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Library insists on acknowledging the existence of gay penguins

October 25, 2008
watch the PDA, guys

watch the PDA, guys

The Calvert County Board of Library Trustees voted Tuesday to keep the children’s book And Tango Makes Three in the children’s section, rather than segregating it in a separate–but presumably equal–section for the “alternative or non-traditional family”. After Beth Bubser read it with her seven-year-old daughter and discovered it was the true story of the same-sex penguin parents living the Central Park Zoo, she filed a complaint, requesting it be removed from the children’s section and shelved somewhere far, far away. 

“It is a great book for a certain family, but not for my family and a lot of families I know,” she said. “I believe in everyone’s rights. I believe in freedom of speech, but this is not right for my family.”

Apparently the only families that are allowed to know about the existence of gay penguins–and presumably by extension gay people–are gay families themselves. Baby Bubser shouldn’t know that gay people exist…because she might turn gay? I wonder what would happen if someone told her about black people.

But seriously: why does acknowledging the existence of gay people and treating them like human beings amount to joining PFLAG? Because if that little girl’s gay, protecting her from the word “gay”–or from reading about penguins–is not going to make her like boys. Nor is reading her a cute story about flightless birds gonna turn a straight girl gay. 

A discussion of homosexuality doesn’t have to be about sex, and it doesn’t even have to be particularly condoning. How hard is it to say, “sometimes boys fall in love with boys and girls fall in love with girls”? Even, “we don’t think that’s the best way to have a family.” But most importantly, just like they teach you in kindergarten, “respect others.” 

And if you really don’t want to have that talk, here’s a thought: review the media your child is exposed to. And Tango Makes Three is thirty-two pages of pictures. It’s manageable. 

It also won the American Society Notable Children’s Book in 2006, the ASPCA’s Henry Bergh Award, the Gustavus Myer Outstanding Book Award, was named a Nick Jr. Family Magazine Best Book of the Year, a Bank Street Best Book of the Year, a Cooperative Children’s Book Counsel Choice, a CBC/NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book, and was a finalist for the 2006 Lambda Literary Award. Liberal media elites, all.

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