Ex-Gays Launch Library Drive

The ex-gay movement’s trying to make moves into public libraries.

Right-wing non-profit PFOX, Parents and Friends of ExGays and Gays, recently urged members to sent local libraries some suggested reading, like Arthur Goldberg’s Light in the Closet: Torah, Homosexuality, and the Power to Change, and A Parent’s Guide to Preventing Homosexuality, by Joseph and Linda Nicolosi. Both titles, we’re sure, are page-turners.

PFOX supporters are also further encouraged to tell libraries they have no reason to “censor” such materials. Except, we hope, a conscience.

Not one to be left out of an anti-gay throw-down, Americans For Truth’s Peter LaBarbera passed word along to his own brethren, telling them to join the fight and help form the world’s most self-righteous book club!

From Edge Boston:

LaBarbera’s posting announced that his organization and P-FOX would work together with what LaBarbera termed “other pro-family groups and ministries” in order, LaBarbera wrote, “to attain–at the very minimum–balance in the selections that libraries carry on the homosexual issue.”

Added LaBarbera, “There is no logical or common sense reason why taxpayer-funded public libraries should make available every latest ’gay’-affirming book–including those designed to open up young minds to the false and dangerous notion that homosexuality is normal–while NOT carrying faith-based and ex-’gay’ books that oppose a pro-homosexual ideology.”

Libraries, however, should be sure to check out the content of suggested tomes. The American Psychiatric Association has said before that reparative therapies are known to cause great anguish for the subjects. And we wouldn’t want taxpayer-funded libraries supplying such materials, now would we?

Perhaps LaBarbera and his PFOX pals would be better off starting some schlocky mobile library. That way they can drive into gay neighborhoods and trick the boys into taking out a book or two. But they’ll have to trick them, so rather than calling a book The Battle For Normality, it can be The Battle For Norman. As in Norman’s soul…

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  • PearlsBeforeSwine

    From the ACLU website:

    “How much we value the right of free speech is put to its severest test when the speaker is someone we disagree with most. Speech that deeply offends our morality or is hostile to our way of life warrants the same constitutional protection as other speech because the right of free speech is indivisible: When one of us is denied this right, all of us are denied. Since its founding in 1920, the ACLU has fought for the free expression of all ideas, popular or unpopular. That’s the constitutional mandate.

    Where racist, sexist and homophobic speech is concerned, the ACLU believes that more speech — not less — is the best revenge.”

    Historically, the battle has been to get public libraries to carry books that are pro-day, even when the books are provided at not cost to the libraries.

  • Daniel

    While I agree, Queerty, that these books are horrible, I think we need to keep one thing in mind. Recall how many times you’ve blogged about gay books being banned. Inclusiveness comes at a cost. We can’t fight for a more tolerant mainstream if we push down other groups.

    The Christian right is hateful because they believe one thing: that our actions are condemnable in the eyes of God. I know my parents are so concerned about my homosexuality because they love me SO deeply that they can’t bare the thought of me being without them in heaven. Do I believe them? No. I haven’t believed them in years. Do I believe that they are acting in the best way they really understand how? Yes.

    We are all offended and appalled by these books… And I believe we have a right to be. Unfortunately, the Christian right sees homosexual literature as equally as abhorrent.

    We need to take the higher road; say that while we are saddened by the groups addition to the library, we believe that they have a right to contribute books just as we do.

  • ajax

    If one enters a library, one can read books on diets that ruin one’s health, processes that ruin our planet, and religions that ruin one’s mind. Oh, and there’s some good stuff in libraries, too. Yin and yang. PFOX’s recommendations belong on library shelves.

  • Eminent Victorian

    A library is home to books and other media on all subjects–whether you like that or not is not the point. It is not the library’s job to educate, simply to provide, without aligning itself with one bent or another. This is what freedom is all about.

  • mark

    The “ex-gay” batsh*t crazies really need to move up their game into THIS CENTURY.

    Libraries are no longer even the top three places students get information anymore. You can put your bullsh*t on your Christian Reich websites NO ONE VISITS.

  • mark

    Maybe they can make audio books of this garbage and have the dolcimer voice on “Ann Coulter of the KLONDIKE”(Palin) give the books that shrill nasally fingers on a blackboard quality.

  • Stef

    The books sound asinine, but I actually agree with them…if they carry one, they should carry the other. PUBLIC libraries…you should be able to get everything, even batsh*t crazy books on lies…

  • Wayne Besen

    We need to take the higher road; say that while we are saddened by the groups addition to the library, we believe that they have a right to contribute books just as we do.

    It should only be allowed at libraries only under the fiction section. It would be inappropriate to place it under non-fiction, as such books at least make a stab at the truth.

    This is not merely two opposing viewpoints. The ex-gay industry deliberately uses false information, fake studies, bogus theories and flat out lies about gay life. There is absolutely nothing factual about their books.

    It is not correct to say that books belong on the shelves that say gay all gay people are molested unless there is some actual science to back them up.

    There are millions of books. Libraries much make choices. Why choose books with fake science that is nothing more than propaganda? How does this help educate children? How is this the “high road?”

    I support free speech, but let’s not be so open minded that our brains fall out.


    I agree with all far. Let them have their books in the libraries side by side with all other Abrahamic religious books, if you think about it the Bible, the Koran, the Tanakh and all other organized religious books for that matter say the same thing about us. So lets not be like african Americans and forget the many times we GLBTs have been banned and our voices silenced. If our books are better and speak the truth as we all know they do we should fear nothing these hateful bastards make up about us.

  • Bryan Thompson

    “if they carry one, they should carry the other. PUBLIC libraries…you should be able to get everything, even batsh*t crazy books on lies…”

    really? Libraries should carry every point of view, despite how asinine it is? I should write my library asking why they don’t carry books that quest the “theory of gravity” and support intelligent falling theory. I’m sure there are flat earth books that should refute those secular geography books that tell us that the earth is round. I also think I’ll ask the libary to put the alternative history sci-fi books in the non-fiction section, hey, it could be true!

    enough sarcasm- Libraries have very limited funds to choose books to educate the community, they shouldn’t spend taxpayer money on books that are demonstrably false like the ones that PFOX pimps out. even if they were donated, the library still has a large cost to put it in it’s database, catalog it, loan it out, etc.

  • porsha

    Live and let live! Just because it’s on the library shelf doesn’t mean that I have to read it. And, even if I should read it, that doesn’t mean that I have to believe it. Wise men lisp learning, fools shout folly (PW1927).

  • AJ

    “Where racist, sexist and homophobic speech is concerned, the ACLU believes that more speech — not less — is the best revenge.”

    This is a false dichotomy. It is not a matter of unrestricted speech but of responsible speech. Nor is it a matter of seeking revenge but of promoting the public good (why all the war metaphors for these things?). In Canada, if these so-called “books” were placed in a public library, they would be the subject of a Human Rights Tribunal complaint, as well they should be. And they would be removed, one way or another.

    Wayne Besen is right: there is no legitimate equivalency here, and libraries do make choices.

  • Puddy Katz

    We have to let all books into the library.

  • Puddy Katz

    AJ this is not Canada. We have a stronger notion of the First Amendment. And what you call responsible someone else (a fundamentalist) would call irresponsible. So no, that distinction just doesn’t hold.
    For better or worse there is less consensus in the social sciences and humanities than in the sciences and therefore we have to allow a larger range of opinions, including ones we consider debunked.

  • John

    It might not be Canada, but the ACLU has a far more expansive view of the First Amendment than our legal establishment.

    According to the United States Supreme Court, the First Amendment doesn’t apply to books deemed “obscene” or that are judged to violate “community standards of decency.” Nor does it protect libelous publications from being pulled from the shelves. The courts have also held that cities may – in certain circumstances – limit and regulate the distribution of any material that endanger the “public safety.”

    If you don’t like the way the authorities use their censorship powers, then vote them out of office. But trotting out the First Amendment rethorically is absolute meaningless when the courts have said many times that speech isn’t absolute.

    And quite frankly, “this is a free country” (both a cliche and lie) has become the refuge of morons who have no money to hire a lawyer and fight back.

  • John

    And AJ, I’ve been to Canada (mostly BC) many times.

    I heard more than a few inappropriate racist and homophobic comments during my visits to Vancouver and Victoria. So, who are we kidding here?

    Even if we accept censorship as a reality, and I do, you can’t really control the fact that some people are simply jerks.

    And what police or RCMP officer would arrest some punk kid for yelling “faggot” on the bus? It just doesn’t happen. Parliament might’ve outlawed a practice. But Ottawa’s a long way from the real world.

  • AJ

    I live in Vancouver (Canada). Inappropriate racist and homophobic comments bear no relation to the matter of homophobic material in public libraries. Who is kidding whom indeed?

    (As an aside, last week I saw a couple of teenage boys snogging each other on the bus. No one said a word.)

    My partner and I know people from almost every religious and ethnic strata: Sikhs from India. Muslims from Indonesia. Buddhists from mainland China. We’ve never experienced any homophobia or sense of exclusion from any of them. Not everyone is equally enlightened. But in a culture in which intolerance is no longer seen as being socially acceptable, it certainly seems an improvement over the endless culture wars south of the border.

    A stronger notion of the First Amendment? Not a stronger notion but a different one. In Canada we tend to look for ways to regularize rather than anathematize: not how to ban the outsiders but how to include them. The emphasis is on harmony rather than polarization. A recent poll found that 75% of the population that disagrees with same-sex marriage on religious grounds accepts its reality as a facet of modern society. Liberal education does the rest.

    Less than 25% of adult Canadians attend church regularly. Canada is far from perfect, but there may be a lesson here: if not for the Democrats (whom we love and adore) then certainly for the Republicans.

  • greybat

    Okay! Okay, already! PUT the wretched books in the libraries!
    Can I at least linger in a dim corner and write helpful annotations in the margins, like the xians do in ours?
    It’s not really vandalism if you call it an annotation…

  • John

    (Inappropriate racist and homophobic comments bear no relation to the matter of homophobic material in public libraries.)

    Absolutely no relation at all? Really?

    So, if a person were to have a magaphone and denounce homosexuality on the steps of the library, it would be less disruptive to the average citizen than having “homophobic material” inside the library – where one would actually have to go look for it?

    Or would you have us believe that “fucking faggot” means something different in Canadian English than it does south of the border? I’ve heard that colorful metaphor uttered more times on BC Transit than I care to remember. Comparatively, I’ve seen very little overt homophobia and racism riding L.A. Metrorail or San Francisco’s BART system. So, if I were to base my opinion solely on experience, I’d say Vancouver was more right-wing than Los Angeles and San Francisco.

  • AJ

    “I’d say Vancouver was more right-wing than Los Angeles and San Francisco.”

    Exactly. Which is why Canada has had same-sex adoption for over twenty years, same-sex domestic partnerships for over ten years, and same-sex marriage for over five years (over ten thousand legally recognized same-sex marriages in Vancouver alone). Because we’re so much more right-wing.

    Regardless of your (apparently idiosyncratic) experience with BC Transit (something which neither I nor any of my friends have ever experienced), most of us manage to get along very well with most of our neighbors, most of the time.

    But God bless America. God bless the Republicans and John McCain and Sarah Palin. Clearly, you’re about to get exactly what you want. Enjoy!

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