The guinea pigs have had the spotlight this year, as picture book Uncle Bobby’s Wedding has faced several attempted challenges from library patrons who wanted to remove or reshelve it. The penguins of And Tango Makes Three are not out of danger yet, however, as a school board meeting in Ankeny, Iowa made clear.
Cindy Dacus, one of the parents challenging Tango, told the board last month that Tango should not be allowed in the East Elementary School library because it attempts “to ‘normalize’ homosexuality to children who are too young to understand the ‘risky lifestyle.’”
Superintendent Matthew Wendt has now recommended that members not vote on the request, but suggested instead “that the board consider adopting a new selection process for library materials, and that any new process take into consideration age-appropriateness of materials. He also suggested that while new procedures are being discussed, all books and other materials should remain in place and not be restricted in any way.”
I have to sigh. Wendt is balancing competing viewpoints here, and I can’t blame him for hedging a bit. He doesn’t seem like he’s caving to pressure from Dacus and her husband. The board’s attorney seems to be hinting that such acts would face a tough battle.
But still … do we really have to go through this again? My son, and every other young child of LGBT parents, has known about same-sex relationships from day one, and it hasn’t harmed him a bit. As I’ve said many times before, too, banning books is one thing. Stopping our children from talking about their families is the next step—and we can’t let it get to that.
Moreover, as many of you know, Tango is based on a true story. Just this week, too, we learned of another real-life same-sex penguin pair. Normalize that. (Not that reality should be the measure of all children’s stories. I rather like Uncle Bobby’s anthropomorphic guinea pigs.)
Besides, the most risky behavior I’ve engaged in recently is hanging a glass Santa Claus near the top of our Christmas tree while balanced on a stool. Frankly, I think the right-wing should encourage children to read stories of LGBT parents. Between doing our laundry and fighting for our civil rights, we’re usually too tired for anything more salacious.
From “Mombian,” by Dana Rudolph
Photo courtesy of Offsprung