Florida board bans ‘This Book Is Gay’ from middle school libraries

Hillsborough County, Florida (WFLA) — The Hillsboro County, Florida Board of Education held a special meeting on Tuesday to vote to ban the book from all public middle schools in the area.

a book titledThis book is gay, explores many topics such as stereotypes and ‘coming out’. Advocates and authors of the book say it was written to help young people beginning to explore their sexuality.

Controversy over the book began when parents filed a complaint last year because the book was available in the library at Tampa’s Pierce Middle School. A school committee reviewed the book and decided that it should be left alone. Their decision was appealed, after which the district committee also reviewed the book and voted that it can remain on the library shelf. rice field.

More than 60 people attended the meeting to discuss both sides of the issue. Critics argued that it was not suitable for junior high school age.

“This book has to go. I’m a grandmother and I don’t want my grandchildren to read this book,” said one woman.

“When I was in school, I had never seen a book like this in the library,” said participant Terry Locke. Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (rain), the word “grooming” refers to “manipulative behavior” [a sexual abuser] Use it to access potential victims, coerce them into consenting to abuse, and reduce the risk of getting caught. “

Over the past two years, the LGBTQ+ community has faced targeted accusations of being “groomed” by some far-right and conservative groups. Anti-Defamation League Please note that the language is not used legally. “Instead, [anti-LGBTQ+ figures] Implying or explicitly claiming that LGBTQ+ people are pedophiles who prey on children by discussing issues of sexual orientation or gender identity. “

Back in Hillsborough County, others who spoke out during the conference feared the book ban would set a bad precedent.

“I may disagree with the content, but others may,” said one student. “And how do we choose what to read and what not?” to my decision?”

“Very upsetting, very frightening. This is a very frightening precedent for the future of our books,” said library media specialist Kathleen Daniels.

At the end of the meeting, the board voted 4 to 3 and agreed that the book was not age appropriate and not appropriate for middle school.

“We have books in the hands of children and minors that are sexually explicit and that is upsetting and concerning to me,” District 2 said. said Stacey Hahn, a member of the school board representing the

Written by British author Juno Dawson, This Book Is Gay was first published in 2015.

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