8 of Top 10 ‘banned books’ feature LGBTQ content
This week marks the American Library Association’s (ALA) Banned Books Week, an annual week-long event celebrating our freedom to read and bringing awareness to the current and historic attempts to censor books in libraries and schools.
Whether you’re a student, a parent, a reader, librarian, journalist, teacher, publisher or bookseller — it’s in everyone’s best interest to stop censorship and support our freedoms to seek out and express our own ideas, if if some people consider those ideas unorthodox or unpopular.
This year, the ALA has released its Top 100 list of banned and challenged books over the past decade. You see the full list here.
What’s most striking and notable about the list is just how many challenged books have LGBTQ content, which becomes striking when viewing the list of the Top 10 challenged, banned, and censored books from 2019.
Eight of 2019’s Top 10 books feature LGBTQ content, which many of them including discussions of gender identity. The list in 2019 was compiled from 377 challenges made to library, school, and university materials, including 566 books that were targeted.
George by Alex Gino
Reasons: challenged, banned, restricted, and hidden to avoid controversy; for LGBTQIA+ content and a transgender character; because schools and libraries should not “put books in a child’s hand that require discussion”; for sexual references; and for conflicting with a religious viewpoint and “traditional family structure”
Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin
Reasons: challenged for LGBTQIA+ content, for “its effect on any young people who would read it,” and for concerns that it was sexually explicit and biased
A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss, illustrated by EG Keller
Reasons: Challenged and vandalized for LGBTQIA+ content and political viewpoints, for concerns that it is “designed to pollute the morals of its readers,” and for not including a content warning
Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg, illustrated by Fiona Smyth
Reasons: Challenged, banned, and relocated for LGBTQIA+ content; for discussing gender identity and sex education; and for concerns that the title and illustrations were “inappropriate”
Prince & Knight by Daniel Haack, illustrated by Stevie Lewis
Reasons: Challenged and restricted for featuring a gay marriage and LGBTQIA+ content; for being “a deliberate attempt to indoctrinate young children” with the potential to cause confusion, curiosity, and gender dysphoria; and for conflicting with a religious viewpoint
I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
Reasons: Challenged and relocated for LGBTQIA+ content, for a transgender character, and for confronting a topic that is “sensitive, controversial, and politically charged”
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity and for “vulgarity and sexual overtones”
Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
Reasons: Challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and for concerns that it goes against “family values/morals”
Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
Reasons: Banned and forbidden from discussion for referring to magic and witchcraft, for containing actual curses and spells, and for characters that use “nefarious means” to attain goals
And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson illustrated by Henry Cole
Reason: Challenged and relocated for LGBTQIA+ content