As our series comes to a close, my interest in books about gay parents has not waned one bit - I will continue this search for years to come.
Last week, I visited the public library in one last attempt to uncover books that contained or focused on the existence of gay parents. I did not find any middle grade novels though, and without a reference list, I wouldn't have known what to search for at all. The availability is limited and it's not really labeled. I spent a good thirty minutes searching through every title from the list at Kris's blog and I found one book, as well as some other non-fiction works.
I had an odd revelation as I checked out my books. I flash-backed to 2002. I was working at that same library then and I was in 10th grade. After clandestinely looking at the cover of Rainbow Boys by Alex Sanchez for weeks, I finally decided to check it out. Of course, I had to mask my interest in the book and I checked out a book about surfing and football at the same time. The most ridiculous part is that I was checking the books out to myself and no one ever even saw me holding them. I was lying to myself, but opening a door at the same time. A closet door to be specific.
As I checked out the Sanchez book and its counterparts, my face burned. Months later, I checked out another Sanchez book, and the experience was much the same, but with less face burning. Soon after that, I checked out The Geography Club, by Brent Hartinger, because I thought the kid on the cover was cute. By that time, I was less mortified by the experience of checking out "gay" books.
Standing at the same counter last week, nearly ten years later, that flashback put a lot of my journey into perspective. I was chagrined when I realized how far I have come. I was checking out books that were deliberately about gay people, and I was not hiding them, I was flaunting them. I had no qualms about including the children's librarian in my discussion and no qualms about posting this series on my blog. I feel comfortable with myself - a rare moment in my life.
Essentially, that is the motivation behind this series: to recognize the existence of novels and picture books that contain gay parents - a direction toward which I am heading - and to call for more books that do the same. I know that I am not the only guy out there looking for books about gay parents for reference. I know that ten years ago I was not the only closeted gay kid learning about other like me through literature.
Thank you for joining Kris and me in this series. I never knew what I expected to find, but I am ambivalent about discovering something I have had all along.