Monday, September 23, 2013


Books about LGBT Families Remain Targets of Censorship
NEW YORK -- The annual list of books compiled by the American Library Association, (ALA) as part of America's Banned Books Week, which runs from from September 22 to 28 September, shows that books about LGBT people and their families remain one of the biggest targets of censorship in classrooms and libraries according to the ALA. 
The ALA also pointed out that despite significant breakthroughs in perceptions and attitudes towards LGBTQ people and their families with wider acceptance by the public over issues such as same-sex marriage as a result of the June ruling by the Supreme Court which struck down the "Defense of Marriage Act," books that depict same-sex couples, particularly those raising children, in a positive light, continue to be a target.
According to the ALA, almost every year one of the books on that list is And Tango Makes Three, a children's book about two male penguins that find an abandoned egg and raise a penguin chick together. Another frequent target of censorship is The Family Book, which as part of a survey of many different types of families includes a single page stating "some families have two moms and two dads." 
The American Civil Liberties Union,(ACLU)  this past year took a school district in Utah to court to overturn the school's decision to pull a book about a family with two moms, In Our Mothers' House, from the school library shelves. The book had originally been yanked from the shelves because a group of parents complained that it "normalized a lifestyle that we don't agree with."
Joshua Block, a staff attorney with the National ACLU's Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project said;
"This anti-LGBT censorship extends into cyberspace. A few years ago, the ACLU launched a national "Don't Filter Me" campaign to challenge school web-filtering software that blocked access to non-sexual websites about LGBT people and their families with allowing free access to comparable websites that attacked LGBT people for lacking family values. 
We won a court victory holding that this type of viewpoint-based censorship is unconstitutional, but as recently as this past spring we had to threaten legal action against another school district whose filtering software was configured to block access to websites such as Freedom to Marry by labeling them as "sexuality."
Block also notes that for LGBTQ people and their families this type of censorship is not just an abstract philosophical concern.
"The fact of the matter is that children with same-sex parents attend schools across the country, and blocking websites or removing books from the shelves won't change that. It only serves to stigmatize these students and their families as something dirty or shameful. Libraries should reflect the diversity of all kinds of ideas -- and all kinds of families."