Books featuring LGBT+ content are once again dominating the rankings of the most-banned books – with two trans kids’ books coming top.
The American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom collates an annual list of the most commonly banned and challenged books at libraries across the US, which has long shone a light on the ongoing censorship faced by authors who address LGBT+ themes.
This year’s list is no different, with a staggering eight of the top 10 books in the list targeted over LGBT+ content — the fourth consecutive year that queer books have made up more than half the list.
LGBT+ books continue to dominate the banned list
Topping the list is the novel George by Alex Gino, which was “challenged, banned, restricted, and hidden” in libraries across the country because it features a transgender character.
The second-placed book, Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin, is based on interviews with six transgender young adults. In third place is A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss, which features a gay rabbit — and was produced for John Oliver’s topical TV show Last Week Tonight.
Also making the list are gay fairytale Prince & Knight, trans teen Jazz Jennings’ book I Am Jazz, Raina Telgemeier’s queer graphic novel Drama, and inclusive sex education resource Sex is a Funny Word.
The only non-LGBT+ books to make the list are The Handmaid’s Tale and Harry Potter — the latter of which does not contain any actual visible LGBT+ representation but is nonetheless reviled by evangelicals for its depiction of witchcraft.
American Library Association says LGBT+ books ‘misrepresented as pornographic’.
The American Library Association said: “Challenges to library materials and programs addressing issues of concern to those in the LGBTQIA+ communities continued unabated in 2019, with a rising number of coordinated, organised challenges to books, programs, speakers, and other library resources that address LGBTQIA+ issues and themes.
“A notable feature of these challenges is an effort to frame any material with LGBTQIA+ themes or characters as inherently pornographic or unsuitable for minors, even when the materials are intended for children and families and they are age and developmentally appropriate.
“For example, a pastor in Upshur, West Virginia, challenged the children’s picture book Prince & Knight, claiming that the fractured fairy tale ‘is a deliberate attempt to indoctrinate young children, especially boys, into the LGBTQA lifestyle.’
“Similarly, an organised group in Loudoun County, Virginia, protested the addition of diverse children’s and young adult books addressing LGBTQIA+ themes and characters to classroom libraries, claiming that the books advance a ‘political agenda’ endorsed by the LGBTQIA+ community.”
The ALA noted that “organised groups” with “conservative Christian beliefs about gender and sexual identity” have continued to protest and disrupt Drag Queen Story Hour events held in libraries, with more than 30 such challenges to Drag Queen Story Hours and other Pride events.