During Banned Books Week, we highlight the importance of the Freedom to Read. But what does that mean, exactly? While we welcome patron comments about materials in our collection, upholding intellectual freedom means we believe our collection should have something to please and offend everyone. That means a well-rounded collection should include materials that someone will find objectionable.
This year, the library’s Banned! Books in Drag program hosted by David Schmader at Neighbours Nightclub on Saturday, 9/27 from 6:30-9:00 p.m. is aimed at highlighting just how many books are challenged nation-wide every year because they contain LGBTQ content.
Here is a selection of titles that were challenged in libraries for their LGBTQ themes:
Geography Club by Brent Hartinger
Originally published in 2003, challenged in 2005 and 2009. Challenged in 2005 in Washington State: Withdrawn from the Curtis Junior High and Curtis Senior High school libraries after a University Place couple with children in both schools filed a written complaint. They wrote that the book could result in a “casual and loose approach to sex,” encourage use of Internet porn, and the physical meeting of people through chat rooms.
GLBTQ: The Survival Guide for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Teens by Kelly Huegel
Originally published 2003, challenged 2005. Challenged in the Fayetteville High School library. The complainant also submitted a list of more than fifty books, citing the books as too sexually explicit and promoting homosexuality.
Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx
Originally published 1997, challenged in 2005 in Texas. Retained at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Austin. The private school returned a three million dollar donation rather than submit to the donor’s request that the novella be removed from the school’s list of optional reading for twelfth graders.
You can find more of the list, here. And don’t forget to check out our many Banned Books programs! And don’t forget to celebrate your Freedom to Read with us and some amazing drag performers at Neighbours Nighclub on 9/27!