Saturday, June 19, 2010

More Gay-Friendly Books in Libraries, Please!

Brent writes for a blog called The Naughty Book Kitties and guest blogged at Pinched Nerves, neither of which I'd heard of before but will be bookmarking for use later. Brent's guest article is about how he found the lack of gay-friendly books in libraries unencouraging; he was even told he'd have to go somewhere else for 'inappropriate titles'.

There were a couple of parts of his article I found interesting: there's his explanation of how reading made him feel - comfortable.

I felt comfortable with books, with the characters. I knew that they didn’t care whether I was different or not. They were just characters, after all, and they were too busy telling me their story to care whether or not I was gay. Reading was my escape. I felt normal while reading.
I remember that feeling, too. It's an especially valuable one when you're a teenager and any misstep might earn you humiliation. It wasn't so bad for me personally, but I think if I'd been in a high school where most kids had a cellphone that could take video, I'd've been worse off. The second was this:

People really write about this stuff? I thought. It felt . . . great. Imagine that you are an alien on your own planet. And imagine you find out that there are more aliens, just like you, on your planet. And imagine what it would be like–to know that someone knows what it’s like. What you’re going through.
This is one of those things I love about reading, how it can take you away and maybe that place you go is somewhere you'd think you'd fit in for once. Or even just somewhere you'd want to go. All the adventure, none of the bugs and injuries.

I think feeling alone is one of the hardest parts of growing up, and I think gay kids have it rough in that regard. That's why it's so important to have books there for kids to turn to, to help them feel better about themselves, to tell them they're wonderful and just fine the way they are when maybe the world around them doesn't. I'm thinking maybe I should take down the titles of some of the books on Naughty Kitties and check if my local libraries have them. If they don't, I think I'd like to put in requests for them.


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