News (USA)

Most of the books conservatives are trying to ban in Tennessee are LGBTQ+

Chicago, IL, USA - May 10 2023: A stack of books found on frequently banned book lists wrapped in caution tape
Photo: Shutterstock

The Tennesse Equality Project, an LGBTQ+ advocacy group, released a report titled “Book Censorship in Tennessee” that examines the subjects and authorship behind challenged books in Tennessee. The report found that seven out of nine of the most challenged book have queer themes or were written by an LGBTQ+ author.

“Book challenges most likely to succeed include LGBTQ+ content, themes on race and social issues are second most common, then third is content with both race and LGBTQ+ themes,” the report stated.

Aly Chapman undertook hours and hours of research when writing the report, poring over hundreds of documents, interviewing advocates in Tennessee counties with the most book challenges, and watching over 50 hours of school board and local municipality readings.

The report found that “Tennessee’s public libraries, public schools, and the professionals who manage them are being attacked by well-funded censorship campaigns and bad actors.” These bad actors include elected leaders, private citizens, and organizations.

Chapman further told WKRN that “there’s a lot of politicizing of the issue.”

Most of them rely on the same ideas for banning books. “Their similar language has to do with protecting children. Like I said, biblical references. They refer to things like ‘gender ideology,'” Chapman said. “Gender ideology” is an expression often used by conservatives to deride trans people, implying that their identities are the result of an ideology.

The anti-LGBTQ+ extremist group Moms for Liberty supports removing some books from libraries, but the group denies that they are anti-LGBTQ+.

Chapter Chair Amanda Price said, “Moms for Liberty is not interested in banning LGBTQ representation from libraries. That is a straw man to detract from the extreme sexually explicit material that has been distributed to minors without parental knowledge or consent.”

Holly Ashley works for Crossroads Ministries, but instead of pushing to remove books, she floods libraries with religious books.

“Well, we believe that the Bible is the final authority, right? So if you’re going to have an issue that you want to debate with someone with biblical values, in the middle of the Bible Belt, then you need to have some books with biblical doctrine in them. You can’t just be one-sided,” Ashley said.

She has donated over 500 gospel-themed books to Wilson County Schools so that students seeking a book with LGBTQ+ representation may stumble upon religious books instead.

The report, which can be found here, recommends that local governments increase transparency. It includes a toolkit for those who wish to get involved.

Don't forget to share:

Support vital LGBTQ+ journalism

Reader contributions help keep LGBTQ Nation free, so that queer people get the news they need, with stories that mainstream media often leaves out. Can you contribute today?

Cancel anytime · Proudly LGBTQ+ owned and operated

Conservatives rage that trans people were created by Satan because of this iconic “Drag Race” look

Previous article

Trixie Mattel was banned on Instagram for calling gay whales a slur

Next article