'Daddy's Roommate' vs. 'Alfie's Home': Round Two

Article excerpt

In a previous column (AL, Oct., p. 880) I asked whether libraries should balance Daddy's Roommate, a controversial children's book that features a loving and supportive father who happens to be gay, with Alfie's Home, another controversial children's book that depicts a young man who grows up thinking he is gay (he has been sexually molested by his uncle) but who discovers through counseling that he is really heterosexual.

The issue is whether for the sake of "balance" we should acquire books that promote unfair or incorrect stereotypes against oppressed minorities. In this case, Alfie's Home creates the impression that homosexuality is a curable sexual disorder. By contradicting the recent genetic research indicating that homosexuality is actually an involuntary and irreversible orientation, the book may well be misleading and prejudicial. It should be noted, however, that the author of Alfie's Home, Richard Cohen, claims that the book is autobiographical. In a recent letter to me he wrote: "No one chooses to be homosexual, but anyone can choose not to be if s/he so desires."

Of the 537 readers who responded to the column, 72% felt that Alfie's Home belongs in libraries, and 28% felt that it does not. Here is a sampling of comments:

Alfie's Home should be in libraries:

* As a person currently involved in reparative/healing therapy I can attest to the fact that my sexuality is not a total function of genetics. Walk a mile in my shoes before you pass judgment.

* The conservative Christian position is that a loving God created mankind and set it up in ideal circumstances. Mankind chose to sin instead of serving God. All sin arises from man's fallen condition. Homosexuality is a deviation from God's plan. It is not normal and certainly should moted.

* Homosexuality is not natural. Everything in nature reproduces. Homosexuality does not and cannot reproduce. Therefore, it is unnatural, and the practice of it is a perversion of sexuality that is proper. Since homosexuals cannot reproduce, they recruit!

* People need to know that during World War 1, when England permitted gays to advance in military rank, the military structure began to fall apart rapidly. A few years ago in San Francisco, when, unfortunately, the annual ALA meeting was held concurrently with the gay pride parade, I had to make my way through the parade to get to the convention center. I saw many abominable things, but the one sight that really made me sick was that of a young boy being led by a group of men who had put a dog collar around his neck. …