The US is continuing to ban LGBTQ+ books from schools and public libraries in an assault on queer literature. A report by PEN America shows that in the 2022/23 school year, over 1,500 books were removed from public access.
LGBTQ+ books banned
Fuelling the ban is the rhetoric around books featuring LGBTQ+ characters not being “age appropriate” or “sexualising” children. Of course, we know that this is not the case and that having access to a wide range of literature is important. Everyone wants to see themselves reflected in literature and it is equally important to see others too, so that empathy and understanding can be built.
Florida, the state of “don’t say gay”, is the state that is banning most books. Worrying, as Trump’s greatest rival in the upcoming presidential race is the governor of Florida.
The full list of banned books can be found here on PEN’s website, here.
Included on the list are This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson and Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Melinda Lo.
But it’s not just LGBTQ+ books that are being banned. Also included in the list are books about other marginalised identities, including people of colour, immigrants and religions.
Why does this matter?
As LGBTQ+ authors and writers, we all strive to tell authentic stories of our queer experiences. But book bans mean our audiences cannot reach our books and read those wonderful stories so we must do everything we can to stop this censorship.
Without access to great literature from diverse backgrounds and writers, there is a risk that all the great advances in LGBTQ+ rights and equality will be forgotten or, worse, those hard-won rights will be eroded.
Books matter. If you believe that great LGBTQ+ stories need to continue to be told, and you have written one, please get in touch today to discuss how I might be able to support you and your LGBTQ+ writing.
Receive my newsletter!