Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-04-18
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

VIEWPOINTS Election menagerie: Donkeys, elephants, guinea pigs
by Dana Rudolph
2012-10-31

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


I'm having a feeling of deja vu. Four years ago, I was waiting to see if Barack Obama would be elected president; waiting to see the outcome of a ballot measure in California that would decide the legality of marriage equality in that state; and baffled that a patron of a Colorado library had asked for the removal or reshelving of the children's picture book Uncle Bobby's Wedding, claiming it was "inappropriate for children" because it showed two anthropomorphic male guinea pigs getting married.

It's now 2012, and I am one again waiting to hear whether Obama will win the election; whether voters will allow marriage equality in their states; and baffled that yet another library patron (in Missouri) has recently asked that Uncle Bobby be removed from a local library.

Has nothing changed in four years?

Fact is, a lot has changed. Since the last election, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York and the District of Columbia have begun allowing same-sex couples to wed. Polls show an increase in support for marriage equality across the country. Gay men and lesbians can now serve openly in our military. A federal rule now requires hospitals to give same-sex partners visitation rights. Two federal circuit courts have ruled that the section of DOMA that prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriages is unconstitutional. Same-sex parents are even more visible on our television screens.

Nevertheless, some people still feel that a book showing two male guinea pigs getting married is a threat to children.

Uncle Bobby's Wedding, by Sarah Brannen, tells the story of young guinea pig Chloe, who worries that her favorite uncle won't have time to have fun with her after he marries his boyfriend. Uncle Bobby assures her that is not the case, and in fact, she'll be able to do things with both him and her new uncle. The book focuses on a young child's concerns about family relationships and change, and is not "about" same-sex marriage, per se. It just happens to include one.

As in 2008, the local library director is supporting Uncle Bobby's right to remain on the shelves. She told Brannen that the library board will soon vote on the patron's request to remove it, but all of the board members want to keep it, as do most of the more than 75 other patrons who have called or emailed about the issue.

What it boils down to, for me, is freedom of speech. Just because one person objects to the content of a book doesn't give him or her the right to prevent others from accessing it. I respect the library patron's decision that the book is not appropriate for his daughter; however, I am outraged that he wants to push that judgment on others.

Freedom of speech, however, is a concept that strong opinions and partisanship—especially around election time—may make us forget. I was reminded of this while driving through my neighborhood with my 9-year-old son. Near our house, a homeowner set up a giant "Mitt Romney" campaign sign, at least 10 feet long by six feet wide. My son, who knows I support Obama, said that he wished he could tear it down.

Much as part of me dislikes seeing neighbors cheer for the opposing candidate, my Democratic (big "D") leanings do not trump my understanding of what really matters in our democracy (small "d"). "You can't do that," I told my son. "Everyone is entitled to express his or her opinion. That's one of the key freedoms we enjoy in this country."

No matter our political persuasions (and I don't presume that every LGBT person is a Democrat), explaining emotionally charged political issues to our kids is never easy. Conveying freedom of speech at the same time is even harder. It is essential to do so, though, if we don't want our children to grow up believing people should restrict ideas simply because they don't agree with them. That attitude leads to people trying to ban books like Uncle Bobby from libraries.

What the next four years will bring, we can only guess. Regardless of the outcome of the election, however, we will grow more as people and as a country if we teach our children compassion and respect for different viewpoints. Leave gay guinea pigs in the library and political signs in the yards. That will leave us with our core values as a nation—and that is what will ground us as we press forward into the future.

Dana Rudolph is the founder and publisher of Mombian ( www.mombian.com ), an award-winning blog and resource directory for LGBT parents.


facebook twitter google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

VIEWPOINT Catholic LGBTQIs see mixed record in first five years of Francis papacy 2018-04-18 - Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of DignityUSA, recently issued the following statement in conjunction with the fifth anniversary of the election of Pope Francis: ...


Gay News

MLK's assassination reminds nation of gun violence 2018-04-11 - The 50th anniversary of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination is, sadly, a searing reminder of unaddressed gun violence in the ...


Gay News

GUEST COLUMN How #METOO Becomes Culture Change; Tradeswomen and Sexual Harassment 2018-03-28 - From a speech at the Chicago Women's History Center Screening of Anita Hill: Speaking Truth to Power, Jan. 13, 2018. Like so many ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINTS Cardinal Cupich, Church and families 2018-03-28 - Cardinal Cupich says Church should learn from families. We hope it will learn from all families. In a recent address at the ...


Gay News

SENIOR MOMENTS Letter from Palm Springs 2018-03-28 - Never in a million years did I ever think that I'd go to a gym. It's so out of character that I ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINTS The Seasoned Life 2018-03-14 - You might find this hard to believe, but it's true. Before I came to earth I had already picked out my parents ...


Gay News

GUEST COLUMN For theater critics, diversity, cultural connection imperative 2018-03-07 - A few years ago, at a town hall addressing the controversy that arose over reviews of Steppenwolf's production of This Is Modern Art, ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINTS Billy Graham's ministry of LGBTQ intolerance 2018-03-07 - The Reverend William ( Billy ) Franklin Graham Jr. ( 1918-2018 ) has died at the age of 99. Too often, hagiographies are ...


Gay News

GUEST COLUMN My journey, my story 2018-02-28 - I honestly knew ever since I was able to speak that I was not like other little girls. However, I didn't understand why ...


Gay News

THE AMAZON TRAIL My daily last straw 2018-02-28 - What exactly is the last straw? I thought it was the presidential buffoon's goading of North Korea, but I was wrong. Our government ...


 



Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.