Do you know what your teens are reading? The folks at the Huffington Post do, and they're happy to report the emergence of gay role models in teen-focused literature.
In a July 19 post, contributors Jessie Kunhardt and Alexandra Carr highlighted 13 "great" novels for gay teens who want to explore teen homosexuality or find "fictional role models." Kunhardt and Carr praised the books as "worth a read" despite many of the books having generated complaints from parents and bans from schools and libraries.
The list included brief summaries and, in some cases, excerpts of positive reviews from mainstream publications including Publisher's Weekly and Booklist. The reviews praised the books for themes like "celebration of human differences," "be proud of who you are" and "love can lead to acceptance."
One highlighted book, "Kissing Kate," was written by Lauren Myracle, an author whose "TTYL" series topped the American Library Association's list of Most Challenged Books in 2009. The books, written in "instant message" format, have been criticized for offensive language and nudity, according to the ALA.
Another book, "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" by Stephen Chbosky, was celebrated as a teen literature "classic" by the HuffPo writers. "Perks" was the ALA's third most-challenged book for its depictions of "homosexuality, sexually explicit, anti-family, offensive language, religious viewpoint, unsuited to age grou, drugs, [and] suicide."
The Huffington Post is a vocal advocate for the mainstreaming of homosexuality through teen literature. Last June, the liberal blog posted an Associated Press article noting that there were "finally" books offering gay role models to teens.
And despite the ALA's list of Most Frequently Challenged Books, the organization has repeatedly shown its approval of the LGBT agenda in children and young adult novels. A report by the Culture and Media Institute found that in 2009 alone, more than 40 pro-gay books were given ALA awards.