As a gay man, seeing the attempts to remove LGBTQIA+ content from the shelves is almost hurtful. All my life books have been about the same thing; two straight white people meet and fall in love. But in recent years, I have finally had access to literature in which I can identify. I can relate to characters who realize they don’t identify as straight and find the same gender appealing. I can relate to those characters who have a family member or family members who think they are disgusting or sinful to be attracted to those of the same sex. Because of how I can relate to these pieces of literature, it helps me know that I’m not the only one going through this, and there are others who share my story. By banning books, children are being told they should stick to the group they were born into, but that mindset is what has brought our country to the state it exists in. No one can agree on anything because no one understands all aspects of the story. Without a diverse literature and proper education, our country could never move forward. Leave the books alone.
If these books are being taken down for inappropriate content, we need to find out the root cause… Is it because these books are about serious racism, sexuality, gender and real harm? Why shouldn’t people learn to identify, treat others with respect, understand how to help/support your BIPOC community, support victims, and understand the horrors inflicted on LGBTQIA BIPOC people? Learning or understanding these issues will improve your society, the empathy people have for others, and have a way to have empowerment and community.
— Ez., California
Members of the LGBTQ community and minority groups use these books as an outlet and a way to connect to the world to feel supported…Removing these books creates feelings and feelings of not being accepted or having the right to be part of communities. Personally, I feel like with schools removing these books, it opens up a sense of shame. It silences those groups, communities, people, making them feel invalid, even humanized.
Just like Petocz, I am also a student at the school, and during these times of withdrawal from these books, it worries me that my passion for knowledge, and my passion for understanding my society and myself, is being hampered by the someone’s opinions on what is acceptable and what is not.
— Kyler, Reeths-Puffer High School
In school libraries, I think there should be more books on less popular topics like drug addiction, black authors, LGBTQ stories, and non-American authors. These books are eye-opening and encourage you to question your way of thinking. I recently read a book on addiction and learned to de-stigmatize recovering addicts because I know how easily someone can become addicted (Heroin, McGinnis). The book also discouraged drug use through honest education and brought to light lesser-known side effects.
— Emma, Cary High School
Simply banning books because they are too “sensitive” will only hurt young readers. Books are meant to enhance our understanding of topics, history, etc. The books that are on the banned list are all books that help readers understand certain topics to a great extent. As someone who never had a human figure to ask questions about sensitive topics, the books helped me answer my questions and my curiosity among the topics.
— Teada, Gray New Gloucester High School