Banned Book Week Takes Place September 18-24
September 19, 2022

GLAAD, the world's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization and a member of the Banned Books Week coalition, is responding to new data about LGBTQ books under attack, and urges media covering Banned Books Week to include research on the larger story of book challenges as the latest method to target LGBTQ people and youth.

Banned Books Week (September 18-24) is an annual event celebrating the freedom and constitutional right to read, especially in the classroom. GLAAD urges reporters covering Banned Books Week to properly contextualize book bannings as part of a larger organized movement to target LGBTQ youth. Across the nation, LGBTQ titles have been targeted not only by extremist school board members but also by national anti-LGBTQ organizations and politicians. Many of the same elected officials and organizations linked to book ban efforts are also linked to school censorship legislation, bans on transgender and nonbinary youth access to school sports and affirming healthcare, and the targeting of hospitals and families that affirm transgender and nonbinary youth.

●      A new report released today, Monday, September 19 by PEN America shows that 41% of books banned over the past year were targeted due to LGBTQ content, and highlights some of the leading organizations campaigning to ban inclusive books.

●      New data released on Friday, September 16,  by the American Library Association (ALA) shows so far in 2022 (from January 1 to August 31st) attempted bans on at least 1,651 titles, surpassing 2021’s total of 1,597 titles banned or challenged.

●      In 2022 so far, state legislators have proposed at least 93 anti-LGBTQ school policy bills across numerous states.

●      Book ban efforts have targeted a wide range of LGBTQ performers and authors, including GLAAD’s own President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis—whose children’s book All Moms was the target of a book ban effort in Michigan shortly after its May release. In addition, several LGBTQ-inclusive titles published by GLAAD in partnership with children’s book publisher Little Bee Books have been targeted. Last week, activists demanded at a school board meeting in Centralia, Missouri that Jack (Not Jackie) and Uncle Bobby’s Wedding—both published in partnership with GLAAD—be removed from the children’s section of the library.

Quote from GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis:

“Banning books is just one arm of a larger, organized campaign to target and harass LGBTQ youth nationwide. There’s no separating book bans from ‘Don’t Say Gay’ laws, attacks on healthcare and sports for trans youth, and the hundreds of other bills and policies that put LGBTQ youth at the center of a target built by extremist groups and politicians. Everyone deserves to see themselves represented in books and other forms of media, and the targeting of LGBTQ youth through book bans and other anti-LGBTQ school policies must end.”

GLAAD’s media guide for journalists covering book bans and school censorship is here. GLAAD’s Back To School guide to battling censorship for students, families, and school staff is here.

GLAAD’s Banned Books Week programming includes:

●      SUNDAY-SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 18-24: A weeklong, targeted social media campaign to raise awareness of the targeting of LGBTQ books, and to support and engage with the entire book community—from authors to librarians to publishers and teachers. 

●      WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 21st: A panel discussion with targeted LGBTQ authors, presented in partnership with The Emancipator, at 7:30pm ET, live on YouTube here. Hosted by Banned Books Week honorary chair George M. Johnson, panelists include Sarah Kate Ellis (All Moms, GLAAD President and CEO), Leah Johnson (You Should See Me in a Crown), Daniel Haack and Isabel Galupo (Prince & Knight, Maiden & Princess), and Harry Woodgate (Grandad’s Camper).

●      THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 22nd: An interview with author and this year’s co-winner of the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Graphic Novel Crystal Frasier (Cheer Up! Love and Pompoms), going live on all GLAAD social media channels on Thursday, September 22nd.

This year’s honorary Banned Books Week chair is George M. Johnson, the author of All Boys Aren’t Blue—one of the most-targeted books for censorship nationwide. GLAAD’s #BooksNotBans campaign featured an interview with Johnson about the censorship during National Reading Month this March. Other authors interviewed for the #BooksNotBans series have included Maia Kobabe (Gender Queer), Harry Woodgate (Grandad’s Camper), Drag Queen Story Hour board member Lil Miss Hot Mess (If You’re a Drag Queen and You Know It), and GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis and Kristen Ellis-Henderson (All Moms).

GLAAD has also joined Unite Against Book Bans, a national grassroots campaign to engage the public in the fight against censorship. This non-partisan campaign leverages the reach of national organizations representing librarians, educators, parents, authors, publishers, distributors, and champions for civil liberties, civil rights, and equality.

In December 2021, GLAAD launched the #BooksNotBans campaign and signed on to a coalition statement with more than 600 individuals and groups representing writers, educators, artists, racial and social justice advocates, booksellers and publishers.