On Thursday, February 28, the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) released “Defend LGBTQ Stories: A Resource,” which offers an overview of common arguments made by would-be censors and provides techniques for advocating for LGBTQ stories in local schools and communities.
According to NCAC, books centering on LGBTQ characters remain among the most frequently challenged and banned in schools and libraries. The resource addresses “Why are LGBTQ books restricted?” and includes information on anti-gay laws that govern school curriculums in some states. For example, Alabama, Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas prohibit schools from “promoting homosexuality” or presenting same-sex issues in a positive light.
In response to these arguments, the new NCAC resource describes “5 Ways You Can Defend LGBTQ Books.” This section includes contact information for the NCAC’s Kids’ Right to Read Project, which supports and offers guidance to anyone confronting censorship, as well as specific actions that can be taken to defend LGBTQ books, such as petitioning schools and library officials to defend challenged books and strengthening schools’ policies to prevent officials from removing or restricting content without committee review of its educational merits.
“The freedom to read stories about people of diverse sexual and gender identities can validate and empower all youth, especially those who may identify as LGBTQ,” writes the NCAC. “LGBTQ representation in literature can also promote tolerance and acceptance of all human difference, including sexual and gender identities.”