Perhaps I should have put all three of today’s posts under the singular heading of Tuesday Triptych of Too Stupid To Be Believed. First we had asshatted South Carolina politicians, and then we tossed in a homophobic nun on a speaking tour, and now this … more banning of books.
A high school in Warrenton, Virginia is once again considering a parent’s appeal to remove a book from the school’s library because it depicts two boys kissing on its cover. Oh yeah, the book is called “Two Boys Kissing.”
Written by David Levithan, “Two Boys Kissing” tells the story of two 17-year-old boys — a former couple — participating in a 32-hour kissing marathon in the hopes of setting a new Guinness World Record. The boys become a focal point in the lives of other teen boys who are dealing with their own long-term relationships, coming out, gender identity, while the kissing couple tries to figure out their own feelings for each other.
The book has previously survived a school committee review, but will now be subjected to a public hearing after one parent — Jessica Wilson — asked that the book be removed from the Fauquier County High School library. Wilson says it isn’t so much the content of the book — uh huh, I believe that —that she has a problem with, it’s that the cover art violates the school’s rules against public displays of affection.
“My first thought was that I was shocked. My second thought was, ‘Who purchased this book and why?’ This book just kind of felt snuck in the by library. I can’t imagine that there wasn’t another, more appropriate book they could have purchased that would have appealed to a wider audience.”—Jessica Wilson
Becca Isaac, the school’s librarian, says all book purchases follow strict school policies which state that the material should cover all “points of view on current and historical issues.” The policy also states that materials should not be removed because of “partisan or doctrinal disapproval.” And Isaac points to other books left on the shelves that show straight couples in a kissing embrace — which apparently also violate the school’s PDA rules — though Jessica Wilson has no problem with those books.
Hmmm, straight couples okay; gay couples no-so-much. Yeah, I think it’s pretty clear why Jessica Wilson has her Homo Hatin’ britches in a bunch.
Isaac says there are other books, with different subject matter, that seem to contradict Wilson’s illogical complaint:
“We have books that have guns on the cover and we don’t allow guns in school. We have books with drugs on the cover, it’s not the same kind of issue there…I’ve never had a formal complaint about a book.”
Isaac says this is the first time she’s seen a book go this far in the challenge process. While a school-based committee voted earlier this year not to remove the book, Wilson appealed the decision and the next step will be higher level committee appointed by Associate Superintendent Sandra Mitchell. That committee will interview Wilson and possibly other parents who are hiding their homophobia behind a school rule on PDAs, to either keep or ban the book, followed by a public hearing during which time anyone may speak to the committee; a finding from the committee would be immediately rendered.
Here’s the deal: Jessica Wilson has a problem with a book that shows two boys kissing; it’s that plain and simple, because she has no problems with straight couples kissing, or guns or drugs. And because of her homophobia, and her desire to remove any book she personally deems offensive from a public school library, she is advocating anti-LGBT sentiment.
She is saying that gay students are less than; gay students do not deserve the chance to read stories with which they might identify; gay students don’t count. She is sending a message to other students that gay students — even students perceived to be gay — have no place in society, no value in life.
That isn’t a parent, that’s a bully.