Human Rights Campaign Denounces New Idaho House Effort to Ban Books from School and Public Libraries

by HRC Staff

Boise, Idaho — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — is speaking out against the Idaho House today for passing H. 314, legislation that would restrict access to books with LGBTQ+ characters and themes from school and public libraries.

Human Rights State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel Cathryn Oakley issued the following statement today:

“Government should never be in the business of deciding what we can read, see, or hear. This bill is a despicable attempt to silence LGBTQ+ stories and further isolate LGBTQ+ kids who should feel safe and welcome whether they’re going to school or checking out books from their public library. Idaho deserves better.”

The effort to pass H. 314 in Idaho is the latest salvo by extremist politicians who want to prevent equitable access to library services by banning so-called “obscene” books and materials. Censorship in education has real-life consequences. Last year, Florida’s HB 1557, the “Don’t Say Gay or Trans'' bill, silenced teachers from talking about LGBTQ+ issues or people, further stigmatizing and isolating LGBTQ+ kids and also undermining existing protections for LGBTQ+ students. The legislation — which has triggered major backlash from educators and students across Florida and the country — prevents teachers from providing a safe, inclusive classroom for all students. Alabama also enacted a similar law last year as part of a package of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.

A few months into 2023, HRC is already tracking more than 410 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced in statehouses across the country. 175 of those would specifically restrict the rights of transgender people, the highest number of bills targeting transgender people in a single year to date.

So far this year, HRC is tracking:

  • More than 100 bills that would prevent trans youth from being able to access age-appropriate, medically-necessary, best-practice health care; five have already become law, in Mississippi, Tennessee, South Dakota, Utah, and Arkansas.

  • More bathroom ban bills filed than in any previous year (more than 25),

  • And 65+ anti-LGBTQ+ bills which have passed at least one chamber, 25 of which are specifically anti-trans.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

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