This month’s mini-challenge is to talk about why this challenge and issue are personally important to us. I have been very fortunate in my life because I have been exposed to all kinds of people. While I did not necessarily grow up in a big city, it is a kind of melting pot because of the influence of the military. I went to school with all kinds of people, of different races and cultures, and also of different sexual orientations. It wasn’t always the most welcoming place (there is racism, sexism and homophobia, just like any other place in the world), but it was a really great place to grow up, especially when it came to diversity. I am not necessarily joining this challenge to be exposed to different types of people, but rather to put in the spotlight books that are important reads. Books that everyone should be reading because one of the best benefits of reading is the opportunity to be exposed to an infinite number of differences.
Over the summer I had a conversation with my middle sister, who hasn’t really had the chance to grow up in a diverse place like I did. One day she made an inappropriate comment about being gay and I sat her down and had a conversation with her. I explained to her that accepting gay people does not necessarily mean you are going against your religion and God and that there are plenty of people who believe in God and still support gay rights. I explained that there is no excuse for making hateful comments, even if you don’t agree with the way someone is living. I explained that no one should ever hate because someone else is in love. That is what I really can’t fathom. I think my sister understood what I was saying and at the very least she hasn’t repeated what she said around me again.
The more we are reading GLBT books, the more acceptance there will be. The more librarians are giving GLBT themed books to young readers, the more opportunity those kids will have to make a difference in the world. I am confident that in our lifetime same-sex marriage will be legal. The fact that it isn’t makes me physically ill and it is something that I really do not understand. I don’t often talk about my personal beliefs on this blog, but this is one that I see as a human rights issue, not a political issue. So that’s why I joined this challenge, because maybe if I read a book, someone else will read it. And then they’ll pass it on to someone else, and maybe, just maybe, it will do something small to change the world.