand that gay does not equal sex. I think that this perception is the chief source of discomfort. We must work to eradicate this stereotype about the LGBT community. In the case of gender identity, i do think that people are genuinely afraid that if we teach our kids to be critical thinkers and to question authority -such as exchanging a ball for a doll- that the world will turn upside down and Armageddon will come. Or that their kids will turn gay.

My dream is that school will

Submitted by William on 29 September 2009 - 4:22pm.

My dream is that school will become a place where all people can find their way in the world. Who we include and do not include sends powerful messages to our children about their worth and about the possibilities of their lives. Thank you Jeff for the great recommendations. I dream of a day where our gay and lesbian kids are not only safe in school, but truly can see all the gifts and possibilities of their lives. Jeff's recommended books are one small step in ensuring this takes place.

Please help me out here

Submitted by Shamrock on 23 November 2009 - 12:05am.

Please help me out here people. I am trying to carefully read and consider the many, many, themes and concepts expressed. I am sorting through a tidal wave of passionately held beliefs and perspectives. One issue keeps raising a questions for me.
When did young childrens' gender identity suddenly become an issue that somehow needs to be addressed? They are children!!! What are the statistic and findings on actually knowing at a prepubecent age if a child is gay? When did we throw out the influences of environment, parental guidance, cultural identities, and moral conscience on the way a child will go in their sexual identity?

I know that this comment is

Submitted by amf on 5 April 2011 - 1:19am.

I know that this comment is years after the post, but oh well.
The fact is that some children do begin to develop an understanding of their own sexuality at an early age. And whether it is straight, gay, or bi, they need to know that being different is perfectly okay. I am studying to be a primary teacher at this moment and the hardest thing for me to do is teach children about a subject but not actually give an opinion. Children need to know about these subjects, no matter how contriversial because it is a part of life. They are bound to be confronted with this in someway and learning about these issues at an early age, when they are already observing it in everyday life and have questions pouring out their ears, will help children adapt to the differences in society. And if a child realises that they are homosexual they will know that it is just another part of life. It is no big deal and there are people out there who can help if they need it. Also, if a child grows up to be straight, they are more open to these relationships, or at least more knowledgeable about it and this will hopefully lower bullying and discrimination against people of a differing sexuality.
Another point is that children can comprehend a lot more than what you might imagine. There is a documentary called 'It's Elementary' which explores teaching homosexuality in primary schools. I recomend watching it as the discussions that these children have, as young as grade one and two, are just fantastic!!!!

I am a mother of two and also

Submitted by Zonkerette on 29 September 2009 - 7:53pm.

I am a mother of two and also a children's librarian at an urban public library. Our juvenile collection has all the books that Jeff Sapp mentions, plus some others. None of them were in the collection when I took the job five years ago, although the library did have Heather Has Two Mommies and Daddy's Roommate. I really wish that there were even MORE well-written and well-illustrated books that address these issues in a natural way. I particularly love The Family Book by Todd Parr because is so wonderfully accepting of all kinds of families without making a big deal out of it. Sadly, I have had to replace The Family Book a few times already, either because it went missing or someone scribbled on the page that mentions that some families have two moms or two dads. I'll do whatever it takes to keep these kinds of books in our collection and continue adding them when good ones come along.

Children are not born with prejudices. They inherit them from their parents. I hope that some day the cycle of intolerance will be broken. We're getting closer but we still have a ways to go.

i dont understand why we, as

Submitted by Anonymous on 30 September 2009 - 6:05pm.

i dont understand why we, as people, are always being taught to embrace diversity, and then books like And Tango make Three come along, and all of the sudden parents are like, "oh no no no, my children cant know that there can be love within sexes, or that even penguins can have a loving family with two fathers.

I think the issue here is

Submitted by GSA Horray! on 30 September 2009 - 11:12pm.

I think the issue here is that people don't talk about it enough. I turn red every time I talk about sex, even to my husband, it was just something growing up we didn't talk about. Yet I was the one who had a child at 17. I would not trade my daughter for anything in the world!! But who knows if that would have been the case had my mom been more open about sexual relations with me. Sexual abuse was another thing we didn't talk about, and the cycle has occured through my mom, me, and my sister. It ends with me because I will talk to my daughter about it. Homophobia is the same thing. People are iggnorant and unaware. There isn't enough talk about it because it's one of those things that has been kept hush hush for so long. Schools tend to leave it up to parents to do the talking, about all issues. But I think when it comes to tolerance, and the well being of the students the school needs to take responsibility as well. As stated in a previous post, kids are not born with hate they learn it. So we teach them the opposite. It's a battle, and it is a hard one, but nothing worth fighting for has ever been easy. I say it's all of our responsibility to be open and honest from the get go. Praise people who are "open" not because they are GLTB or some other, but because they are people who accomplish great things, who make wonderful parents, and good role models! I think people hate these books because it either voices something they never had the guts to voice, it voices something that hits to close to home for them to admit, or it is pushing a change that blind discrimination is telling them shouldn't be happening. Thanks for the titles, I will read these books to my kiddo!!

Do people really think that

Submitted by Crystal on 5 October 2009 - 3:25pm.

Do people really think that books will make kids 'turn out' any special way? I mean, lets all be honest here. How many books have you read? Are you just like those characters? I can't even begin to make sence of your reply, it's just.... Most people, regardless of sexual orientation, just want to be respected. That is what those books do, they help break down walls. And what if your child WAS gay? Would you want them to grow up unsure and unhappy, trying to be someone they can never be? Or would you want them to grow up knowing that no matter what, their parents love them for who they are?

My child (a 15 year old

Submitted by Equality For Everyone on 6 October 2009 - 11:58am.

My child (a 15 year old Sophomore) has, at this point in his life, chosen an alternative lifestyle. For a while he thought he might be bi-sexual, but as he has matured (we have been going through this for a while now) he has decided he is gay. I love my son. I know he has chosen a hard road, but he has support in the GSA group on campus, some teachers he has found and a great Dr. that has the same lifestyle and has been helpful in discussing some of the bigger issues that come with this decision. He has read a great series for teens: Rainbow High Series by Alex Sanchez. I would never limit his reading of any topic as long as it was age appropriate and I don't worry about his little brother being influenced in his sexuality one way or the other. Kids will grow into who they are and we as adults and educators are simply guides along the way.

This theology is ludicrous!

Submitted by Anonymous on 6 October 2009 - 10:07pm.

This theology is ludicrous! Did you allow your child to decide not to brush his teeth when he was a young boy as well? Try reading Freud's Psychodynamic theory on homosexuality. Somewhere along the line you son developed a fixation during childhood. The good news is, cases upon cases of research show that people 'come out' of this type of disturbing lifestyle on a daily basis, never going back!

Thank you for being

Submitted by Bill in D.C. on 21 January 2010 - 3:55pm.

Thank you for being supportive of your son. It's the right thing to do. Being gay isn't a choice or a "lifestyle." It's what he "is." It's an essential part of his nature. Please do not listen to this weird, hateful reply to your note. Freud is not exactly state of the art psychiatry (and actually he was relatively supportive of gay people). Very few people who accept their homosexuality end up changing their minds. Many of the anti-gay so-called reparative groups (it's not therapy) have done serious damage to people. In one famous example, the founders of Exodus, one of the anti-gay groups, fell in love with each other and left the group. So please ignore this. Support your son.

I have a great response. You

Submitted by Dr. Gabriel Flores, Ed.D. on 6 October 2009 - 12:04pm.

I have a great response. You asked why do people have discomfort when reading these children's books. My research for my dissertation dealt with this very issue. I interviewed "teachers" to ask what are the hindrances in teaching gay-themed literature in the classroom and the following was found:
"Teachers described the obstacles they believed teachers faced when implementing gay-themed children’s literature in the elementary classroom as part of a balanced multicultural education. The results suggested that parental concerns, personal beliefs, a lack of training, a child’s young age, religion or the right-wing movement, administration, personal discomfort, and a lack of time in school schedules were obstacles to the implementation of gay-themed literature in the elementary classroom. In addition, teachers were asked if their school administration and local school district supported or hindered the implementation of gay-themed children’s literature. The results suggested that most teachers did not know whether the school district supported the inclusion of gay-themed children’s literature. Some teachers suggested that the district’s silence promoted a Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy about the topic, while other teachers mentioned that if they did include gay themes, no problems would arise in doing so."

Dr. Gabriel Flores, Ed.D.

Dr. Flores: How might we all

Submitted by Jeff Sapp on 7 October 2009 - 10:24am.

Dr. Flores:

How might we all access your research?

http://gradworks.umi.com/33/7

Submitted by b on 4 November 2010 - 1:40pm.

http://gradworks.umi.com/33/70/3370947.html

I think it makes people

Submitted by Kamimyla on 6 October 2009 - 12:18pm.

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 - 12:41pm.

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?

What a wonderful discussion

Submitted by Jennifer on 6 October 2009 - 12:30pm.

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.

Knowing a bit about being

Submitted by Sad without Solution on 6 October 2009 - 12:58pm.

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.

With all due respect to those

Submitted by Shiori Daze on 6 October 2009 - 2:33pm.

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.

Being in Law Enforcement for

Submitted by Anonymous on 6 October 2009 - 3:51pm.

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.

I am a 50 year old lesbian.

Submitted by Tammy on 6 October 2009 - 4:11pm.

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!

There are several issues

Submitted by epaburke on 6 October 2009 - 7:21pm.

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.

Personally, I have nothing

Submitted by Lisa on 7 October 2009 - 6:39am.

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.

For anyone who thinks that

Submitted by Erin on 7 October 2009 - 9:07am.

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 - 9:13am.

Read A Rose for Charlie on the Teaching Tolerance site.

What I find to be just as

Submitted by Anonymous on 7 October 2009 - 11:07am.

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 - 10:50am.

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.

I don't know if this has been

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

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 - 10:50pm.

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.

Weather you believe

Submitted by Anonymous Jim on 2 December 2009 - 4:42pm.

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 - 11:21am.

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 - 8:23pm.

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 - 3:03pm.

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 am in college now, writing

Submitted by Tammy Breeden on 17 April 2010 - 10:26pm.

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.

Tammy, I believe that

Submitted by Kari on 8 May 2010 - 12:09pm.

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.

I'm a storyteller and writer,

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

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.

You are who you are, reading

Submitted by Geri on 19 May 2010 - 11:01pm.

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 think gay childrens books

Submitted by Ava on 8 August 2010 - 3:34pm.

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 - 2:11pm.

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.

I have had the book "And

Submitted by ellwyn on 4 November 2010 - 10:52pm.

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.

Well the world needs more gay

Submitted by Luzian Drake on 16 December 2010 - 12:52am.

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 a very simple

Submitted by Very basic on 7 January 2011 - 2:02pm.

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

Off the top of my head, I

Submitted by Teri Acosta on 12 April 2011 - 6:00pm.

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.

Here are my honest answers to

Submitted by Richard Lavigueur on 14 May 2011 - 3:23pm.

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.

Hi, I know this comment is a

Submitted by Pop on 5 July 2013 - 2:29am.

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.

Memories. I remember running

Submitted by Jack on 2 April 2011 - 11:45pm.

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.

My goodness, I am concerned.

Submitted by grant garber on 10 May 2011 - 1:48pm.

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.

BTW jack, that was FUNNY!

Submitted by grant garber on 10 May 2011 - 1:49pm.

BTW jack, that was FUNNY!

Wow!

Submitted by danya on 9 June 2011 - 2:08pm.

Wow!

I think these kinds of

Submitted by Stacey on 24 May 2011 - 7:35pm.

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.

I teach young children. There

Submitted by Lisa D. on 28 June 2011 - 4:24pm.

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 - 3:44pm.

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.

If we truly care about the

Submitted by Karen on 29 September 2011 - 11:06am.

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'm 18, and I came out last

Submitted by Belgium on 22 October 2011 - 12:52am.

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.

After reading this article, I

Submitted by Sha-nayyy-nayyy on 3 November 2011 - 11:49pm.

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.

In my opinion books like

Submitted by Ash on 6 November 2011 - 12:05am.

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.

I have finally, happily,

Submitted by Kenton Jones on 16 December 2011 - 1:28pm.

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 - 2:11pm.

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.

I was talking today with

Submitted by Janet on 8 May 2012 - 7:01pm.

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!

Hi Janet, Sorry for the late

Submitted by Jeff on 12 October 2012 - 6:11pm.

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'm coming to this

Submitted by Rebecca R. on 20 November 2012 - 3:53pm.

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!

Good grief there is a lot of

Submitted by Steven on 30 June 2012 - 6:35pm.

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 Teach Tolerance I teach

Submitted by Chloe Fletcher on 25 March 2014 - 12:23am.

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!