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Boogieman In Lavender: Ban This Book!!!!! (Now That I Have Your Attention…)

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AUTHOR’S NOTE: I had planned on running something for Halloween (in fact had it already been written.) But disturbing trends call for something else for this, the October of our discontent.

October is in the air. Halloween, falling leaves, football. And book bans and challenges are roaring into high gear.

A decade or so ago, Conservative talk radio would grumble about “The American Library Association and their Banned Book Week,” claiming that “no books are being banned” even as they slyly attempted to remove books from libraries and bookstores. Now, with more conservative-friendly judges and organizations energized we see supposed “parents” mobilizing to call for the removal of books in schools and public libraries.

Much of this is aimed with books with queer content as well as books featuring civil rights issues or non-white characters.

Two books in particular at the top of the 2022 Banned Books list stand out.

The first: “Gender Queer” by Maia Kobabe is a graphic novel telling eir autobiographical story of realizing that e was Non-binary and Assexual. Aimed at Young Adults, it is probably the sort of book a lot of young adults need in what is rapidly becoming a militantly anti-LGBT era. Conservatives who condemn the book are decrying it as “pornography,” and have gotten away with the claim because of the book’s depiction of nudity.

The few graphic depictions in “Gender Queer” are no more pornographic than the diagrams in a health education textbook or pamphlet, which (in a lot of ways) it is.

For the record: I have seen pornography. I have written and published erotica. I really do know it when I see it and “Gender Queer” is neither.

“Gender Queer benefits from the fine illustrations by Maia Kobabe with color by Phoebe Kobabe.

“All Boys Aren’t Blue” touches on two of the big conservative bugaboos: LGBT people and People of Color.

Basically a memoir by George M. Johnson, it chronicles their growing up Black and Gay.

Or, as the author puts it:

“This book is an exploration of two of my identities—Black and queer—and how I became aware of their intersections within myself and in society. How I’ve learned that neither of those identities can be contained within a simple box, and that I enter the room as both of them despite the spaces and environments I must navigate.”

Both “Gender Queer” and “All Boys Aren’t Blue” are understandable targets in our current era of “Don’t Say Gay” laws and politicians trying to turn “woke” into a pejorative. Having failed to turn a majority against the LGBT movement, the far-right must go after libraries, both public and in schools. These places are sometimes the only refuge LGBT teens have.

I will add here the advice I have heard from a number of writers: If a book is banned, seek it out. There is a reason people want to hide information. Get these books, and books like them, into the hands of the people you love.

As Fall and Halloween goblins fill our streets, do not forget the scary efforts to shut down dissent and information.

And let’s just hope the scent of burning books will not blend with the scent of burning leaves.

—end—

Here are buy links for “Gender Queer”https://onipress.com/collections/young-adult-graphic-novels/products/gender-queer-a-memoir-deluxe-edition

and for “All Boys Aren’t Blue” https://us.macmillan.com/books/9780374312718/all-boys-arent-blue

Jeff Baker blogs about reading or writing sci-fi, fantasy and horror and other sundry matters on or about the thirteenth of every month. His fiction has been published in “Orion’s Beau” and is a regular contributor to the online ‘zine “RoM/Mantic Reads. His non-fiction has appeared on the “Amazing Stories” website. He and his husband Darryl live in a house full of books, some of which have been banned. He regularly blogs and posts fiction on his website https://authorjeffbaker.com/and wastes time on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100063555483587

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