The American Library Association has announced their annual list of most-banned and challenged books is dominated, once again, by LGBTQ+ content.
Six of the eleven books that made the list faced objections due to their LGBTQ+ themes and messages. The Association list is usually a top ten, but there is a tie this year making it eleven.
“Books for youth with LGBTIQ+ content are consistently on our list of most challenged books; this trend goes back to the mid-1990’s, when Nancy Garden’s ‘Annie on my Mind’ was banned by a school board in Texas,” Deborah Caldwell-Stone, interim director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, said in a statement.
“That said, we are noticing a greater number of challenges to books with LGBTIQ+ content, especially those that have transgender characters and themes.”
The most banned book is Alex Gino’s 2015 novel “George” about a young transgender girl, which anti-LGBTQ+ activists have accused of “mentioning ‘dirty magazines,’ describing male anatomy, ‘creating confusion,’ and including a transgender character.”
Second on the list is John Oliver’s parody book “A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo” based on “Marlon Bundo’s Day in the Life of the Vice President,” authored by Vice President Pence’s daughter, Charlotte. It’s been revealed that Charlotte actually purchased a copy of the parody book, aware of the fact that proceeds are donated to The Trevor Project and AIDS United.
Other books on this year’s top 11 list that were challenged or banned due to LGBTQ content include the “Captain Underpants” series, “Drama,” “This Day in June” and “Two Boys Kissing.”
The ALA explained: “Literature helps us navigate the world by shining a light on challenging and uncomfortable topics. Censorship leaves us in the dark. Shutting down discussion only ends up spreading fear, distrust and ignorance.
“That’s why it’s more important than ever to keep the light on by allowing everyone to access materials from all viewpoints.
“The best defence against censorship is knowledge is awareness.”
The report also notes that there is “an increase in attempts to censor drag queen story hours and LGBTQIA+ programming,” in addition to general book censorship. Plus, there is specifically highlighted the incident of public book burning of LGBTQ+ inclusive books outside Iowa’s Orange City Public Library in October.
The five other books that made it into the top 11 are: “The Hate U Give,” which was “challenged because it was deemed ‘anti-cop'”; “Thirteen Reasons Why,” for “addressing teen suicide”; “This One Summer” for “profanity, sexual references, and certain illustrations”; the “Skippyjon Jones” series for “depicting stereotypes of Mexican culture”; and “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” for “sexual references, profanity, violence, gambling, and underage drinking, and for its religious viewpoint.”