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‘This Book is Gay’ Young children ‘shocked’ by gay sex book in library

‘This Book is Gay’ Young children ‘shocked’ by gay sex book in library

This Book Is Gay by James Dawson

A guide to growing up gay has prompted outrage among parents in Wasilla, Alaska, where the book was shelved in the juvenile non-fiction section.

‘This Book is Gay’, by young adult author James Dawson, features practical advice for LGBTI young people, along with frank sexual advice – all wrapped in a bright rainbow cover.

One parent, Vanessa Campbell, told the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman that her 10-year-old picked the book off the shelf to discover ‘frank drawings and descriptions of gay sex acts’, prompting her to complain to the library.

After Campbell’s complaint, a Wasilla town hall meeting on November 23 drew dozens of local parents who turned up to protest the book’s positioning.

‘I can’t imagine what kind of person would order that material and want to make it readily available for children,’ another parent said. ‘That is straight-up pedophile kind of behavior.’

Chapter titles in the book range from ‘Coming Out’ to ‘The ins and outs of gay sex,’ and include detailed descriptions of anal sex such as: ‘With the right water-based lube, however, it can be hugely enjoyable — a good kind of pain like a deep tissue massage.’

The American Library Association labels young adult books as those appropriate for those aged between 12 and 18, and juvenile books as those appropriate for readers age 8 to 12.

While fiction books in each category were housed in separate sections of the Wasilla library, the non-fiction books were housed together.

Now, following a further meeting, the book, and around 300 other young adult non-fiction books are set to be reshelved to the adult non-fiction section.

The committee decided that although Mr Dawson’s presentation of information was ‘very frank’, it filled a void in the literary world.

‘As the library director referenced, there are teens that are struggling with their sexual identity in our community that will seek out this book to find information that they can relate to,’ committee members wrote in a statement.

‘The committee feels this book meets the selection policy of WPL and meets a community need of information on this issue for the [young adult] community.’

They added: ‘The committee believes that the library would not be fulfilling its mission if the book were placed in a restricted area, or if a young patron could not easily find the book without staff help.’

‘The Committee wants the book to be accessible to those that need and want to read it without the patron feeling uncomfortable about taking the book off the shelf.’

The book is now being recategorized and will receive a new Dewey decimal number of 613.9, moving out of the juvenile section and into the sex education section.

Dawson said: ‘In 2015, when you read of people comparing gays to pedophiles you just despair.’

‘I always think, as a community, we’ve come so far and achieved so much—but then you read something like that and realize there is still such small-mindedness and hatred left to contend with.’

He added: ‘Young people are ready to talk and think about sex at different ages. As ever, I utterly trust in the judgement of librarians.’