Texas judge orders LGBTQ book ban titles back on shelves

Child in library Book ban in Texas

A Texas judge has ordered books containing LGBTQ+ and racist content to return to shelves within 24 hours.

As CNN reported, in April 2022, seven residents sued Llano County officials for removing 12 books from public libraries that were deemed “inappropriate” because they focused on topics such as gender, race, or sexuality.

Plaintiffs contended that their First Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated by the removal of the texts.

The books included Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teenager by Jazz Jennings and Susan Campbell Bartoletti They called themselves KKK: The Birth of an American Terrorist Group.

Judge Robert Pitman issued an order in the case, saying the physical books must be returned to the shelves and the library is required to display the texts as they are available in its catalogue.

“Although giving libraries a great deal of discretion in their selection and acquisition decisions, the First Amendment prohibits the removal of books from libraries on grounds of visual or content discrimination,” CNN quoted Pitman as saying.

Defendants in the case, who include library staff, a judge and state commissioners, argued the books were removed as part of a regular “weeding”.

However, Pitman disagreed, stating that outsiders influenced decisions about the books’ removal.

He said: “Whether or not the books actually qualified for ‘sorting out’ under the library’s existing policies, there is no question that the targeted review was prompted directly by complaints from users and county officials about the content of those titles.

“And in particular, there is no evidence that any of the books should be checked for weed before receiving these complaints; on the contrary, many other books that might qualify for screening based on the same factors seem to have been on the shelves for many years.”

According to the order, community groups had flagged several books as “pornographic filth” due to “acceptance of LGBTQ views.” Other targeted titles were by black authors and explored racism and the experiences of black Americans.

Ellen Leonida, an attorney representing the plaintiffs in the case, described the victory as “an overwhelming victory for democracy.”

“The government cannot tell citizens what they can or cannot read,” she said. “Our nation was founded on the free exchange of ideas, and banning books you don’t agree with is a direct assault on our most basic freedoms.”

The order comes amid a boom in book bans across the US, particularly those containing content, themes and characters related to the LGBTQ+ community.

Alice Osman, the author of graphic novel series heart stopperHe has criticized book bans as thinly veiled homophobia.

“Racism, homophobia and transphobia thrive under the guise of ‘caring for children.’ This isn’t just a US problem, either,” Oseman warned. “We see exactly the same ‘concern’ here in the UK.”

Trans author Juno Dawson has also hit back at book bans that have resulted in her works being censored.

The This book is gay The author said the bans are happening because “the right is running out of ideas.”

“What else can you attack other than trans health, drag queens, books,” she said.

“So I want to say a huge thank you to all the librarians and educators who are defending the end of free speech and the right of young LGBTQ+ people to see themselves in books. Stand firm in full solidarity.”

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https://www.thepinknews.com/2023/04/02/texas-lgbtq-race-book-ban/ Texas judge orders LGBTQ book ban titles back on shelves

Adam Bradshaw

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