I, like many of my friends were saddened by the passing of Prop 8. I remember being at Obama’s nomination win in Grant Park and some man sadly delivering the news. It did take away some of the thunder from our liberal storm. But we knew that there would be an appeal. Mormons aren’t allowed to win.
So, here I am two-ish years later, receiving the news of Prop 8 being overturned. Of course, I was excited. And the many gay couples that ride my shuttle bus to and from work were overjoyed. I swear I saw a double rainbow that day.
The next day, I spent over two hours reading through Judge Walker’s amazingly poignant and straight forward ruling. If you haven’t yet found it, check it out. He lays out, word for word, what equality is all about. And he chastises those who would only want to disregard marriage because of religious or moral doctrine. Even those trailer park boys with a 3rd grade reading level (that I went to high school with) could understand it.
But then I come home and read an article about the banning of a book for teenagers called “Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology.” Apparently, the book was first banned in a local high school by a member of the 9.12 group, an ultra conservative, “pro-family” outfit. One complaint to a public library later, it was removed from shelves. But it wasn’t just removed… it was asked to “disappear.” It wouldn’t even get the dignity of a book fair or a give away bin.
Why? Well, the first woman/overly concerned/brainwashed mother who got it banned cited a 9.12 blogger by calling it “pervasively vulgar, obscene, and inappropriate” and the head of the librarian who asked to Harry Potter it away cited “child pornography.” The mother then stated that the book was banned “for the children.”
What children is helped with the banning of this book? Of course there will be curious eyes who will get a little giggle out of it, but that’s middle school for you. What banning this book does is hurt the children that are questioning their sexuality, that have no one to turn to but a book, those who are ashamed to ask their mothers directly, or those who are frightened to go on the internet and research a bit for fear they will be caught.
By banning this book, we are ostracizing those who need us most. We are not even giving a child a chance to read and discover for himself.
I remember being 14, in the midst of an extremely awkward puberty, and turning to a book called “Deal With It!” It was bright pink and featured a cartoon girl flashing the reader when you opened the book flap. Inside, it talked about everything a teenage girl goes through… from self discovery, to sexual encounters, and even questioning religion. It featured real teenage girls speaking about how they knew they were lesbians or how they dealt with embarrassing hairs done there. And while I got a good, immature laugh out of it, I also turned to that book when I needed it the most.
And with that book, I realized that it was ok to be me – that it was normal to question who I am and the irrational to rational feelings I may feel. It also told me that it was alright to deal with the hard questions and that I was never alone in my struggles.
I guess I am more upset that teenagers who need this book the most will not have access to it. They wont get to feel what a connection to the outside world is. They wont get additional help or another citation in their senior research paper on Prop 8.
It’s all one foot forward and two giant leaps back.