In celebration of Ex-Gay Awareness Month, Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX) and Voice of the Voiceless (VoV) are urging the American Library Association (ALA) to include ex-gay books in advance of its "Banned Books Week," September 22-28, when the ALA publicizes unpopular books censored by libraries and schools. ALA has refused to acknowledge the routine banning of ex-gay books in school and community libraries across the United States as a part of their efforts to end censorship.
"Every week is 'Banned Books Week' for the ex-gay community," said Regina Griggs, Executive Director of PFOX. "Books about leaving homosexuality are routinely censored in high schools and community libraries across the United States, while gay-affirming books are readily available for any young person questioning their sexuality."
"Kristin Pekoll, the librarian in charge of young adult books at the West Bend Community Memorial Library in Wisconsin, advocates for children's books with gay themes but refuses to accept our donation of ex-gay books for children. Public libraries are supported by all citizens, and it is appalling that tax dollars are supporting such censorship and viewpoint discrimination," said Griggs.
Christopher Doyle, President and Co-Founder of Voice of the Voiceless, which advocates for former homosexuals, individuals with unwanted same-sex attractions (SSA), and their families, compares such actions to child abuse. "What if a sexually-abused child walks into a public library looking for information as to why he/she has unwanted homosexual feelings? That child is not going to receive accurate information from homosexual-affirming books, which often promote the myth that people are 'born gay' and cannot change. As a former homosexual and victim of childhood sexual abuse, having access to ex-gay literature would have provided me with some much needed hope that I could heal from that abuse and overcome unwanted SSA. The very idea that a school or community library is banning a book because of political correctness is contrary to our country's ideals of liberty and the pursuit of self-determination."
It is also contrary to the ALA's policy against book banning, yet the ALA features Kristin Pekoll as a speaker for its conferences on intellectual freedom and First Amendment issues. PFOX and VoV are calling upon Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom, to publicly condemn the censoring of children's ex-gay books in the West Bend Community Memorial Library and in any community.
PFOX and VoV are encouraging all participants of Banned Books Week to fight censorship by reading an excerpt from an ex-gay book, video record it, and submit their video to the Banned Books Virtual Read-Out YouTube Channel. "Our children and grandchildren deserve access to all views on sexuality and sexual orientation, not just politically correct ones. Public libraries should be for everyone," commented Regina Griggs. "People seeking positive life change need the love and support of their friends, family, communities, schools, workplaces, and places of worship," said Griggs.