Ex-Gay Books For Children?

A library in Wisconsin which came under fire for stocking books positively affirming homosexuality has now been branded “discriminatory” and condemned for “not being interested in diversity” because it has refused to stock books by so called ex-gay authors.

West Bend Library was condemned by the Christian Civil Liberties Union in June of this year for stocking Baby Be-Bop, a book aimed at young adults by author Francesca Lia Block in which the main character, Dirk, struggles with his sexuality and against homophobic attacks. 

The group petitioned for the book, and books like it, to be removed. They failed. Now a group called the Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays, or PFOX as they are more popularly known (a counter-balance to gay affirming PFLAG), are now claiming the following:

“Many of the gay books promote homosexual behavior to youth and are the subject of protests by concerned parents, whose request to have the books moved to the adult section were denied. Our requests that the Library balance some of its homosexual material for children with material written by ex-gays or with a heterosexual slant have been ignored.”

There is more, and it doesn’t sound all that friendly, but I just want to stop here and look at that paragraph for a moment:

  • “Many of the gay books promote homosexual behavior to youth…” – it’s always good to get off on a strong “homosexual agenda” related foot, isn’t it?
  • “…whose request to have the books moved to the adult section were denied…” – probably because thw books in question were for young adults, so moving them to the adult-only section of the library would rather undermine their purpose… oh no, I see where you’re going with that. That’s quite clever.
  • “… with material written by ex-gays or with a heterosexual slant…” – a heterosexual slant? There are no books in West Bend Library that have examples of heterosexuality? Really? Then the library has bigger problems than just this complaint because it in fact has largely empty shelves it would seem.

I’m being glib but there’s a reason for that. These are all very polite words, but what this paragraph seems to really says is, we (or a group sharing our ideology) attempted to have gay related books banned in the children’s section because we think being gay is wrong or sinful, but we were unsuccessful, so now we want to promote our ex-gay agenda (it works both ways) and this is how we’re going to do it: through diversity rules.

They continue:

“Apparently, the West Bend Community Memorial Library is not interested in diversity. We urge Michael Tyree, the library’s director, to be inclusive of the ex-gay community and accept our donation of ex-gay books. According to its own policy, the Library has a ‘professional responsibility to be inclusive, not exclusive, in developing collections.’”

“For a library to provide children’s books which promote homosexuality while denying ex-gay books smacks of censorship and indoctrination of youth with a one-sided ideology.”

“We call upon Deborah Caldwell-Stone, acting director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, to publicly condemn the censoring of ex-gay books in any community. Public libraries should be for everyone.”

Indeed, public libraries should be for everyone, but notice how the words “indoctrination of youth” sprang up along with “one-sided ideology”. Again, not particularly gay-friendly, and it begs the question, are PFOX planning on bringing out a range of ex-gay literature for children? If not, the two are not equivocal in any way. That’s not to say that the library shouldn’t stock ex-gay literature, it’s just a bad and manipulative comparison to use.

In a report published recently, the American Psychological Association (APA) have formally restated that ex-gay therapy is not only next to useless, with no credible scientific evidence to back-up claims that its patients have undergone complete or even partial conversion to heterosexuality, it is in fact potentially harmful to attempt to change someone’s orientation.

You can read the APA report by clicking here.

The APA (having long been against conversion therapy) reiterates its findings which state that trying to impose heterosexuality as the only valid, healthy way to live, and that everything else is a negative lifestyle choice in need of correction through “reparative therapy”, serves only to reinforce negative self belief and can, for some people, lead to depression and suicidal tendencies. Imagine, then, the damage it could do to children.

Instead, the report urges acceptance of homosexuality. It concludes there is no viable process through which to “convert”, and instead, patients should be given an appropriate regime of counseling in order to try and come to terms with their own nature, and, if it is impossible to live a life enjoying homosexual relationships, to learn to practice celibacy as a means of managing unhappiness about same-sex attraction.

Internally, ex-gay organizations often suggest they have a much higher success rate than the negligible one that is reported by the wider scientific community.

Within days of the APA publishing their report, two psychologists, Stanton L. Jones and Mark A. Yarhouse (following-up a study they conducted two years ago quizzically called Ex-Gays?) released a paper which many ex-gay organizations are calling “groundbreaking”.

They suggest that of 61 subjects followed over “a span of six to seven years” (well, which is it?) 53% reported “successfully leaving homosexuality and living happily as heterosexual or celibate persons”. Read a related article overview with links to the study here.

Never mind that patients logged their own activity and so the veracity of their claims is tenuous, even the study admits that 30% of that “success” figure are subjects choosing to live a life of celibacy. That’s not a cure.

I am also suspicious of wording which says “23% reported a successful conversion to heterosexual attractions”, because that’s not language indicative of a firm result but rather an indication that some of those subjects in question have fostered heterosexual relationships, yet without a qualifier for those relationships (are they happy, functional in the traditional sense and with both partners satisfied?) it seems the study’s findings are problematic at best.
 
So should the ALA be made to stock ex-gay books? My personal opinion is yes, unequivocally so for adult readers. But should those books be available for children as the PFOX statement seems to infer? I have to say that in the interests of child welfare, no. And I hesitate to imagine what form those books would take.

That little Timmy was struggling with some “secret” attractions until specialist counseling from the good folks at PFOX made the bad gay feelings go away?

Would the book then go on to say that, later, little Timmy was catapulted into an adult life marred by a cycle of self-loathing, dysfunction and depression, that eventually culminated in a suicide attempt? In the interests of full disclosure, and to fall in line with what the American Psychological Association think, perhaps it should.


Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to Lin Pernill.

384 comments

Thomas S.
7 years ago

Jenette H., gay men are not the only people with AIDS and are not the only people who engage in anal sex. The person who put together fathersforlife.org Walter Schneider, has a blatantly anti-homosexual, anti-feminist, anti-liberal stance, so it's clear his ramblings are politically and personally motivated and not to be taken seriously by intelligent, impartial people. Here's a wonderful quote I took from this site, it didn't take me long to find:

"I think there should be a "childless tax", a "gay tax", an all-around "flake tax", for men and women over the age of 30 with no kids. Gay or straight."

His obvious hatred of homosexuals aside, to suggest that everyone over the age of 30 need to have children shows complete ignorance of the worldwide population issues we're facing, and is therefore socially irresponsible. If you want us to take your posts seriously, try posting studies from impartial scientists with no backing from churches or hate groups. Walter Schneider is a reprehensible bigot, and a fine example of most of what's wrong with this country: blind hatred and extreme ignorance. I assume he has kids, and I weep for them as they are presumably being raised to hate people different from them. They'll likely fare no better than kids raised by white supremacists.

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Thomas S.
7 years ago

Donna P, your post is very vague. You say "I feel that if this is allowed" what is the "this" you're referring to. You say "I would not allow any child of mine to read such vulgarness (sic) as homosexuality". I've got news for you, homosexuality is not a form of literature, it's a sexual orientation, and neither you nor anyone gets to pick what their child's sexual orientation is.

You say "for it is against our creators plan for procreatiion. I do not believe this should be available nor taught to children period." How do you know what our creator's plan is? The bible (both of them) was written by HUMANS, God does not write. Do you have little voices whispering in your ear telling you "This is your creator and this is what I want"? Because if you do, you need some serious medication. Aditionally, homosexuality is not a curriculum, so it cannot be "taught to children". The books mentioned in the above article are 1) a book about TOLERANCE toward gay people (necessary because of so many Americans spewing hateful ignorance and committing violence against gay people) and 2) books about the "anti-gay" movement which is a pure fallacy and has been shown to cause psychological harm to the people pushed into it.

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Donna P.
Donna P7 years ago

I feel that if this is allowed then the KING JAMES BIBLE should also be permitted. Children should be permitted to learn the differences and choose for themselves. Personnally I would not allow any child of mine to read such vulgarness as homosexuality, for it is against our creators plan for procreatiion. I do not believe this should be available nor taught to children period.

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Jean O.
Jean O7 years ago

Pam K.

Are you the moderator of this Forum?
Having read ALL comments, it looks like you are . . .

And I want to beleive you when you say
youd did not teach hate to your sons.

But quoting one of yours, writing to Jim D. :

"im d I am the son of the f-ing person who you have a problem with, i figured it out your totally a fagot
shut up get a life"

. . . to me it sounds rude, gross, cheap, and full of HATE !

And you tell us:
«my son was very moved to add a comment to your web entry.»

He was moved to tell someone he is «totally a fagot» ?

In how many comments of yours do you tell others
how to think and what to write . . .
Shouldn't you start with that son of yours ?

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Thomas S.
7 years ago

It does work out that way sometimes.

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Christopher D.
Christopher D7 years ago

as it ever established as to how old pam's kids were? I found myself rather shocked that there was use of slurs on this thread.

Also, I find it funny that I was almost completely left out of the rant even though I was the one that started it.

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Christopher D.
Christopher D7 years ago

I must say, I have not seen such bigotry in a long time. Glad that petered out.

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Thomas S.
7 years ago

Back atcha, Jim. We could put together a radio show and nationally syndicate it, where homophobes, fundamentalists, neo-cons, ditto-heads and various other mental defectives call in, and we just rip them all a new one, verbally of course. How satisfying would that be?

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Jim D.
Past Member 7 years ago

Ahhhhhhhhh!!!! How stupid of me. You and Barbara are some of the nicest people I "know." Warmest regards, Jim

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Jim D.
Past Member 7 years ago

Thank you, TS. You and Barbara are good peeps. Too bad we're not all neighbors. Then I could say, "My gay freinds, Thomas and Barbara are some of the nicest people I know."

Best, Jim

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