The Department of Education has updated the list of 7,800 recommended books to include for the first time winners of the Stonewall Book Awards, which recognize the best in LGBT literature. The books are meant to prepare students for college and the ever-changing world.
To wit, young children can learn about gay rights activist Harvey Milk through an activity book, while older students have books like I Am J — a novel about transgender teens — and Totally Joe — about a boy coming out.
Predictably, conservatives think California is trying to indoctrinate their children and turn them all kinds of gay.
“Your children are not being taught rigorous academics or critical thinking,” Randy Thomasson, executive director of SaveCalifornia.com, told ABC News. “They’re being taught social engineering that will hurt them physically and emotionally.”
The Department of Education, however, insists that the books were not chosen because of their gay-altering powers.
“It’s not based on the content at all actually. It’s mostly based on the quality of the literature,” said Lupita Alcala of the Department of Education. “It could be non-fiction, fiction, biographies and poetry. We hope that they actually get excited about reading and writing.”
“I’ve seen the Harvey Milk activity book and it doesn’t really make a big deal over Harvey Milk’s sexual orientation,” added Spencer Douglas of the LGBT Youth Task Force. “He was a guy that really stood up for everyone.”
The update to the recommended reading list comes nearly two years after Gov. Jerry Brown signed California’s Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act into law, requiring textbooks to highlight the role of LGBT people throughout history. Opponents tried and failed to repeal the law last year.
(h/t: World Mag)