LGBTQ+ media-advocacy organization GLAAD is publishing a new back-to-school guide on how to respond to book bans and school censorship, titled "Back To School [Redacted]."
The organization also announced that it has joined two national efforts to fight censorship and the targeting of LGBTQ books: the Unite Against Book Bans campaign and the Banned Books Week Coalition.
GLAAD's new guide offers tools for responding to the rising wave of censorship that targets LGBTQ books and school curricula, including ways to report book bans and discrimination, and resources for free access to LGBTQ books and materials.
In 2022 so far, state legislators have proposed at least 93 anti-LGBTQ school policy bills across numerous states.
In 2021, the American Library Association counted 1,597 individual book challenges or removals and said that most titles were by or about Black and/or LGBTQ people.
Between July 2021 and March 2022, a PEN America report found 1,145 titles were banned in 86 school districts across 26 states.
Extremist groups and officials have been targeting libraries and threatening to strip funding if they won't remove LGBTQ titles. Ridgeland, Mississippi Mayor Gene McGee attempted to withhold library funding earlier this year because he personally disapproved of LGBTQ books on display, and Michigan's Patmos Library is believed to be the first to be fully defunded over opposition to LGBTQ books in its collection, and is now threatened with closure. (Editor's note: Private citizens have launched a GoFundMe page for the Michigan library at https://www.gofundme.com/f/fund-patmos-library-for-2023.)
GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said, ""Everyone deserves to see themselves reflected in the books they read and at school, and that includes LGBTQ students, families, and teachers. The increase in book bans and anti-LGBTQ school censorship is disturbing, and we all need to come together to protect free speech and to support targeted authors, teachers, librarians, and school board members. GLAAD is proud to join the Unite Against Book Bans campaign and the Banned Books Week Coalition to help ensure that LGBTQ voices are not silenced by extremists, whether in classrooms, libraries, or any media."
GLAAD's new guide is at www.glaad.org/blog/back-redacted-guide-battling-book-and-school-censorship-students-parents-and-school-staff .