In recognition of the goals of Banned Books Week by the American Library Association (ALA), Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX) asked the ALA to include ex-gay books in its annual promotion of ALA’s “celebration of the freedom to read” program.
“For several weeks, PFOX has attempted to secure a statement from the ALA opposing the censorship of ex-gay books,” said Regina Griggs, executive director of PFOX. “According to Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, ALA policy recommends diversity in book collection development by libraries, regardless of partisan or doctrinal disapproval. However, Caldwell-Stone refuses to state whether that diversity policy includes ex-gay books.”
“Books about leaving homosexuality are censored in most high school libraries, although gay affirming books for youth are readily available,” said Griggs. “For example, Charlie Makela, supervisor of library services for Arlington County, Va., public schools, rejected PFOX’s donation of ex-gay books although she accepts books from gay groups. Ms. Makela is also the chair of the ALA’s Supervisors’ Section of the American Association of School Librarians. Shouldn’t the ALA enforce its own diversity policy?”
“Ex-gay books are also not made available in many community public libraries,” adds Griggs.
The libraries in West Bend and Beaver Dam, Wis., did not accept PFOX’s donation of an ex-gay book for children, although, according to Griggs, these libraries offer gay-themed books for children.
“According to the ALA, the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if unorthodox and unpopular, is the reason for its Banned Books Week,” said Griggs. “Every week is a banned books week for the ex-gay community.”
“The ALA has also issued numerous sexual orientation policies calling for all librarians to resist excluding books about ‘sex, gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation.’ But do these ALA policies include former homosexuals? PFOX urges the American Library Association to clarify its policies to be more inclusive and diverse. The ALA can stop censorship in our nation’s libraries by starting with its own policies.”
Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX) leads the nation in providing outreach, education and public awareness in support of families and the ex- gay community.
For more information, visit PFOX.org.