Sexual Orientation and Censorship

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Once again, the lovely children’s book And Tango Makes Three has topped the American Library Association’s list of most frequently challenged books. This book also topped the list in 2007, 2008, and 2009. The book, which is on the bookshelf in my daughter’s room and which I have read to her on numerous occasions, is about two male penguins who care for and hatch an egg. I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants a children’s book that both acknowledges the existence of, and affirms the worth of, nontraditional families.

In a country where freedom of speech and expression are so highly prized, it never ceases to amaze me how people so often rush to defend gay bashing–a few examples of this that come quickly to mind are (1) those who voice opposition to enhanced punishment for gay bashing  and other bias crimes on the ground that the enhancement punishes “thought” crimes, (2) reactionaries who decry the Southern Poverty Law Center for labeling some anti-LGBT groups as hate groups because the “hate card” stifles debate over whether same-sex couples have the same rights as different-sex couples to marry, and (3) the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision upholding the rights of individuals to picket funerals carrying signs that say “God Hates Fags”–but apparently find it quite acceptable to attempt to censor a book with a story that conveys a positive and affirming message about nontraditional families.

-Tony Infanti

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