My Big Fat Gay Agenda

Since I started working at my library about a year and a half ago, I haven’t heard of any overt hate crimes against homosexuals in or around the neighborhood, and for that I am grateful. What I have heard, however, is about a hundred little passive aggressive comments muttered quietly or vile words uttered out loud in supposed jest, by kids and adults alike.

Subtle expressions of hatred are particularly troubling to me because they’re so stealthy and viral. They’re difficult to prove and discipline, often confused with wit or disguised as humor, and infects children in many cases worse than overt acts of crime because everyone’s taught that violence is unacceptable, but their dad says [insert ignorant slur du jour here] in casual conversation, so they learn that it must be okay for them to repeat when they grow up, too.

I guess what I hear the most from parents is some perhaps benign sounding version of “I know some people are gay/lesbian/transgender/whatever, but I don’t want to see it, and I don’t want my kids to think that it’s okay.” Well, that’s too bad, because while I don’t think that any of my homosexual friends and acquaintances are going door to door and spreading the good news of Sir Elton John, I can tell you that this straight woman does have a gay agenda, and my covert crusade is executed by sabotaging story times.

For every subtle homophobic comment that’s dropped in my presence, A Tale of Two Daddies is read during one of my school visits. For every time I hear that you don’t want your kids to “have to hear about Caitlyn Jenner,” I will sneak Red: A Crayon’s Story into the list of books I suggest you take home to read with your child. You know what else? Every time you leave your child or preteen alone at the library for hours of free daycare, it might interest you to know that I regularly educate them on tolerance of others, self-acceptance, the complexities of identification, and the significance of power and consent.

To combat homophobia at your library and in your home, please communicate openly and clearly with your children and others, and stock your shelves with the following books:

Red: A Crayon’s Story, by Michael Hall
A Tale of Two Mommies, by Vanita Oelschlager
A Tale of Two Daddies, by Vanita Oelschlager
Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress, by Christine Baldacchino
I Am Jazz, by Jessica Herthel
And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson
10,000 Dresses, by Marcus Ewert
The Family Book, by Todd Parr
The Sissy Duckling, by Harvey Fierstein
Heather Has Two Mommies (the updated version by Lesléa Newman)
Mommy, Mama, and Me, by Lesléa Newman
Daddy, Papa, and Me, by Lesléa Newman
King and King, by Linda de Haan
This Day in June, by Gayle E. Pitman
Jacob’s New Dress, by Sarah Hoffman
The Different Dragon, by Jennifer Bryan
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