Your mom is an a–hole who is having a typical a–hole reaction to having Two Boys Kissing in the Fauquier High School (FHS) library. This vulgar statement is not my perspective; rather, it reflects the response of characters in David Levithan’s book, and it mirrors his attitude toward those who would censor his book. “They will always be wrong.”
In an interview with Levithan, Malinda Lo commented: “And then of course there’s the possibility of people challenging the book.” Levithan responded: “As for challenges and censors: the book is called Two Boys Kissing. Why hide that? What good would that do? The people who are going to object to two boys kissing on the cover were going to object to the book from the moment I typed the first sentence. They can argue it all they want. They will always be wrong.”
Fauquier County Public Schools has thus-far supported Levithan’s position in a parent’s challenge to the book. According to The Falconer, after Mrs. Wilson challenged the book, an FHS committee consisting of the principal Tripp Burton, librarian Becca Isaac, English teacher Marie Miller, and student Sierra Aceto met to discuss the merits of the book.
On my first reading of the book, Levithan’s sound bites jumped off the page and bonked me on the head. After this dizzying start with Two Boys Kissing combined with a second reading to separate the voices of the living from the dead, I’d like to write a tidy summary for all of those folks who want to know what’s going on but don’t have time to do the dirty work. Well, bad news. That just isn’t going to happen. The social agenda in the book is far too extreme for a sweet little summary, and anything bigger than a BlogSpot won’t be finished before the hearing Wednesday.
Here’s what I’m thinking right now. The characters in Two Boys Kissing don’t tolerate contrary perspectives. When Ryan is sharing his story with Avery, he talks about the public response to his “coming out.” After he identified just about everybody as being supportive, he states, “The a–holes in school had the typical a–hole reactions.” (Note: The dashes are mine. The author doesn’t temper vulgarities.) Ryan “dyed his hair and started putting LGBT buttons on his bag and made noises about starting a GSA,” and then he referred to those who reacted as a—holes. Where’s Ryan’s tolerance? There is intentionally no character development for the a–holes, but with a GSA on the horizon, being anything less than an ally or an advocate could make you an a–hole. Challenging a vulgar LGBTQ book in your school library would certainly tip the scale.
According to the book, Ryan is right. The a–holes are wrong. It’s good for him to call them a–holes since he is right and they are wrong. This book legitimizes this behavior. Parents, for the moment, disregard the issue of homosexuality and ask yourself if this is the kind of tolerance you want your children to learn from a book in their school library? Administrators and school board members, do you sanction having Ryan or your high school students refer to one another as a–holes when they disagree with each other?
Parents, contact your elected school board members who represent you. Contact the FCPS administrators who direct the education of your children. Ask them to responsibly censor the written word as they do the spoken word.
Harper Reed Warrenton