So I’ve Been Thinking About Gay Rights

Hi everyone! Before I get started. . .

HAPPY BANNED BOOKS WEEK!!!!!!

Yay!
Yay!

Yep. It’s that time of year again. That post is forthcoming (hopefully), but that’s not what I’m focusing on today.

So right now I’m reading a book called The Miseducation of Cameron Post, written by Emily M. Danforth. Cameron, the main character, is a lesbian adolescent living in Montana. Eventually, she’s sent to God’s Promise, a facility dedicated to eradicating “homosexual sin” in the “disciples” it hosts. Cameron participates in one-on-ones with the people in charge, support groups, etc. And, of course, it got me thinking about what gay people have to deal with, gay rights, and stuff like that.

Then, today, I saw pictures on Tumblr of people in Russia who have been protesting the anti-LGBTQ actions that have been taking place there. They’re being violently assaulted, arrested, and all manner of awful, awful things are being done to them. This ticks me off SO MUCH. (Trust me; I’m punching my keyboard pretty hard right now.) It’s just. . .AGH. It needs to stop, as soon as possible.

Many books have been banned for homosexual content, also. One such book is And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell. It’s a book about a baby penguin being brought up by two adult penguins in a zoo. . .but both of said adult penguins are male. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Steven Chbosky’s famous book about Charlie, a freshman in high school, has also been banned for homosexual content, among other things.

If you believe homosexuality is a sin because of your religion, that’s okay with me. But if you think that it should be illegal for gay or lesbian couples to get married, I start to really want to have an argument. Forcing your beliefs on others like that just isn’t okay in my opinion. If a gay couple is in love and wants to get married, why the heck not?All Out

Homophobia isn’t just a problem in Russia, it’s a problem across the world. All Out, an organization hoping to stop this, has a website that shows that in 76 countries, being LGBT is illegal. In some, it’s a valid reason for a death penalty.

These people aren’t wrong or “tainted” by how they feel about members of the same sex; they just want the same rights, and to be allowed to marry those they love.

Allout.org has a lot of ways you can help with the fight for gay rights. (But, by the way, Stoli vodka is made in Latvia, not Russia. Don’t hurt the Latvians by boycotting it!) I definitely suggest you go check it out! They’re doing a lot of great things to try to solve the horrible problems some people are facing. This video of theirs sums it up pretty well, and what they’re doing is really awesome:

Anyway, I guess that’s about it for today. If you want to, feel free to email me and I will gladly send you a detailed rant expanding on this. (I’m only sort of kidding.) Hopefully there will be a Banned Books Week post coming soon? I hope? Heh heh.

Have a great Friday everyone!

Literary Quote of the Day: “We are political novelists who do not wish to be political.” –Author David Leviathan, on gay writers

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I’m Irritated. . .To Say the Least

Rainbow RowellI have professed my love for Rainbow Rowell and her book Eleanor & Park often, and her brand new book, Fangirl, is also great. But now, there’s something new that’s been sweeping through the book world–she’s been censored.

Rowell was scheduled to give a talk in front of students of a school district in Minnesota, and also at some libraries. Eleanor & Park has been one of the most-buzzed-about books to come out this year, as far as I can tell, but now the talk has been cancelled. Now, this angers me for a few reasons:

  1. Banning books is never a good idea in my opinion; it’s a violation of freedom of speech.
  2. Eleanor & Park is, frankly, amazing, and should be read the world over.
  3. Not only is it one of the best books I’ve read, it’s also important. So. Freaking. Important.

Eleanor & Park has just so much fantastic-ness and so many things to say. The main characters, Eleanor and Park, are both unique in their neighborhood and different from those around them. Eleanor’s fat; Park’s one of the very few Asian kids in the Omaha area they live in. Eleanor faces bullying and domestic abuse, and Park has to deal with who he really is inside and how that conflicts with what others think he should be. It portrays the lives of these two so truthfully and honestly, and the fact that is has been challenged just makes me so, so upset.

What was it challenged for? Profanity.

And yes, there is a lot of profanity. A lot. But to contest it for something like that, when what’s really in its content is so much deeper and vital and should be heard, is utterly ridiculous and, excuse me, stupid.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Another shocking thing about it? The librarians who orchestrated the event in the first place have had people advocating for them to face consequences for doing this. This horrible thing, allowing students to hear someone talk who wrote a book that has such a meaningful story. It has bad words, for God’s sake!

>TEARS OUT HAIR IN FRUSTRATION<

But that is not the only book to be challenged recently.

Meg Medina, who was also going Meg Medinato give a talk at a middle school, has had it cancelled due to her book, Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, another tale that confronts bullying. She was supposed to speak at an event about bullying, but oh no! Bad words!

I understand that people can be very uncomfortable with the use of profanity, and just don’t like it. But not seeing the real meaning of these books’ stories, just the four- and three-letter words used, is ridiculous and wrong. And I have to say, if these kids are in middle school or high school, it’s highly likely they’ve heard those words used already. A. Lot.

These books are important, and lots of kids are facing challenges similar to those faced by the characters in them. And that feeling when you see yourself in a book, and realize you’re not alone, is wonderful. Or, at least, reassuring. These authors would both probably have great things to say, to the people who most need to hear them. But now, it looks like they won’t get the chance.

These challengers are missing the point, missing the meaning, and now those kids are going to miss out.

And that’s what makes me really angry.

You can read more about this news here, and the author’s websites are here and here. Another great article with thoughts on this topic is here.

My review of Eleanor & Park is also here.

(That’s way too many “here”s for one post, isn’t it?)

But anyway, this was kind of a vent-post. And a you-should-know-about-this post. And I suppose I’ll end it right here, because my mind seems to have fallen victim to the sleepiness that any rainy September day can induce.

So anything said from here on out could possibly be used against me, nefariously. Or, at least, it wouldn’t make sense.

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See?

Over and out! Have a great weekend!

P.S. Banned Books Week is next week, so mark your calenders! And also, read Eleanor & Park. And Fangirl. That’s an order, people!

P.P.S. I want to read Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass now.

Literary Quote of the Day: “Censorship is telling a man he can’t eat a steak just because a baby can’t chew it.” –Mark Twain

An Apology

Hi everyone! I just wanted to apologize for the phrasing I used in my previous post, in the postscript about the floods in Manila. It was insensitive of me to use that name while writing, and I published it without thinking about how some people may find it offensive. The post has now been edited to exclude that part, and it won’t happen again. I’m really sorry, and feel free to write lectures to me in the comments!

I hope everyone has a great day!