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12/15/2009

Video: The Full Spectrum vs. The Aggressive Myopia

by Jeremy Hooper

The Full Spectrum is a collection of poems, essays, and personal stories, mostly contributed by gay, lesbian, bisexual, straight, transitioning, and questioning young adults in their teens or early 20s. It is designed to help vulnerable students realize that they are not alone in this world. It's meant to answer questions pertaining to the, well, full spectrum of young life.

The book isn't "dirty." In fact, on a microsite that Focus on the Family has set up for the sole purpose of decrying queer-inclusive literature, the only supposedly "crude" snippets that they can even highlight deal not with sex, but rather with topics like religious persecution and the need to make human connections via Internet meetups. Things that are realities for modern teens, especially closeted suburban ones. And again: These are personal stories, not all of which are meant to be the "right" thing to do. Some of them are meant to change the landscape so that LGBTQ kids can exist in the same benign way that their hetero peers currently do.

But why should Focus on the Family use any sort of fair-minded analysis when looking at books like this? Why should they compare and contrast them with the full spectrum of hetero-centric YA titles that fill the book shelves? Why should they address the kinds of persecution that make these kinds of books so tragically necessary? Why do any of that, when they can instead use these books to smear GLSEN, the many kids and parents who have been served by the group, and the presidential appointee who has dedicated his life to making schools safer:

The disgusting irony here: Focus on the Family probably has more bully-fostering chalk on their hands than any other organization in this nation! Their decades of ignoble work has fomented the exact kind of homo-hostile climate that tells LGBTQ kids that they are wrong and "immoral," and tells their parents that "ex-gay" therapy is the suitable parental path (**Here's actual evidence of a FOTF moderator doing this).

If given the choice between Focus on the Family's closure and the continued existence of pro-acceptance books, we (and presumably the authors) would gladly stop printing the latter. But that choice is not on the table. Crude bias still is. And as long as that is the way the land lays, most any attempt to cut through the disinformation machine is a noble one.

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