Books that tell LGBTQ+ stories top the list of publications banned in U.S. schools as a censorship movement takes hold across the country. A parallel movement seeks to restrict teaching about topics relating to gender and sexual identity in both k-12 schools and higher education, as evidenced by the recent conflict over teaching AP psychology in Florida.
So, what’s going on? Studies suggest that much of the energy behind recent censorship efforts originates not with concerned parents but with private pressure groups that are seeking to eliminate learning that conflicts with their ideological mission, including opposition to LGBTQ+ inclusion and equality.
Believing that social influences can “make” people gay, these organizations view information about gender and sexual identity as inherently dangerous. Similarly, they perceive LGBTQ+ teachers and allies as predatory by nature, looking to “groom” young people to embrace an “alternative lifestyle.”
These are unfounded views that lack any basis in factual evidence and are not indicative of majority opinion. And yet, research also reveals more widespread questioning by parents about whether—or at what age—it is appropriate to give students access to information about gender and sexual identity. Some wonder if perhaps these are topics better left to adults.
Educational proponents like Identiversity take a different stance. We believe that access to age-appropriate, reliable and fact-based information is vital for student learning about fundamental aspects of human development and promoting essential values of inclusion and tolerance. Without fact-based learning, students are vulnerable to misinformation and misunderstanding about themselves and others, which in turn fuels a host of social problems, from mental health issues to bias and discrimination against members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Dig deeper into battles over education and why access to reliable, fact-based information about gender and sexual identity is so hotly contested.
Friedman, Jonathan and Nadine Farid Johnson. (2022, September 19). Banned in the USA: The Growing Movement to Censor Books in Schools. PEN America. https://pen.org/report/banned-usa-growing-movement-to-censor-books-in-schools/
Tensley, Brandon. (2022, September 22). 'We're seeing a relaunch of an old story.' CNN. https://www.cnn.com/2022/09/22/us/lgbtq-book-bans-race-deconstructed-newsletter-reaj/index.html