Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2017-02-22
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


  WINDY CITY TIMES

Signorile Views: Hold On to Your Brain!
by Michelangelo Signorile
2005-06-22

facebook twitter del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


'You know, what's happening in our society today is that we are becoming so open-minded, our brains are falling out,' Oklahoma Republican state legislator Sally Kern recently opined.

'We need to use common sense and discretion.' She was talking about the danger of children's books like King and King—about two princes in a far away kingdom who meet and fall in love—a book Kern saw as so treacherous that it prompted her to spearhead a resolution in Oklahoma that would remove all books that 'promote' homosexuality from the children's section of Oklahoma libraries.

Kern surely also finds horrifying books like the just-published and adorable And Tango Makes Three, all about two lovesick male penguins who sit on an adopted egg, hatch it and raise their own chick ( a true story about Roy and Silo in the Central Park Zoo in Manhattan ) . And certainly Sally Kern is targeting books like The Buffalo Tree, a novel for young adults that deals with homosexuality and has been banned in the school district of Muhlenberg, Penn., removed from the curriculum after a crusade by Christian conservatives.

Actually, three were more than 550 books banned or removed from school districts or libraries in the United States in 2004 by religious zealots, according to Judith Krug of the American Library Association. And that was up about 20% from the previous year. Krug says the ALA has been able to correlate the rise in the banning of books with the rise of conservative political climates in this country.

'In 1980, there were roughly 300 books that were challenged' she explained to me recently, careful to point out that these are only the books that the ALA hears about, and the figure probably only represents one-third of the true number.

Right after Ronald Reagan's election and the growth of the Christian right as a constituency in the Republican Party, the reported number 'surged to 900 to 1000 books per year'—and again, that represented only a portion of the total number.

The majority of the books today that are challenged by school districts and libraries, Krug says, are those that deal with sexual orientation. The mindset that believes books are somehow corrupting children—or 'indoctrinating' them into homosexuality—is the same mindset that believes that there is one book that is the law of the land and should remain on the shelves no matter how much sex and violence blares from its pages.

'I believe, like the Bible says, that we're all born with a sinful nature and capable of choosing the right path,' Sally Kern, the Oklahoma legislator, told me two weeks ago, appearing on my radio program.

'I don't believe people are born gay.' The wife of a Baptist preacher, Kern says that all the books in the children's section of the libraries must 'define the standard of the community.'

She believes we have simply become 'too open-minded' which has caused 'our brains to fall out.' It may sound like she's the one whose brain was lost somewhere, but people like Kern are now making laws in communities across the country.

Legislators in Louisiana, Alabama and elsewhere are following her lead in removing any books that deal with homosexuality—except for those that are antigay—from children's sections of libraries, which fast leads to their disappearing entirely.

As Judith Krug of the ALA explains it, once you take a children's book out of the children's section and put it in the adult section, the book never gets checked out—since it is meant for children. Soon enough, it's taken off the shelves entirely, since the library needs to make room for books in demand.

It's the slow but thorough road to censorship. And once you censor books about specific groups of people, you're on the way to making that group completely invisible.

There's no sex in kids' books like King and King—just love, companionship and nurturing.

Kern acknowledges this, but rails that the books promote unlawful behavior—a chilling reminder of why it is important for Christian conservatives to make laws against homosexuals.

'There's no sex in [ King and King ] but what the book does is it encourages the lifestyle of homosexuality, which is against the law here in Oklahoma,' Kern claims, 'because we passed a state law, a constitutional amendment that says marriage is to be defined between one man and one woman. In this book two men get married and so it is going against the law in Oklahoma.'

What about all of the violence in some fairy tales? What about Hansel and Gretel? Little Red Riding Hood?

'Those stories aren't advocating that kids go out and be violent,' she explains—even if they are scaring the daylights out of kids—'but the homosexual books are telling children to adopt the lifestyle.' And how about Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs? Isn't that one a hotbed of lust and intrigue? After all, I said to Kern, Snow White kisses the Prince, and at one point the Prince isn't even human—he's a frog! 'The difference there,' she responded, 'is that that is still in the heterosexual lifestyle.'

Yes, I know I got my fairy tales mixed up—and she didn't even catch me. Snow White of course didn't kiss the toad and turn him into a prince. Snow White was actually dead, having eaten a poisonous apple given to her by a woman as wicked and nasty as Sally Kern, and it was the prince who kissed her and brought her back to life.

But I'm certain that, just as Rep. Kern believes bestiality is OK as long as it is in the 'heterosexual lifestyle,' she'd be OK with straight necrophilia too. Anything but homosexuality.

Michelangelo Signorile hosts a daily radio program on Sirius OutQ 149. See the Web site www.signorile.com .

ALA In Chicago

The 14th Annual Free Speech Buffet, sponsored by the Alternatives-In-Print Task Force ( AIP ) of the Social Responsibilities Round Table ( SRRT ) of the American Library Association will be Monday, June 27, during the American Library Association's annual conference in Chicago.

In keeping with the progressive tradition of SRRT and ALA's Library Bill of Rights, they organize the Free Speech Buffet to provide a venue for progressive and independent publishers to showcase their materials and mingle with like-minded librarians who have come to the conference from all over the country.

The event is 6-9 p.m., at Roosevelt University, 450 S. Michigan Ave.


facebook twitter del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

GUEST COLUMN Working with allies: Moving beyond the 'Kumbaya' in interfaith work 2017-02-22
VIEWS Senior moments 2017-02-22
LETTERS Lives at stake 2017-02-22
RELATIONSHIPS & THE LAW TODAY Guardians for disabled have new responsibilities 2017-02-15
VIEWS Time to play chess, not checkers with Bannon/Trump 2017-02-15
LETTERS House of lies 2017-02-15
GUEST COLUMN How Madonna taught me to ignore gender norms, embrace femininity 2017-02-08
Valentine's Day: Five steps to a hot and healthy relationship 2017-02-08
Trump vs. LGBTs, Muslims and refugees 2017-02-05
Free the Word 2017-02-01
HRC previews 2017 anti-LGBTQ actions anticipated in statehouses 2017-01-23
VIEWS Women's March memories in verse 2017-01-23
GUEST COLUMN The Embodied Power of Standing Rock 2017-01-18
VIEWS Most have all-gender restrooms at home. Why not everywhere? 2017-01-18
GUEST COLUMN Last Call at Irene's Cabaret 2017-01-11
VIEWS Kim Burrell shows how Black church abuses gay Christians 2017-01-11
THE AMAZON TRAIL The mightiest of books 2017-01-11
Open letter to LGBTQIA, wider community calling for resistance to fascism, Trump 2017-01-08
It's Time: Direct Election of Our President 2017-01-04
VIEWS Pope Francis needs his gay priests 2017-01-04
LETTER Security issues 2017-01-04
MOMBIAN LGBTQ families: Preparing for the year ahead 2016-12-28
VIEWS What can queer people expect from Pope Francis? Not much 2016-12-28
VIEWS The Trump era: Where do we go from here? 2016-12-20
SENIOR MOMENTS Not my president, not my first lady 2016-12-14
VIEWS Standing up at Standing Rock 2016-12-11
Religion and violence against women 2016-12-07
MOMBIAN Of hate and hope 2016-12-07
Relationships & the Law Today: Supreme Court looks at transgender bathroom policies 2016-11-30
MOMBIAN Picking up the shards 2016-11-30
LETTERS Making it better, Chicago Gay Men's Chorus calls for harmony 2016-11-30
Remembering Neysa 2016-11-23
LETTERS Saving land 2016-11-23
GUEST COLUMN 10 ways to support friends who are parents going through divorce 2016-11-20
THE AMAZON TRAIL Our only hope 2016-11-16
VIEWS On my dismissal from lectoring at Daylesford Abbey 2016-11-09
2016 Windy City Times General Election Guide, printable charts 2016-11-07
MOMBIAN Magazine uproar offers lessons on representation 2016-11-02
LETTER TO THE EDITOR Decisions for senior programming 2016-11-02
Open To Thinking: I Write: I Vote 2016-11-02
 



Copyright © 2017 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.