Librarians across America are set to observe”Banned Books Week” by highlighting titles that recently have faced censorship.
But the librarians themselves this year are being accused of banning books.
The claim comes from advocates for the community of ex-”gays.”
“Every week is ‘Banned Books Week’ for the ex-gay community,” says Regina Griggs, executive director of Parents and Friends of Gays and Ex-Gays.
“Books about leaving homosexuality are routinely censored in high schools and community libraries across the United States, while gay-affirming books are readily available for any young person questioning their sexuality,” she said.
PFOX this year is joining Voice of the Voiceless in urging the American Library Association to include ex-”gay” books as part of its “Banned Books Week,” Sept. 22-28.
The groups say ALA has refused to acknowledge the routine banning of ex-”gay” books even as members work to eliminate censorship of other books.
Griggs cited one case.
“Kristin Pekoll, the librarian in charge of young adult books at the West Bend Community Memorial Library in Wisconsin, advocates for children’s books with gay themes but refuses to accept our donation of ex-gay books for children,” she said. “Public libraries are supported by all citizens, and it is appalling that tax dollars are supporting such narrow minded thinking and viewpoint discrimination.”
Christopher Doyle, president of Voice of the Voiceless, said there’s a genuine need.
His group advocates for former homosexuals, individuals with unwanted same-sex attractions and their families.
“What if a sexually-abused child walks into a public library looking for information as to why he/she has unwanted homosexual feelings? That child is not going to receive accurate information from homosexual-affirming books, which often promote the myth that people are ‘born gay’ and cannot change,” he said.
“As a former homosexual and victim of childhood sexual abuse, having access to ex-gay literature would have provided me with some much needed hope that I could heal from that abuse and overcome unwanted SSA. The very idea that a school or community library is banning a book because of political correctness is contrary to our country’s ideals of liberty and the pursuit of self-determination,” he said.
ALA, in fact, features Pekoll as a speaker at its conferences on intellectual freedom and the First Amendment, PFOX said.
The two organizations are calling on Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, to make a statement in opposition to the censorship of children’s ex-”gay” books from the West Bend Community Memorial Library.
“Public libraries should be for everyone,” commented Griggs. “People seeking positive life change need the love and support of their friends, family, communities, schools, workplaces and places of worship.”