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PFOX: Books Smearing LGBT People Should Be Celebrated During Banned Books Week

September 26, 2013 9:18 am ET by Luke Brinker

Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX) and its right-wing allies are wondering why fourth-rate literature devoted to stigmatizing the LGBT community isn't celebrated during the American Library Association's (ALA) Banned Books Week, which runs Sept. 22-28.

Since 1982, the ALA has devoted a week to raising awareness of books that have been challenged and censored in libraries and schools. According to the ALA, banned and challenged books have included such classics as The Great GatsbyTo Kill a MockingbirdBelovedThe Lord of the FliesLolita, and 1984.

On September 19, PFOX released a statement calling on the ALA "to include ex-gay books as part of its 'Banned Books Week.'" This would only be fitting, PFOX suggested, given that it has declared September "Ex-Gay Awareness Month" after its July "Ex-Gay Pride Month" turned out to be a total flop:

In celebration of Ex-Gay Awareness Month, Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX) and Voice of the Voiceless (VoV) are urging the American Library Association (ALA) to include ex-gay books as part of its "Banned Books Week," September 22-28, when the ALA publicizes unpopular books censored by libraries and schools. ALA has refused to acknowledge the routine banning of ex-gay books in school and community libraries across the United States as a part of their efforts to end censorship. 

"Every week is 'Banned Books Week' for the ex-gay community," said Regina Griggs, Executive Director of PFOX. "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."

The statement claimed that a Wisconsin library had refused to accept PFOX's "donation of ex-gay books for children." Although the statement didn't specify the titles of those books, PFOX's website includes a "Recommended Reading List" of ex-gay literature. Among the titles that PFOX apparently wants included alongside works by Vladimir Nabokov and George Orwell:

  • A Parent's Guide to Preventing Homosexuality, by Joseph and Linda Nicolisi. Described by PFOX as a "gem of a book," it's not just for parents horrified by the thought of raising gay children. According to PFOX, "[a]n alternative title could be, 'Everything you always wondered about homosexuality, but didn't know who to ask.'"
  • My Daddy's Secret, by Denise ShickWritten by the daughter of a transgender woman, this book offers a look at the challenges confronted by the "beleaguered families" of transgender individuals.
  • Diary of an Ex-Gay Man, by Jake Anonymous. Jake doesn't want you to know his full name, but he does want you to know that even though he was once "only attracted to other guys," he found a  psychotherapist who allowed him to discover his "heterosexual 'true self.'"
  • You Don't Have to Be Gay: Hope and Freedom for Males Struggling With Homosexuality or For Those Who Know of Someone Who Is, by Jeff Konrad. Because we should stigmatize LGBT identities, not embrace them!

There's no evidence that these books have actually been banned from public libraries. It seems likely that the reason these books haven't appeared on library shelves is because they're terrible, not because they've been censored by militant gay librarian activists. That said, PFOX has the National Organization for Marriage's (NOM) Ruth Institute, the American Family Association's (AFA) One News Now, and far-right website WND in its corner. 


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