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An ex-gay movement wants libraries to carry their books. What other discredited theories should libraries include?
A Chicago-based group called Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays is urging libraries to carry literature about reformed homosexuals.
The national non-profit organization is arguing that the alleged successes of their "gay reversal" movement are not being heard because libraries refuse to carry their books, such as You Don't Have to Be Gay and A Parent's Guide to Preventing Homosexuality.
One has to wonder just what genre those books would fall under, exactly.
"According to Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the [American Library Association's] Office for Intellectual Freedom, ALA policy recommends diversity in book collection development by libraries, regardless of partisan or doctrinal disapproval. However, Caldwell-Stone refuses to state whether that diversity policy includes ex-gay books," PFOX executive director Regina Griggs said in a press release.
"Books about leaving homosexuality are censored in most high school libraries, although gay-affirming books for youth are readily available," she continued.
However, the American Psychological Association, along with most mainstream medical groups, has said that mental health professionals and parents should avoid telling young people that they can change their sexual orientation.
In 2008, the American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, and National Association of Social Workers stated in an amicus brief to the Supreme Court of California:
"Sexual orientation has proved to be generally impervious to interventions intended to change it, which are sometimes referred to as 'reparative therapy.' No scientifically adequate research has shown that such interventions are effective or safe." (PDF)
Libraries may have limited shelf space, but they should still carry a well-rounded collection of books that represent various points of view. Just because books are inaccurate or provide insufficient evidence for their claim, that doesn't mean they don't provide anything of value to potential readers, right?
Along with ex-gay books, libraries should start carrying science books that argue that the earth is flat, and tabloid magazines that interview women who claim to be impregnated by Martians.
Why don't more libraries have shelves labeled 'Pseudoscience' or 'Discredited Theories'?
If people are truly seeking these titles, we can't expect them to just visit Amazon or Borders or Barnes & Noble or one of the hundreds of bookstores online. No, libraries should be required to carry all documents, accredited or not.
After all, how else will our youth learn self-loathing?
Matt Bartosik, a "between blogs" blogger and Chicago native, attends group therapy in hopes of changing his hair color.