Elementary school serves as the initial basis for the formation of a child's education and knowledge base. Children are perceived as innocent and impressionable beings, and therefore, the material presented to them in an educational forum is heavily censored. A fear of corruption and perversion is ever-present, particularly in regards to sexual education. Sexuality is commonly considered an inappropriate topic for children and therefore, the information given to children within a sexual education setting is extremely limited. Content that is habitually censored from sexual education is material pertaining to sexual deviancy. Information regarding homosexuality is absent from countless elementary schools, which is a reflection of heteronormative society. As a result, censorship in sexual education fosters ignorance and intolerance towards the homosexual community. This is predominately exhibited through the prohibition of books that contain homosexual content. The text And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson is a prime example of such illicit literature and will be utilized to analyze the censorship of homosexual content within elementary schools.
The initial effort in censoring homosexual content in America occurred in 1873 when the United States passed a bill entitled, An Act for the Suppression of Trade in, and Circulation of, Obscene Literature and Articles for Immoral Use (Greenblatt 247). This law made it illegal to distribute obscene, lewd, or lascivious materials (247) within the United States, which included information concerning homosexual behavior. More recently, in 2005, House Bill 30 was presented in the Alabama legislature, which prevented the use of state funds for the purchase of textbooks or library materials that sanction, recognize or promote homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle (252).
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