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Aired Mar 2, 2023

Queer Voices in the Time of Book Bans

Overwhelming majorities of American voters strongly oppose book bans, and more than half oppose them in all circumstances. However, they continue to happen in school districts and libraries across the country typically targeting books written by LGBTQ+ and BIPOC authors.

We hosted a conversation about this article as a part of PFLAG Connects and Something to Talk About Live on Thursday, March 2. Did you miss it? You can still watch it here!

Article: Willard school board bans book, suggests governor create rating system to restrict access

Source: Springfield News-Leader

Author:  Claudette Riley

Questions for Discussion:

  1. One of the people cited in this week’s article — a school board president — suggests that parents not focus on banning books, but advocating that the governor create a type of “rating system” to determine which students get access to certain books. What do you think of this idea?
  2. One advocate of book bans and censorship commented, “The books, we need to provide educational, uplifting, wholesome things. I just want you guys to elevate your standards instead of giving into the way of the world.” What do you think this parent intended to say with this statement? In your view, who should be deciding the standards for book evaluation?
  3. Do you think there is value in making books with diverse stories, perspectives, and characters available to students — even when some of the content may be perceived as challenging? Why or why not?

Bonus Resources: Check out “Book bans internalize ‘shame’ for young LGBTQ+ people, advocates say. Here’s how they’re pushing back” from the 19th by Orion Rummler and these resources from PEN America.

About Our Guests:

Arvin Ahmadi, author of Down and Across, Girl Gone Viral, and How It All Blew Up

Eric Cervini, author of The Deviant’s War: The Homosexual vs. The United States of America, activist, and historian of LGBTQ politics and culture

A special invitation…

Join us for PFLAG’s first-ever Read With Love Book Club meeting on March 27, where we’ll discuss How It All Blew Up. Arvin Ahmadi will be joining us for the discussion.

And don’t forget to purchase your copy of How It All Blew Up at shopqueer.co! ShopQueer.co is generously donating 20% of proceeds of Read With Love Book Club books back to PFLAG National.

Something to Talk About Live is a series designed by PFLAG National’s Straight for Equality program to create conversation about LGBTQ+ issues. Each week we offer an article on LGBTQ+ topics and suggest a few questions you can use to lead a discussion with your ERG, community group, or PFLAG chapter.