it’s always the gays

A Reaction to the Top Ten Most Challenged Books of 2019

When I decided to post a reaction to this announcement, I hadn’t anticipated that the results would be quite so problematic or that my reaction would be so strong. Of ten books, eight cited the inclusion of LGBTQIA+ themes as a reason for its banning, four of which include transgender characters.

As a member of the community, it’s extremely hurtful to see that people are challenging the very existence of LGBTQIA+ people. Only recently have I come to terms with my own queerness, and each time something like this happens, it feels like a slap to the face. It doesn’t feel like we are moving forward as a society at all, if anything I feel as though we are regressing.

Audre Lorde stated that “it is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.” By challenging books with queer characters, queer peoples and identities are not being accepted or celebrated. Queer people are everywhere, and we will continue to tell our stories for ourselves and queer youth. Maya Angelou once said that “there is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” I couldn’t agree more.

LGBTQIA+ | Allosexual, Androgyne, Aromantic, Asexual, Bigender, Bisexual, BlaQ/BlaQueer, Demisexual, Gay, Gender Fluid/Genderfluid, Gender Non conforming (GNC), Gender Queer, Intersex, Lesbian, Monosexual, Multisexual, Neutrois, Non binary/Nonbinary/Non-binary, Omnigender, Pansexual/Omnisexual, Polygender/Pangender, Polysexual, Queer, Questioning, Transgender, Two Spirit

The Top Most Challenged Books of 2019 – 2015
  • George by Alex Gino (#1 of 2019, #1 of 2018, #5 of 2017, #3 of 2016)
  • Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin (#2 of 2019, #4 of 2015)
  • A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo written by Jill Twiss, illustrated by EG Keller (#3 of 2019, #2 of 2018)
  • Sex is a Funny Word written by Cory Silverberg, illustrated by Fiona Smyth (#4 of 2019, #6 of 2017)
  • Prince & Knight written by Daniel Haack, illustrated by Stevie Lewis (#5 of 2019)
  • I Am Jazz written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas (#6 of 2019, #10 of 2017, #4 of 2016)
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (#7 of 2019)
  • Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier (#8 of 2019, #5 of 2018, #3 of 2017, #2 of 2016)
  • Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling (#9 of 2019)
  • And Tango Makes Three written by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, illustrated by Henry Cole (#10 of 2019, #9 of 2017)
  • Captain Underpants series written and illustrated by Dav Pilkey (#3 of 2018)
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (#4 of 2018)
  • Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (#6 of 2018, #1 of 2017)
  • This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki (#7 of 2018, #1 of 2016)
  • Skippyjon Jones series written and illustrated by Judy Schachner (#8 of 2018)
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (#9 of 2018, #2 of 2017)
  • This Day in June written by Gayle E. Pitman, illustrated by Kristyna Litten (#10 of 2018)
  • Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan (#11 of 2018, #5 of 2016, #10 of 2015)
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (#4 of 2017)
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (#7 of 2017)
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (#8 of 2017)
  • Looking for Alaska by John Green (#6 of 2016, #1 of 2015)
  • Big Hard Sex Criminals written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Chip Zdarsky (#7 of 2016)
  • Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread by Chuck Palahniuk (#8 of 2016)
  • Little Bill (series) written by Bill Cosby and and illustrated by Varnette P. Honeywood (#9 of 2016)
  • Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (#10 of 2016)
  • Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James (#2 of 2015)
  • I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings (#3 of 2015)
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (#5 of 2015)
  • The Holy Bible (#6 of 2015)
  • Fun Home by Alison Bechdel (#7 of 2015)
  • Habibi by Craig Thompson (#8 of 2015)
  • Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan by Jeanette Winter (#9 of 2015)


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