Tag Archives: Books & Authors

The Boy Scouts of America's 50th Anniversary Stamp (1960)

As I’ve read through the wide-ranging reactions to the Boy Scouts of America’s May 23 vote to lift the organization’s ban on openly gay youth, I’ve wrestled with some uncertainty and ambivalence about how to view the change.

Under the newly approved policy, which takes effect in 2014, youth may not be excluded from Scouting “on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.” But the BSA will continue to require the exclusion of openly gay and bisexual adults from leadership, employment and volunteer positions.

Some LGBT-equality advocates have argued that this is not progress. I was struck in particular by two on-line opinion pieces written shortly after the May 23 vote by prominent authors and advocates whom I greatly admire—Michelangelo Signorile and Ari Ezra Waldman—neither of whom pulled any punches in condemning the BSA’s recent policy change.

Related Link: The Boy Scouts’ Proposed Policy on Gays: Questions and Answers

Signorile’s piece at the Huffington Post (“The Boy Scouts: Demonizing Gay Men, Empowering Bashers on the Streets”) and Waldman’s piece on Towleroad (“The Boy Scouts Made it Worse”) are both powerful and worth reading in their entirety. Ultimately, however, I find myself in respectful disagreement with at least some of their conclusions. Unlike Signorile and Waldman, I believe that the BSA vote represents important progress, even if the organization still has a very, very long way to go. And I worry that it is counterproductive to condemn the vote as a step backward for gay equality.

LGBT Youth News Roundup: March 21, 2013

Posted by MK on Mar 21, 2013 @ 2:05 pm

Here’s some of the latest LGBT news related to and affecting youth:

Alabama Drawn on Black Board

Alabama’s anti-gay education law faces a repeal effort

• Two Alabama high school students are trying to get an anti-gay Alabama statute off the books. The statute requires teachers in sex education classes to teach that homosexual conduct is a crime and that homosexuality is “not a lifestyle acceptable to the general public.” The students’ petition is here.

• The California Department of Education has released a new list of recommended reading for K-12 students; the list includes works addressing LGBT issues. Read the full post

Emily Bazelon Authors Book on Bullying, Appears on Colbert

Posted by MK on Feb 21, 2013 @ 11:00 am

Emily Bazelon's Book, Sticks and StonesEmily Bazelon, author and blogger extraordinaire, has just published an important new book on bullying, Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy. New York Magazine reports that the book combines “immersive storytelling with a sturdy base of science underneath, and draws its authority and power from both.” Author Rachel Simmons writes that “Emily Bazelon is doing the most honest, hard-hitting investigative work on bullying in America today. Sticks and Stones is a page-turner, combining compelling personal stories, rigorous reporting and practical advice for parents and educators. Read it: It’s essential.”

I’ll be writing more about the book here at LGBT Youth Allies. In the meantime, you can read a New York Times interview with the author here, listen to an NPR interview here, and buy the book from Amazon here. Below, I’ve posted two related videos, one from Emily Bazelon’s website, and the other from the Colbert Report.


LGBT-Inclusive Book Back on School Library Shelves

Posted by MK on Jan 15, 2013 @ 8:47 am

Book cover of In Our Mother's HouseThe Davis School District in Utah has thankfully changed course, and will now allow students to access an LGBT-inclusive children’s book in the school library without a parental permission slip.

The change comes in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, which alleged violations of students’ constitutional rights.

For an earlier post commenting on the case, click here.

For an update on the school’s new position, click here.

To see the book, “In Our Mothers’ House” by Patricia Polacco, on Amazon.com, click here.


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Book in Chains

According to a suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) late last year, school officials in a Utah district have violated students’ rights by restricting students’ access to the book “In Our Mothers’ House” in the district’s elementary school libraries. According to the school, leaving the book on the shelves would violate a state law against “advoca[ting] homosexuality” in school.

Who is right?

Same-sex coupleOne of the weirdest arguments against same-sex marriage—and, unfortunately, one of the most successful so far in defeating equality claims brought by same-sex couples—is an argument known as the “responsible procreation rationale.” Anti-gay activists (and government representatives) have relied heavily on it for years in court cases around the country. Would they mind if we taught it in schools?

Read the fully post

A Pre-School Book for Governor Romney

Posted by MK on Oct 30, 2012 @ 4:14 pm
The Family Book by Todd Parr

Governor Romney can purchase the book for $6.99 on Amazon.

Today I’m writing to suggest a book to former Governor Mitt Romney: The Family Book, by Todd Parr. Though the School Library Journal recommends the book for children in pre-school through second grade, the book contains valuable lessons for people of all ages. And it’s clear from recent events that Governor Romney would benefit from reading it. Read the full post

A late August post briefly mentioned a recent study from the University of Michigan, which found the phrase “that’s so gay” to be associated with negative health symptoms among lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) college youth. It’s worth briefly highlighting that news item again, because the study helps shed light on an important issue—”microaggressions”—in the lives of LGBT youth.

Read the full post

Gore Vidal, 1925-2012

Posted by MK on Aug 1, 2012 @ 10:25 am
Gore Vidal, Photo Portrait by Carl Vechten, 1948

Gore Vidal in 1948, the year he published The City and the Pillar. (Photo by Carl Vechten.)

Posted by MK on 8/1/12

Gore Vidal died yesterday in California at the age of 86. Those unfamiliar with this literary and cultural giant may want to read the fascinating, richly detailed obituary in the New York Times–in addition to reading works by Mr. Vidal himself, of course. The Times calls Mr. Vidal a “an elegant, acerbic all-around man of letters who presided with a certain relish over what he declared to be the end of American civilization.” The obituary says that

Mr. Vidal . . . frequently declared that human beings were inherently bisexual, and that labels like gay (a term he particularly disliked) or straight were arbitrary and unhelpful. For 53 years, he had a live-in companion, Howard Austen, a former advertising executive, but the secret of their relationship, he often said, was that they had never slept together.

Mr. Austen passed away in 2003. His gravestone was inscribed at the time with both his name and Mr. Vidal’s.

I’ve read only one of Mr. Vidal’s 25 novels: The City and the Pillar, published in 1948. I’m happy to take suggestions about which other Vidal work(s) to read next. Even better, make a public recommendation by leaving a comment.

The Times’ piece says the following about The City and the Pillar:

Read more…