Monday, February 19, 2007


Librarians are banning a book because it contains the word "scrotum"? The book is “The Higher Power of Lucky,” by Susan Patron, and from what I've read it's geared to ten to twelve year olds and the scrotum referred to in the book belongs to a dog. And because of this word, librarians all over the country are banning the book.

No one in my family talked to me about sex when I was growing up. Not a word. Not once. I don't blame my parents. Sometimes you know you should do something and you just can't bring yourself to do it. God knows, there have been things in my life I couldn't face. My parents were uncomfortable with the subject because we are all -- despite the fact that erotic images of teenagers are used to sell products to us every day -- uncomfortable with the subject of teenagers' sexual lives.

I had about an hour of sex education in 5th or 6th grade. All the girls were sent to another room and a very young woman in a tight, low-cut seersucker pants suit came to our classroom, gave the standard biology explanation of human reproduction, and then giggled and blushed her way through a half dozen questions from a room full of boys. "What's a vagina?" "That's what you might know as a pussy." It was not helpful.

Nobody ever acknowledged how fucking weird everything had suddenly become. Nobody ever talked about love, or intimacy, or affection. (And -- and this is a whole nother reason to get indignant -- nobody ever ever ever even hinted that boys might start to find other boys sexy, or that girls might start noticing girls in a different way. Queer kids are pretty much on their own in that shame spiral.)

Thirty-five years later, people still can't see how it might be a good thing for their kids to be able to talk about the dog's balls and not feel ashamed or embarrassed? Can we just grow up, for god's sake? My heart aches for the kids who are trying to figure out what's happening with their bodies and their minds, who, instead of information and compassion, get a bunch of freaked-out adults pretending it isn't happening.

My favorite blog about gay stuff is Joe.My.God. and I loved what he had to say about this whole scrotum mess:

"Librarian Dana "Pee Pee" Nilsson says, "This book included what I call a Howard Stern-type shock treatment just to see how far they could push the envelope, but they didn’t have the children in mind. How very sad." Nilsson then excused herself to have a tinkle and powder her dirty pillows."

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