Here’s What LGBTQ+ Teens and Young Adults Have to Say About Libraries and Book Bans
It is crucial to view book bans from the perspective of those whose voices are being hushed by censorship.
Libraries are a place of learning, a place to become more closely connected, and a safe haven, especially for young, marginalized, and vulnerable populations. With book bans on the rise, however, these havens and those who use them are finding themselves more and more restricted lately, with members of the LGBTQ+ community being especially vulnerable. In light of this, let’s take a closer look at what libraries do for the LGBTQ+ community and what teen and young adult community members have to say about these book bans.
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What Do Libraries Do for the LGBTQ+ Community?
Simply put, libraries contribute two things to the lives of young LGBTQ+ visitors: a sanctuary where they can meet with like-minded people and an avenue to see themselves represented in literature. The American Library Association says as much, stressing the importance of both an inclusive community and literary representation.
Libraries have always been places that are open to the public and have encouraged the public to gather. Naturally, members of marginalized communities gather in these spaces, having a completely free place to share their thoughts, opinions, and struggles and help others through theirs.
In addition to the aforementioned opportunities for LGBTQ+ teens and adults to see themselves represented, libraries also provide an avenue for young up-and-coming LGBTQ+ authors to find their start. As a space where all types of books from all kinds of people are available, these young authors are allowed to share their unique perspectives and experiences with other members of the community, both encouraging fellow Queer readers and informing straight allies.
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LGBTQ+ Teens and Young Adults on Book Bans
So, in light of all the recent book bans, what do young LGBTQ+ readers have to say? The New York Times published an article recently, encouraging students to voice their opinions on the matter. Though there were many perspectives and varying viewpoints, the general consensus was that these book bans are dangerous not just to LGBTQ+ youth but to free speech and thought as a whole.
One student stated that they felt hurt by the book bans, finding a chance to see themselves in literature only to have it threatened so soon. Another believed that this wasn’t just an issue with the LGBTQ+ community but heavier issues as a whole, like racism, drug addiction, and mental health, and that banning books would keep people from developing a more nuanced and empathetic perspective on the matter.
Each and every one of these students agreed, however, that these book bans were a threat to diversity, independent thought, and a kinder society in general. If you’d like to read the full article from the NYT, you can find it here, and if you’d like to know more about the fight against book bans, you can get in touch with us here.
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