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Connecting the Dots

Issues around kids' books snowballs.

Boundaries of what Canadians have considered to be right are moving, apparently. What was considered pornography is now called sex education. My question is, why?

As I view the controversy, I also wonder who gets to decree something to be appropriate for children. Young kids’ ideas and very lives are in formation. Kids may not seem to believe everything adults tell them, but adult behavior and the laws we make are very influential. They are teaching points to our children and even to adults.

What do we want to teach ourselves and our upcoming generation? Sexuality is a very strong drive, along with hunger and fear. We have always had norms, mores and well, rules about how to satisfy these drives.

Relationships are another ultimate important piece for us. Sexuality can be part of the building blocks of the key relationships in our lives. From this we form partnerships, have families and if you look around, life is about our families. It’s about birthdays, graduations, trips, picnics, school, etc., and getting along at home and in all this we work to support our family life.

While sexual feelings or excitement is real for kids, it comes and goes. It’s part of growing up.

But now, I have read that there’s a group in Europe that are saying that sex with consulting minors (double speak for children) should be legalized. That’s ridiculous you say. And that will never happen. Well, I cannot think of a time – until now – when the likes of the book “It’s Perfectly Normal” in its updated format would have been deemed a book for children, as it is now in some libraries.

I watched a video of a father speaking to a school board in the USA recently. He was reading from that book, “It’s Perfectly Normal” and the school board chair demanded that he stop reading aloud as the book’s description of sexual intercourse became more and more graphic.

We read in a photo caption of a recent CBC story, “Grandmother calls on Brandon School Division to remove LGBTQ and sexual education books” (perhaps you’ve seen the story) that “a delegation at the Brandon School Division Board of Trustees meeting Monday called for some LGBTA, sexual education and other books to be removed from library shelves.” The books pictured with the story are What Makes a Baby, SEX is a Funny Word and It’s Perfectly Normal

Sex Is a Funny Word is described on book sellers’ sites as a comic book that includes lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans experience as well as gender creative … It is termed an essential resource about bodies, gender, and sexuality for children ages 8 to 10 as well as their parents and caregivers.

The Manitoba Library Association (MLA) has created a Toolkit it says, “in response to the actions of a group of individuals who have been actively working to censor materials contained in the South Central Regional Library (SCRL) collection since the fall of 2022. This group continues to work to defund the library system because SCRL continues to abide by the core tenet of intellectual freedom to provide free and open access to information for everyone.”

The MLA is concerned about book censorship efforts in the province and says the delegation to the Brandon school board has “falsely equated 2SLGBTQIA+ materials selected for school libraries as ‘pedophilia’ and ‘grooming’.”

The phrase “intellectual freedom” sounds commendable. However, again, it’s all in the definition.

During this era, children are being lured, groomed and abused sexually probably more than at any other time. I wonder what message providing graphic sexual books for children sends to not only the kids, but to society as a whole? Are the authors saying that children should engage in sexual activity?

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