Josh Getlin in the Los Angeles Times has an article about books for kids with gay characters.
Martha Freeman got the bad news at lunch from her publisher and literary agent. Although “The Trouble With Babies” had received good reviews, the sales of her children’s book about a young San Francisco girl were poor compared with the first title in her series, and the paperback rights would not be sold.
But more stunning was the reason: A brief passage buried in the book about two gay fathers and their adopted son apparently had discouraged many librarians across the country from buying the title. Although they had enthusiastically purchased Freeman’s previous book, “The Trouble With Cats,” the mere mention of the gay couple in her newest work raised the possibility of a public backlash.
The problem I think is that this nation really has a blue state-red state culture. The red state culture still does not accept openly gay culture, especially not open gay marriage. But, a lot of authors are flakely liberal type who see nothing wrong with it and live in artsy communities where it is accepted and the thought never occurs to them that some people would have a problem with it. [Ed. — grossly over the top stereotype. Yeah, but you remember Miss Kitty. Yeah, point.]
Getlin goes on to say
At a time when gay culture is gaining wider acceptance in American society — as reflected in television shows, movies, magazines, fashion trends and recent court decisions — Freeman’s experience is a reminder that sensitivities still run high on the issue, especially when it comes to marketing new books for younger children.
Now, I’ll agree that gay culture in the media is more prevalent, but how accepted is it? I know lots of people who watch Will & Grace because it’s a funny show, but these same people laugh at the effeminate character and view him as typical, and abnormal, something they dislike but find humor in.
That may make ratings go up, but is it acceptance? The same with the Queer Eye show — my wife and I watch it. The guys know their stuff, but that does not make me accept homosexuality more or less. We all get a laugh out of the clothing guy, but I don’t think that says too much about accepting gay culture.
I think one of the biggest issues right now is that gay activists sense they are on the cusp of greater acceptance and are now pushing to get over the last bit of inertia. In response, the traditional culture is starting to push back harder than it ever did.