Four out of the top 10 most challenged books in US last year have LGBTI themes.
The list was revealed at this year’s Banned Books Week – ongoing till 1 October – aimed at challenging censorship in schools and libraries across US by raising the profiles of books that have most frequently been objected to and removed from collections.
Organised annually since 1982 by The Banned Books Week Coalition – an alliance of various US organizations committing to celebrate the freedom to read – the week also sees a collaboration with the American Library Association (ALA), which receives reports from libraries, schools and the media on attempts to ban books in communities across the country.
According to ALA, more than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982.
The top ten most challenged books of 2015 are:
- Looking for Alaska, by John Green
- Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James
- I Am Jazz, by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
- Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, by Susan Kuklin
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon
- The Holy Bible
- Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel
- Habibi, by Craig Thompson
- Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan, by Jeanette Winter
- Two Boys Kissing, by David Levithan
The ones that have LGBTI themes include I am Jazz (co-authored by Jennings, a trans teen who recounts her real-life experience living as a trans kid), Beyond Magenta (a book featuring young trans people discussing their own identities), Fun Home (an award-winning autobiographic comic by Bechdel on her early sexual experiences with women) and Two Boys Kissing.
‘This list is a snapshot of the reports we receive every day,’ said a spokesperson from ALA.
‘Even with all of our efforts to follow up and provide support, surveys indicate that up to 85% of book challenges receive no media attention and remain unreported.’
Republicans in South Carolina had previously tried to strip funding from a university because its library contained ‘gay-themed’ content, including a copy of Fun Home.
‘Our goal is not to focus on the numbers, but to educate the community that censorship is still a very serious problem,’ added the spokesperson from ALA.