Human Rights Campaign Foundation Releases List of LGBTQ+ Affirming Books In the Wake of Discriminatory Book Bans Across the Country

by Meghan Olson

While LGBTQ+ stories belong in the classroom, dangerous book bans belong in the past

WASHINGTON — Today, in the wake of discriminatory book bans being instituted across the country, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, released an LGBTQ+ affirming book list for middle school and high school students, available to those looking for reading material that features LGTBQ+ storytelling and characters.

All students -- no matter their background, sexual orientation, or gender identity -- deserve to feel safe and welcomed in schools, libraries and bookshops alike. Banning books because they contain LGBTQ+ content is a shameful attempt to silence LGBTQ+ stories. The dangerous practice of banning books is not new and has always been used by those who want to stunt progress, sow fear and division, and hide important truths. The Human Rights Campaign will always fight to ensure students have access to books that broaden their perspectives, help them learn and grow, and allow them to see themselves in literature and society. The books on our Welcoming Schools booklist do exactly that.”

Cheryl Greene, Director of Welcoming Schools Program

To provide examples of LGBTQ+ affirming books, the HRC Foundation has several book lists ranging from children’s books to new book lists for middle school and high school students. Affirming books featured on these lists includes ‘Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda,’ by Becky Albertalli which was adapted into the popular film ‘Love, Simon,’ ‘Obie is Man Enough,’ by openly transgender swimmer Schuyler Bailar and ‘The Great Big Book of Families,’ by Mary Hoffman. These lists are just one example of the resources provided by HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools Program to educate and inspire students, educators, parents and interested readers.

In 2021, the books that received the most challenges to use in libraries and schools dealt with racism, Black American history, and diversity in the United States, according to the American Library Association’s annual ranking of books that were banned or protested in schools and public libraries. The year before, eight of the 10 most challenged books were based on LGBTQ+ subjects or narratives.

From Virginia to Texas, some banned books include ‘Gender Queer,’ by Maia Kobabe and ‘All Boys Aren’t Blue,’ by George M. Johnson. These books are only two of the dozens of books that legislators and school districts have banned because of LGBTQ+ content. Additionally, books about the history of racism in America such as ‘Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You,’ by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi and ‘We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices,’ by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson are banned in some schools.

The Human Rights Campaign reports on news, events and resources of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation that are of interest to the general public and further our common mission to support the LGBTQ+ community.

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