Group calls on libraries to include ‘ex-gay’ books in Banned Books Week

Group calls on libraries to include ‘ex-gay’ books in Banned Books Week


An organization for people who have left homosexuality is asking the American Library Association (ALA) to include “ex-gay” books in its annual Banned Books Week.

The Chicago-based Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX) said in a press release that it has tried to secure a statement from the ALA opposing “the censorship of ex-gay books.”

“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,” PFOX executive director Regina Griggs said in a Tuesday statement.

"Books about leaving homosexuality are censored in most high school libraries, although gay affirming books for youth are readily available,” she continued.

Griggs reported that Charlie Makela, the supervisor of library services for Arlington County, Virginia public schools rejected PFOX’s donation of ex-gay books, but accepted books from homosexual 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?” she asked.

She added that other libraries will not accept a donated copy of an ex-gay book for children but will circulate several picture books with homosexual themes 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."

Griggs contended that ALA’s sexual orientation policies that advise librarians to resist excluding books about “sex, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation” should also include former homosexuals.

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