Our Interpretation

Sean and Liz reached similar conclusions on the case after working together to interpret the various perspectives they encountered. Sean and Liz feel that access to identity-building materials is important for young adults, especially those whose identity is in conflict with traditional values. Fiction is important in that it recreates reality in a concentrated manner than allows an author to explore specific challenges and resolve them in a way that carries larger implications about life. In a story like Rainbow Boys, the opportunity to experience three distinct gay perspectives struggling but eventually finding resolution is of inimitable value for teens that are struggling with similar challenges, as well as for straight teens that gain perspective and the ability to empathize. Sean and Liz were appreciative and surprised by the willingness of many of our participants to share their story; even a dozen years later, the conflict over Rainbow Boys is still meaningful because of the high stakes it carried for young adults. The case demonstrated that censorship is rarely an obvious issue when political and religious viewpoints guide perspective. Especially for librarians like Trish Warren, an important decision must be made with every book, determining whether a book’s message outweighs its perceived faults. Thus, the role of gate-keepers of information and perspective such as publishers, administrators, and librarians is of the utmost  importance in shaping young people’s experiences and feelings of identity and self-worth. The opportunity to work with one another, a variety of interviewees, and students and professors from around the US profoundly impacted Sean and Liz’s views on censorship and this case, and they hope that the website offers insight to readers going forward.