Reading this article, I instantly thought of my nephew, who I was fairly certain was gay when he was 8 years old. I wish that book had been available for him. I wish he could have been shown that there are all sorts of people in this world, and that happy endings are possible for those who feel different, too.
Instead, I got to watch him struggle with his identity for another decade. I didn’t want to influence him either way. I wanted him to become his own person. My main message to him, growing up, was that I would love him no matter what, and that he could always talk to me. I reinforced that message every chance I got. Then I sat back, feeling helpless, as he struggled to become who he is, which is a strong, intelligent, proud gay man. A hard-won happy ending, but a happy ending nevertheless. (I love you, Ryan!)
It is frustrating to me that an ignorant, closed-minded pastor gets to dictate what sits on the shelves of a public library. It saddens me that children with two fathers or two mothers or questions of their own are not allowed to see people in books that resonate with them. It disgusts me that there are still so many people out there who think homosexuality is the result of indoctrination.
I don’t want to live in a world in which the only acceptable literature fits within some random pastor’s very narrow point of view. I don’t want to have anyone restrict what I can learn about the wide variety of people in this world. Ignorance and censorship is no way to protect children. Teaching them that acceptance and love are the most important ways to navigate the wider world is a much better way to allow them to function within it.
I hope this scandal backfires by causing book sales to skyrocket, and that it prompts people to have thoughtful and loving conversations with their children as they read together.