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Friday, June 21, 2024
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Children's book award progressively recognizes the presence of homosexuality

Planting the seed of tolerance is a good thing

The American Library Association plans to add an award to its prizes, which already include the John Newbery medal and the Randolph Caldecott medal. Each year the prospective Stonewall Children's and Young Adult Literature Award would go to an English language book that relates to "the gay, lesbian, and bisexual experience."

About 14 million children in the United States currently live in a household with one or more gay or lesbian parents. The aim of the Library Association is to promote nationwide tolerance of gay marriage and homosexuality.

Though such a movement toward tolerance should be accepted in a similar vein, inherent homophobia, coupled with the omnipotent pretext of child protection, can easily curb a progressive movement of this degree.

In light of the recent events in Iowa, where three Supreme Court justices were popularly voted out of office for having advocated for the legalization of gay marriage, it is a good thing that this initiative does not come down to a vote.

In many ways, it will be difficult for parents to explain something that runs contrary to the notion of heterosexual marriage, especially because some parents are uncomfortable with the idea of same-sex marriage in the first place. Indeed, it may be confusing for children to understand that marriage can happen between two men, two women or a woman and a man.

Some think that now is not the time to advocate for the legalization or even the tolerance of marriage between homosexuals, given that thousands of conservatives continue to stick to their guns, picketing for the regressive policy of strict heterosexual marriage. With such opposition, it seems too daunting an endeavor to fly in the face of America's Christian majority.

But how long will we wait, with our thumbs in our mouths, for the United States to stop being homophobic? The civil rights movement forced public integration and tolerance of blacks and other minorities; it did not wait around for people to stop being racist.

Interracial marriage was once a similarly divisive issue, until people stepped up against its intolerance and made it legal. Today, many people do not even think twice when they see an interracial couple, and the legalization of interracial marriage scuttled the ideas that inter-ethnic relationships were unnatural and that the Biblical God will punish those who mix with the evil blood of Ham.

The best way to advocate for progressive reform, and to promote true freedom, is through offering our youth a more accommodating view of what will soon be regarded as a national inevitability. With all its press, and with a conservative generation that is, literally, dying out, gay marriage will be legal one day.

Each generation is more and more tolerant of realities like homosexuality and ethnic differences. It seems reasonable that children will follow the trend and take homosexuality in literature with the same amount of concession as they continue to do with racial differences.


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