By Jolie Shultz
Staff Writer

Queer voices all over the United States are being stifled.

Not in the way you may be thinking however. They’re not being banned from social media or television. Instead they’re being banned from libraries.

Out of the American Library Association’s “Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2022”, seven of these books were contested due to themes associated with LGBTQ+.

“Within the past couple of years, there have been more and more frequently banned (books with LGBTQ+ themes) within schools,” said Hutchinson Community College sophomore Quinn Lowery, a prominent member of Hutchinson Community College’s Gay-Straight Alliance.

“I’m concerned with how many of them are being banned for themes that you see other books that are not LGBTQ+ related. It doesn’t make me angry, just disappointed, especially growing up reading so much.” 

Lowery said that so many of the books banned for LGBTQ+ themes, share other themes with books that focus on characters who don’t identify with the LGBTQ+ community.

“I think that trying to enforce a ban on books that highlight gay people or transgender people but allowing a book with the same themes but straight people as the main characters is wrong. I think it should all be fair,” said Carly Bontrager, Nickerson sophomore.

“I think there has to be stuff that needs to be considered though. At what point should we start introducing young kids to these things? It’s hard to say when a child can fully understand what they’re reading. I’m all for education about it but when is it appropriate and in what manner?”

Lowery said that children’s books with gay themes are no different than those that have straight themes.

“There are plenty of children’s books that have themes of gender and sexuality and they’re no different than other books that they’d be reading. Instead there’s an emphasis on ‘what if a kid had two parents of the same sex or gender identities,” Lowery said. “If it’s a children’s book, I don’t think it should be banned for those topics and themes.”

“I think it (book bans) very negatively impacts younger students and children who are starting to come into theirselves.”

Other media have LGBTQ+ themes, and Lowery said books should have similar opportunities in the matter that don’t take away voices that could communicate with children.

“A lot of LGBTQ+ individuals kind of use book, and video game, and movie characters and the fictional worlds as a way to figure out who they are in a safe and more controlled environment and to take away books where they might be able to see a bit of a reflection in themselves is very detrimental,” Lowery said.

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