OUT Maine serves LGBTQ+ youth, supports parents and caregivers, and trains professionals in organizations and businesses around the state. OUT Maine works with many schools to improve school climate for LGBTQ+ kids, including in-service trainings with teachers and administrators, support for GSTAs (Gay/Straight Alliances), and more.
We're sharing an excerpt of their recent post on book bans and challenges here in Maine, and what communities can do to push back. Please consider spreading the word through your social media networks and school communities — read the full text of the post here.
BOOK BANS IN MAINE? REALLY?!
YES — AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT.
“Sorry this book is coming back late. It’s just — I never expected to read a book that was so close to my own life. Like. Never. With some weirdly similar and specific details! So I had to read it twice, then I made my dad, sister, and boyfriend read it.”
The student was returning the book Gender Queer to their high school library somewhere here in Maine. This reader’s response is exactly why our LGBTQ+ youth need books in their libraries that reflect their lived experiences — as a reminder that they’re not alone, that they exist, and that their stories matter.
Gender Queer is a graphic novel memoir penned by Maia Kobabe about the process of discovering eir self-identity as a nonbinary and asexual person.
This award-winning book also happens to be the #1 most challenged book in 2021. What’s a challenge? Any attempt to remove or ban the book from a public or school library collection.
In 2021 the number of challenged books reported to the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom was higher than in the twenty years they’ve been documenting attempted bans, and 2022 is on target to exceed that number. This disturbing trend is a coordinated effort engineered by national groups with an anti-LGBTQ+ agenda.
First, a little background on what we’re seeing here in Maine, then some ways you can be part of the solution to support LGBTQ+ youth.
It’s about way more than banning books with LGBTQ+ content.