Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Heterosexual Agenda

I'm sure this Loudon parent is an absolute gem

A children's book about two male penguins that hatch and parent a chick was pulled from library shelves in Loudoun County elementary schools this month after a parent complained that it promoted a gay agenda.

The book is based "on a true story . . . of what happens in the animal kingdom," said David Weintraub, director of Equality Loudoun, a gay rights organization. "It's about the joy of being part of a family. These penguins love each other. They take care of each other."

The book, "And Tango Makes Three," by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, draws on the real-life story of Roy and Silo, two chinstrap penguins at the Central Park Zoo in New York. It also appears to make a point about tolerance of alternative families.

The publisher, Simon & Schuster, offers discussion questions about the book on a Web site. One says: "Tango has two fathers instead of the traditional mother and father. Do you have a nontraditional family, or do you know someone who does?"

As the book says, Roy and Silo were "a little bit different" than the boy and girl penguins who noticed each other and became couples. "Wherever Roy went, Silo went too." After they tried to hatch an egg-shaped rock together, a zookeeper gave them a fertilized egg to nurture. Experts say male chinstraps typically share incubation duties with females.

The 2005 book, written with simple words and colorful pictures and dedicated "to penguin lovers everywhere," topped the American Library Association's list of banned or challenged books in 2006. Parents challenged the book in Shiloh, Ill., and Charlotte. Administrators in Charlotte initially yanked the book but later restored it, according to news reports.

In Loudoun, the book was challenged at Sugarland Elementary School several months ago, officials said, by a parent they declined to name.

Following school system policy, the principal convened an advisory committee of principals, librarians, teachers and parents to review the book. The group deemed it acceptable, and the principal concurred. The parent appealed. Another committee of administrators, librarians and parents reviewed the book. That committee, too, recommended that it remain in the collection.

Hatrick made the final call. Wayde B. Byard, a schools spokesman, said Friday that Hatrick made a "split decision." Although "Tango" was pulled from the shelves, it will remain in the librarian's collection. At 16 elementary schools, the book is now part of the professional collection, where it is stored with instructional texts and can be checked out only by parents or teachers.

"If you are putting something behind a desk, you are saying something is wrong with it," said Judith Krug, director of the office for intellectual freedom at the American Library Association. "It's a degree of censorship, because they are making access to information extremely difficult."

George said that the book helps teach a lesson that she wants her children to know: There are all types of families.

"We happen to be a mom and dad and a boy and a girl," she said. "But sometimes you have a grandmother and a mother, sometimes you have just a dad, sometimes you have two moms or two dads. The important thing is that it's a family of love."

Some parents and activists want to challenge Hatrick's decision and put the book back on shelves, but school system officials say there is no process to do that.

John Stevens, a school board member from Potomac, criticized those policies.

Stevens wrote that parents should determine what is appropriate for their children. "The school should not be an instrument of censorship for parents who want veto power over the judgment of other parents," he wrote.

What’s so bad about peace love and understanding? I'm sure Roy and Silo are better parents than whoever gets this worked up about penguins. And really don’t these kinds of hyper nutty parents realize their pushing a heteronormative agenda? Of course they don’t- every book should be about two parent families, one husband and one wife and for all of us who don’t think that’s ideal or who weren’t raised that way, we’ll our opinions can always be vetoed.

Plus it’s not like “And Tango Makes Three” was like any of these other books not likely to be in your local school library

and my absolute favorite

In real life Roy and Silo are now broken up...another tragic broken home

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