Thursday, May 03, 2007

the case of the disappearing lesbians

Don't ban books. Banning books is stupid. It's also wrong. Stupid and wrong. Banning books makes me tired. It's even ineffective as a mode of thought control because it elevates books into cult status, so just don't do it. Someone should tell the good people of Bartleville. Because looky. One banned book, Maureen Johnson's The Bermudez Triangle. Because some of the characters happen to be girls who kiss girls. Oo-freaking-er.

(Yes, that's right, the way to cure gayness is PRETEND IT DOESN'T EXIST. Anyone who thinks such attitudes are going to lead to marginalised, disenfranchised and confused adolescents is clearly a sissy. I met a lesbian once and I completely ignored her and she like, fully vanished, right before my eyes. It's as easy as that. Of course this means we'll lose about 2 in 10 girls in high schools (and a lot more if we count the ones who experiment or experience moments of confusion about their sexual identity). But what sort of life were they going to have anyway?)

In all seriousness, I wrote these people a letter and you can do that too. The email addresses are available here. Because book banning is disgraceful. I am going to put my email in the comments so it doesn't end up all big and diatribe like in this post (one day I am going to have to learn how to hide some of the post, so posts aren't so scary long.)


  1. Dear Janet Vernon, Richard Rosenberger, and Chuck McCauley,

    I am the author of three books for Young Adults (2 of which have been published in the US), as well as an editor of YA books in Australia. I am also the parent of two daughters.

    I am deeply dismayed by the news that you have banned the novel the Bermudez Triangle because it contains gay characters. I am morally and ethically opposed to book banning, but never more so than when the reasons are as thin as simple prejeduce, in this case homophobia. Like you, I have the interests of student welfare at heart. Unlike you, I don’t think further alienating and marginalising teenagers is in the interests of student welfare.

    In my experience, teenagers are critical and interpretive readers. If they read Harry Potter they don’t assume that they can use a broomstick to fly. In the whole history of the planet, I doubt that anyone turned gay from reading a book where two girls kiss. However, I am sure that girls have struggled to balance friendships and relationships, and as these are the real themes of The Bermudez Triangle, I am sure there are a number of girls who would benefit from reading this novel (utilising and further honing their interpretive and critical faculties).

    I hope you will reconsider your decision to ban this book, utilising your own interpretive and critical faculties as you engage with the text, as I am sure you intend to do.

    Best wishes,
    Penni Russon
    Melbourne, Australia

  2. Nadia2:59 PM

    This is disgusting. And how typical is it that the people on the panel that banned the book hadn't even read it?