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'Gay literature' included in new California K-12 recommended reading list

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The California Department of Education has released its new reading list for K-12 students, and for the first time ever it is recommending kids read so-called "gay literature."

The updated list, which includes more than 7,800 recommended books, is meant to prepare students for college and the ever-changing world.

Included for the first time are winners of the Stonewall Book Awards, which recognize lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender literature.

"It's good to teach kids that everyone is different, and we are all people and that we can all be accepted for who we are. I think it's really great to see these books being recommended," said Spencer Douglas with the LGBT Youth Task Force.

The books are recommended according to age - from young kids' activity books celebrating gay rights leader Harvey Milk to books for older kids like "I am J," a novel about transgender teens and "Totally Joe," which tells a story about a boy coming out.

Social conservatives are appalled, saying such topics promote alternative lifestyles and have no place on the state's official reading list.

"Your children are not being taught rigorous academics or critical thinking. They're being taught social engineering that will hurt them physically and emotionally," said Randy Thomasson the executive director of SaveCalifornia.com.

The new book titles are recommended, not mandatory, and the state insists they were not chosen because of their LGBT themes.

"It's not based on content at all. It's mostly based on the quality of the literature," explained Lupita Alcala with the California Department of Education. "It could be non-fiction, fiction, biographies and poetry."

Lupita hopes the broad spectrum of literature will actually get kids excited about reading and writing.

"I've seen the Harvey Milk activity book and it doesn't really make a big deal of Harvey Milk's sexual orientation. He was a guy that really stood up for everyone," Douglas said.

The list also includes newly published works on immigration such as 'De Donde?" a book that talks about alternative reasons why people come to the U.S. illegally.

(Copyright ©2014 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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