I haven’t posted anything yet concerning the recent controversy over And Tango Makes Three, the children’s book based on the famed gay penguins of the gay penguins of the Central Park Zoo. Apparently, parents in Missouri raised such a ruckus that they got the books removed from the children’s’ sections of two libraries, and reshelved under non-fiction.
The reason for the hysteria? Well, some folks justify it by claiming they just want to control when and how their children learn about gay families. Sounds reasonable at first, but not so much if you think about it for a minute. I was all ready to write a response when I noticed that Steve over at Adamant Sun had it pretty much covered.
You can take the book out of the library, but you cannot take the child out of the PUBLIC classroom funded with our tax dollars. So one child will turn to another and say ‘I have two dads’ (or two moms). And so you did NOT get to decide when to expose your child to same sex families. All you did was deprive your child of an educational book. Period.
If it is that imperative to you, you need to homeschool your child, build your own closet to shut the world out, and not look to gay families to live in one.
I can’t say it much better than that, but I’ll piggyback on Steve’s comment and just add that parents who object that much to a book about a couple of male penguins adopting an abandoned egg are going to have their hands full as their children encounter the real world on a regular basis. Because our families are there too, and we’re not hiding them.
It works something like this. The kids in Parker’s day care know that Parker has a Daddy and a Papa. The kids he eventually goes to school with will figure it out too as the hubby and I intend to be involved in his education. I’ve already been to a couple of parent-teacher conferences, and he’s only three years old. And I’ve already got some recipes in mind for the first PTA bake sale. If he plays a sport or performs in a school play, the hubby and I’ll will be front and center cheering him on. Not because we’re making a political point, or trying to “shove our lifestyle down everyone’s throat,” but because we are simply going about the business of being a family and doing it in the open just like everyone else.
So, if your kid goes to my kid’s school, lives on our street, takes swimming lessons at the same Y, or happens to spot us in the grocery they’re at least going to learn that gay families exist. What you teach them about us is entirely up to you, though they will probably figure out that we don’t have horns and that we actually buy food just like everyone else. If you want to keep our existence from them, then either you’re going to have to go into the closet or we’re going to have to go back into the closet. And we’ve already made our decision.
The whole thing just underscores something I’ve said before. There are some people who want a world where families like ours don’t exist, or at the very least aren’t seen or heard. And they’re pretty pissed that we won’t give it to them. As parents, we basically know how to handle those kinds of tantrums. Sometimes we have to not give it to them for their own good, and ours.