Over the past several months, schools and libraries across the nation have banned books dealing with sexuality, gender identity and race, due to increasing pressure from parents worrying about what knowledge their children can access.
One such banned book, “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” has been the center of attention. On Jan. 25, the author of this memoir, George M. Johnson tweeted the book had been removed from schools and libraries in 15 states. Despite this ban, the book is about to enter its eighth printing.
According to The Advocate, this young adult novel is described as a memoir-manifesto, detailing Johnson’s experiences as a young Black queer person navigating the world as they grew. It is organized as a collection of essays.
While the book was published in 2020, the backlash against it has only recently reared its head. In Florida, a school board member of Flagler County School went so far as to file a criminal complaint, saying the book violated obscenity laws. The case has since been dismissed.
“We knew that at some point, once the pandemic shifted [schools] to more in-class [instruction], where parents could get a hold on what was going on in the curriculum and the reading list and everything that this moment would probably come,” Johnson told The Advocate. “A book isn't held that long before people start to make these particular types of attempts at it. So yeah, it is interesting.”
Despite the book's widespread removal, Johnson is trying to guarantee queer youths have access to copies at LGBT resource centers and Little Free Library sites around the country.
While Johnson had worked on his story throughout his former journalistic career, the project came to a point when young queer deaths kept appearing in the news.
“I really wanted to give the youth ... specifically Black, queer youth and LGBTQ youth a resource guide,” Johnson said to The Advocate.
While this book’s target audience was for young adults, it can also be a valuable resource for parents and guardians to better understand what life is like for queer adolescents.
"The reality is there is no topic that is too heavy for a child who could experience said topic. If a child can experience sexual abuse at the age of 7, a child should understand what sexual abuse looks like, how to handle it, how to discuss it, and how to talk about it," Johnson said to CBS News.
According to CBS News, Gabrielle Union, the actress and film executive, has reportedly signed an agreement with Sony Pictures TV to adapt the book into a series. On Twitter, she expressed her displeasure with the criminal complaint against the book stating, "You cannot stop the truth … I stay ready to fight."
From a Library Threatened Over LGBT Books to a School Suspending Bullied Gay Teen, This Week in Across the Country