Daily Kos has covered the renewed Republican effort to stomp out LGBTQ+ people and identities. Whether it’s trying to ban trans girls from participating in girls’ sports, trying to keep trans people of all ages from using the correct bathroom, or trying to prevent youth from accessing safe, age-appropriate, lifesaving, gender-affirming medical care, conservatives have some clear goals in mind. One: Turn public attitude against an already marginalized group. Two: Stomp them out of existence.
Tied up in all of this is, of course, the book bans. We’ve seen conservatives at all levels of government fan false hysteria over certain books being available in public school classrooms and libraries. These titles are overwhelmingly by or about LGBTQ+ people, people of color, and survivors of systemic violence, but they’re being deceptively labeled as “inappropriate” or too “adult” for young readers. As reported by NBC News, ProPublica, and The Texas Tribune, a superintendent in Texas already told librarians to remove books about gender identity and sexual orientation from public school libraries in the district.
Jeremy Glenn, who serves as the Granbury Independent School District Superintendent, told librarians he was worried about students reading books including LGBTQ+ people and themes back in January, according to ProPublica. Now, this sort of lines up with the discriminatory missive sent from Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who said he wanted librarians to pull “pornographic” and “obscene” books from school library shelves.
But Glenn’s instructions reportedly referred to all books with LGBTQ+ themes—including ones that don’t have sex in them. Glenn argued such books don’t fit with the community’s beliefs and might expose students to inappropriate ideas.
“I don’t want a kid picking up a book,” Glenn said per a recording of a meeting he held with librarians on Jan. 10, per NBC News. “Whether it’s about homosexuality or heterosexuality, and reading about how to hook up sexually in our libraries.”
Glenn seemingly could not help himself, explicitly spewing transphobia. He told the group he was going to “take it a step further,” and then went on to share his backward ideas about gender identity.
“There are two genders,” he told librarians per NBC News. “There’s male, and there’s female. And I acknowledge that there are men that think they’re women. And there are women that think they’re men. And again, I don’t have any issues with what people want to believe, but there’s no place for it in our libraries.”
It’s truly astonishing that conservatives will in one breath say they don’t have “any issues” with something and in the next say they want to ban or criminalize it. The mental gymnastics!
Sadly, this is not an isolated issue. Republicans have been trying to pull, ban, or even burn books in a number of states across the nation. A Tennessee school board recently pulled Maus, an award-winning graphic novel about the Holocaust, from its eighth-grade curriculum, for example. Parents in a school district in Kansas went viral for trying to get All Boys Aren’t Blue, a young adult memoir by award-winning journalist George M. Johnson, pulled from schools.
In Texas alone, more than 800 titles have been threatened. These books are, again, largely by and about marginalized people. That means students who might feel especially heard and seen by the content (or might learn and grow from reading it) are missing out on valuable connections and learning opportunities.
At the end of the day, we know book bans aren’t even popular in polling. But Republicans will spread hysteria and hype up an issue until it catches on with mainstream voters. Again: It’s not really about the books. It’s about the people represented in them, and about stomping them out.
You can hear the recording of the superintendent here.
Published with permission from Daily Kos.