By David Vandygriff
A majority of of Republicans believe books with LGBT characters should be banned from school libraries.
According to a YouGov survey, 55% of the GOP supports keep books like Heathers Has Two Mommies and And Tango Makes Three away from elementary school kids, and almost half (47%) want queer books out of middle school libraries. Some 38% said they shouldn’t be in high schools, either, and more than one in five (21%) want them banned from public libraries, as well. That would include classics like The Color Purple, Perks of Being A Wallflower and Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe.
By comparison, only a quarter of Democrats (26%) said elementary school libraries should ban books with LGBT characters or storylines—that drops to 13% when discussing public libraries. Nearly half of Democrats oppose banning queer books at all.
Republican lawmakers in four states—Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana—have authored legislation to banning books with LGBT characters and themes from school libraries in the past. None have been successful.
In 2016, half of the titles on the American Library Association’s list of Top Ten Most Challenged Books included LGBT characters, including Jazz Jennings’ memoir I Am Jazz, and David Levithan’s novel Two Boys Kissing. In 2015, Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, later turned into a hit Broadway musical, also made the list.
“We worry about what it means to define certain content, such as LGBTQ content, as being inappropriate for young readers,” Mariko Tamaki, author of the frequently challenged This One Summer, told the New York Times, “which implicitly defines readers who do relate to this content, who share these experiences, as not normal. When really they are part of the diversity of young people’s lives.”