Saturday, February 6, 2016

Gay & Lesbian History For Kids

Gay & Lesbian History For Kids

Juvenile fiction
I grew up woefully unaware of the history of the fight for LGBT
rights even though a lot of that history was being made then. I
wasn't even all that aware of LGBT people's rights or lack thereof.
My mother and her fellow college professors alluded to a couple of
male colleagues as odd ducks. I heard people use words like fags and
dykes without a clue as to their meaning. That was when LGBT people
were considered mentally ill and/or criminal. That's probably why
kids were being kept in the dark.
As a society we have come a long way in the right direction.
Young people are now seen as capable of understanding gender and
sexuality issues. Heck, often they're more comfortable discussing
them than my peers. Literature written for them reflects new
sensibilities. Jerome Pohlen's Gay & Lesbian History For Kids is a
great example of this.
The book begins with a poignant narrative. A toddler was in a
hospital in a life or death medical crisis. A child in that situation
needs the comforting presence of parents. If his mothers, Theresa and
Mercedes, had been a heterosexual couple they would have been
routinely admitted to their son's room. But because they were
lesbians they had to fight for their right to be with him.
At the end of this very attention grabbing introduction readers
are invited to go back in time to understand the forces that had led
up to that moment in time. In a narrative that goes back to the
ancient Greeks and Chinese they are introduced to the events and
people central to the struggle for equality.
Among other things, they will learn that:
*Ancient Greece was comfortable with homosexuality and some of its
most influential people were gay;
*Louisa May Alcott, never wed author of children's classics including
Little Women, said, "I have fallen in love with so many pretty girls
and never once the least bit with any man.";
*During the years of Joe McCarthy's Red Scare, gays were persecuted as
relentlessly as suspected Communists;
*On December 1, 1952 the New York Daily News headline read, "Bronx GI
Becomes a Woman. Dear Mom and Dad, Son Wrote, I Have Now Become Your
*Betty Friedan once feared that the feminist movement would be
hijacked by lesbians, the "lavender menace."...
The lively and informative text is interspersed with many well
chosen photographs. There are related activities for young people to
try. This is a book I really wish had been around when my children
were younger.
On a personal note, Thursday was so warm people were running around
without coats. A lot were thinking spring was here. Penobscot
County, Maine in February? As if! I warned them against
complacency. Well Friday it snowed all day.
A great big shout out goes out to my husband and the others who plowed
around the clock last night.
Julia Emily Hathaway

Sent from my iPod

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