Western Courier

Books on homosexuality still battling censorship

Maddie McGuire Courier Staff

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Censorship is unfortunately a pertinent issue in our society today. Our society does not like to be taken out of our comfort zone. . The best way to overcome major issues in society is to expose ourselves to things we are unfamiliar with.

The article Say Yes To Gay YA by Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith talks briefly about a book they tried to get published. The authors stated, “The agent offered to sign us on the condition that we make the gay character straight, or else remove his viewpoint and all references to his sexual orientation.”

Brown and Smith stated, “When you refuse to allow major characters in YA [young adult] novels to be gay, you are telling gay teenagers that they are so utterly horrible that people like them can’t even be allowed to exist in fiction.”

When young adults sit down to read a book, frequently the reader is looking for a story to relate to their own lives. Some readers are bisexual or homosexual. Publishers are attempting to limit what the author can and cannot write about – this is where censorship comes into play.

Fortunately, we have writers such as award-winning author David Levithan. Many of his main characters are either bisexual or of homosexual orientation. One of his books, “Will Grayson, Will Grayson,” which was co-written with John Green, was a New York Times bestseller.

This incredible novel is about two boys who are both named Will Grayson. The first Will Grayson, whom I will refer to as O.W.G, is a straight high school student with a homosexual best friend named Tiny. The second Will Grayson, whom I will refer to by name, is struggling to come out of the closet. One night O.W.G and Will Grayson meet coincidentally. Not only does this book talk of coming of age issues, but it also stresses major issues faced in the gay community. Will Grayson, is a regular person,but because society views homosexuality as being wrong he struggles to come out.

O.W.G struggles with talking to girls since he is extremely shy, which many people can relate to. Boy meets girl; Boy likes girl; Boy gets girl; Or, vise-versa. Homosexuals and bisexuals struggle with the same issues as any other teenager.

Society has to realize that love is love – no matter where it comes from. David Levithan and John Green do a wonderful job demonstrating this concept.

I strongly suggest reading “Will Grayson, Will Grayson,” as it opened my eyes to some of the struggles that even straight males go through. I always thought males were talking about one of two things: sports or sex. But, that was ignorant on my part, and this novel opened my eyes to even gender issues.

In order to overcome issues such as race, sexuality and gender , we need to step out of our comfort zone. If you, as a reader, do not know personally what struggles different groups go through then take some actions.

Read a book or an article; watch a documentary; and, don’t be afraid to talk to a person of another ethnicity, gender or etc. We are all human beings with the exact same emotions and struggles. And, the sooner we realize this and broaden our horizons, the faster our society is going to advance for the better.

 

 

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
Books on homosexuality still battling censorship