While censorship on books is not really a recent phenomenon, the choice of control has varied. According to a report in The Guardian, there has been a rise in attempting to remove children’s books featuring LGBTQ characters from libraries across the US.
The same report states that in The American Library Association’s annual list, which lists works “which are most challenged books in public, school and academic libraries”, displayed a similar trend. Since 2015, the year it was published, Alex Gino’s novel George about a young transgender girl, has topped it. As per the report, other books which raised the ire of people are And Tango Makes Three, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Presents A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, a LGBT children’s picture book about a gay rabbit. The two books in the top 10 which depart from this are Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series. The former is allegedly laden with overt sexual connotations and the latter is feared to contain actual curses.
The report quotes the library and states there has been a 17 per cent increase last year in “targeting” the books. A joint statement issued by more 40 free-speech groups, which includes National Coalition Against Censorship, GLAAD among others criticised this trend.
“When LGBTQ stories are silenced in this way, LGBTQ youth and children from LGBTQ families get the message that their own stories – their very lives – do not have value, that they are shameful. However, reading stories that acknowledge their experiences, in which they can recognise themselves and their families, reinforces their sense of self-worth and helps them overcome the experience of and feelings associated with social marginalisation,” their statement read.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines