I know, I know. I didn't do a post for Banned Books Week. To put it lightly, this week was a pain in the rear end, but that's no excuse for ignoring an issue this important, really. (Though I did manage to put out a Speak Loudly post.) I thought about just letting it slide, but in light of recent events, I'm going to get back on the soapbox for awhile.
I'm wearing purple on October 20th. (The link goes to the Facebook group.) Purple represents spirit on the LGBTQ flag, and spirit is exactly what everyone (LGBTQ and straight) needs to show in wake of the six (seven? I can't seem to get a consistent figure on this) suicides of gay teen boys in recent months: RIP Tyler Clementi, Seth Walsh, Justin Aaberg, Raymond Chase, Asher Brown, and Billy Lucas. Not to mention the countless attempts, as well as suicides by teens who had not yet come out as gay. Whether or not you feel that same-sex marriage should be legal, whether or not you feel this is *natural*, I want you to look at those faces and wonder: If we live in a world that is supposedly so modern and advanced and civilized, how can we continue to cause the death of these kids? As I've said, I live in a very conservative area, and I have to keep my mouth shut about my personal feelings most of the time. My family owns a business, and even mentioning homosexuality (much less support for it) would probably damage business, which we can't afford.
You know what, though? I am so tired about keeping my mouth shut about an issue that is so important to me. I'm not gay, but I have many friends and mentors that are, and they are some of the most amazing people I know. Not to say that all gay people are great, because they aren't, but it's not like us heterosexual folks are all perfect, either. And having weathered my mother and father's very bitter divorce, I'm much more inclined to be accepting of true love in all of its forms, whether it's conventional or not.
So what does this have to do with Banned Books Week? Out of the top ten most challenged books of 2010, nine of the ten listed sexuality as the reason they should be banned, three of those specifically referring to homosexuality. (To make the whole thing even more ridiculous, of course, Twilight has now joined that list despite its staunch abstinence viewpoint, but that is a post for another day.) Why is it that we are so intent on yanking books that have consoled so many teens from the shelves? It's not even about homosexuality, either, as the whole Speak fiasco proved. Why is it that our culture continues to stigmatize the victims instead of the perpetrators? Why is it that in this day and age high school boy can rape a girl, and she will be too scared of being called a slut to speak out? Why is it that an entire school can continue to torment a gay teen for something he or she can't help, and yet that teen can't reach out for help for fear of the doors that will slam shut if they come out?
I know I've spent a lot of time on the soapbox. I'm fifteen. I'm angsty. But I'm trying to direct that angst with this post, and I'm challenging you to direct it with me. I'm wearing purple October 20th, and I'll post pictures of me doing it. I'll even post a Mr. Linky, if you'd like. And now I'd like to know: Who's with me?