Book bans are identity bans

Books are being taken off shelves throughout the country, these bans are a continuous attack on identity


Rachel Gortney

Any number of books seen in a high school library could be banned. Possibly even your favorite.

You are 5-years-old and you are told to read Dr. Suess. You are 6-years-old and you are told to read about a mouse and its cookie. You are 7-years-old and you are finally ready for your first chapter book, “The Lightning Thief”. 

Now you are 15, 16, 17, and right as you pick up your next read, the smell of the fresh pages, the smooth cover resting between your fingers, you go to read the first page and it is taken away from you. 

In communities throughout the United States book bans are going into effect. These bans are just one part of the attack on free speech and identity.

These book bans are taking place all over the country: Virginia, Florida, Texas and even Ohio

In Texas, a state legislator produced a list of 850 books that he believes should be banned. Upon further research, 97 out of 100 books on the list were written by minorities. 

A school in San Antonio took 400 of these books out of their library immediately. 

Sixteen books were removed in Polk County, Florida, including ”The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini and “Beloved” by Toni Morrison.

In Hudson, Ohio, two books were returned to the shelf after committee review. “Lawn Boy” by Jonathan Evison and “Gender Queer” by Maia Kobabe.

Both were banned for inappropriate content, but Hudson’s superintendent Phil Herman argued the books are educational. The two books both tell stories of characters who are minorities and their challenges and more importantly, how they overcome their challenges.

So often these books are banned without a second thought, but stories of LGBTQ+ characters learning about who they love and how to love themselves inspire so many. 

As LGBTQ+ youth continue to learn about their identities it is often helpful to have someone to look up to and learn from. But too often they do not have a support system. 

So just as 7-year-olds fall in love with the worlds full of demi-gods and wizards, struggling teenagers fall in love with people and stories they can relate to. 

LGBTQ+ youth are continuing to be attacked by legislation. From book bans to blatant attacks on their identity. Florida’s Senate passed the controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill on Tuesday, March 8.

The bill titled, “Parents Rights in Education ” is awaiting Gov. DeSantis’s signature, DeSantis has hinted on multiple occasions he will sign the bill into law. The bill would prohibit the discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity from kindergarten to 3rd grade.

But the question is, why?

Many parents, teachers and students have seen an uprise in teenagers identifying with one of the terms under the LGBTQ+ umbrella, so Florida’s lawmakers decided it is due to the discussion of sexual identity and orientation in elementary school. 

Another, more logical reason: queer teenagers now feel safe accepting who they are. To put it into perspective, the Disney movie Frozen has been in the United States longer than gay marriage has been legal. 

Children do not choose to be gay after their 2nd-grade teacher made them aware gay people exist, or after their classmate reveals she has two moms, or even after they read a book with gay romance. 

Being gay is not a choice as many lawmakers are led to believe, there is an overwhelming amount of evidence that says sexual orientation is programmed into the fetus’ brain before birth. 

This bill ostracizes the LGBTQ+ community and families, it is an effort once again to make the community feel less than human. How would you feel if any aspect of your being could not be talked about in a classroom as if it was something dirty or mythical?

From book bans to censored classroom discussions, gay has become a bad word not just in Florida, but throughout the country. As these oppressive laws continue to get written, resistance continues to grow.

In the face of injustice, literature becomes the greatest currency. Books are places where thoughts place their roots, the thoughts bud into discussions, then bloom into revolutions. So read everything you can, and when they try to take a book away from you, read more.