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Library asked to stock ‘ex-gay’ literature

Jessica Geen August 10, 2009
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A Wisconsin library which was attacked earlier this year for stocking a book about a gay teenager, has now come under fire from an ex-gay group which says it is “discriminatory” for not stocking books by ex-gay authors.

In June, the curiously-named Christian Civil Liberties Union attacked the West Bend library for stocking Francesca Lia Block’s Baby Be-Bop, a novel aimed at young adults. In the novel, the protagonist, Dirk, struggles to come to terms with his identity and is beaten up by a group of homophobic men.

However, Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX) is now saying that “material written by ex-gays or with a heterosexual slant [has] been ignored” by the library while books with a positive outlook on homosexuality are welcomed.

Ex-gays are those who claim they were once gay, but have now “chosen” to become heterosexual.

Such therapy was condemned by the American Psychological Association last week. Now British therapists are being urged to abandon gay ‘cure’ practices.

PFOX executive director Regina Griggs said: “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,” Griggs added.

“It is also contrary to the American Library Association’s policy against book banning and censorship in any form.

“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.”

Along with Baby Be-Bop, a book about gay penguins has frequently generated controversy.

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, which tells the story of a gay penguin couple, has been slammed as anti-family, anti-religion and pro-gay.

In April, it topped an American Library Association’s (ALA) list of the book most people want banned.

However, the ALA has been keen to defend literature from censorship and celebrates Banned Books Week every September.

Related topics: Americas

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