Tag: lgbtq

George M. Johnson Named Honorary Chair of Banned Books Week

George M. Johnson

The Banned Books Week Coalition is proud to announce that George M. Johnson has been named Honorary Chair for Banned Books Week 2022. The critically acclaimed—and frequently banned—author will lead the weeklong event, which brings awareness to the harms of censorship September 18–24, 2022.

George M. Johnson (they/them) is an award-winning Black nonbinary activist and author of The New York Times–bestselling young adult memoir All Boys Aren’t Blue (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020) and We Are Not Broken (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2021). All Boys Aren’t Blue was named a best book of the year by the New York Public Library and the Chicago Public Library, and it has been optioned for television by Gabrielle Union’s I’ll Have Another Productions. Johnson has written for several major outlets, including Teen Vogue, VICE, Entertainment Tonight, NBC, The Root, Buzzfeed, Essence, and TheGrio. 

All Boys Aren’t Blue was the third title on the American Library Association’s Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2021, an annual list released during National Library Week. Like most of the books on the list, All Boys Aren’t Blue was challenged for LGBTQ+ content, which is disproportionately targeted for censorship alongside works dealing with racism and racial identity. Several state legislatures have passed or are considering laws that would limit instruction related to LGBTQ+ identity and race. Johnson and many other authors addressing these issues are impacted, and students are harmed by the resulting censorship.

“Being the honorary chair for Banned Books Week is important to me because I know what it is like to grow up and not have stories about my own lived experience, nor the truth outside of an ahistorical context,” says Johnson. “This is a fight for the truth that has always existed even if it rarely gets told. When the youth are empowered with stories about the experiences of others, they become adults who understand the necessity for equity and equality and have the tools to build a world the likes of which we have never seen.”

Since it was founded in 1982, Banned Books Week has drawn attention to the attempts to remove books and other materials from libraries, schools, and bookstores. Banned Books Week 2022 has the theme “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.” All readers deserve to see themselves reflected in the books available to them, and people better understand themselves and each other when given the opportunity to choose what they want to read without restriction. This is particularly true for young people, who are most impacted by censorship. The theme image of caged birds reminds us that censorship isolates us from information and from each other.

Join Honorary Chair George M. Johnson and the Banned Books Week Coalition in recognizing the ways in which books unite us during Banned Books Week, September 18–24, 2022! 

Visit bannedbooksweek.org for information about Johnson’s events, programming ideas, and promotional materials; check out the latest edition of the Celebrate Banned Books Week Handbook; and follow @BannedBooksWeek on Twitter for the latest Banned Books Week and censorship news.

Learn more about the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2021 at ala.org/bbooks/top and the issues facing America’s libraries at www.ala.org/news/state-americas-libraries-report-2022


George M. Johnson is a writer and activist based in New York. They have written on race, gender, sex, and culture for Essence, the Advocate, BuzzFeed News, Teen Vogue, and more than 40 other national publications. George has appeared on BuzzFeed’s AM2DM as well as on MSNBC. All Boys Aren’t Blue is their debut and was an Amazon Best Book of the Year, an Indie Bestseller, a People Magazine Best Book of the Year, and optioned for television by Gabrielle Union. The New York Times called it “an exuberant, unapologetic memoir infused with a deep but cleareyed love for its subjects.”

Website: https://iamgmjohnson.com/ 

Twitter: @IamGMJohnson

Instagram: @IamGMJohnson

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/george.m.johnson


The Banned Books Week Coalition is an international alliance of diverse organizations joined by a commitment to increase awareness of the annual celebration of the freedom to read. The Coalition seeks to engage various communities and inspire participation in Banned Books Week through education, advocacy, and the creation of programming about the problem of book censorship. 

The Banned Books Week Coalition includes American Booksellers for Free Expression, American Library Association, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Amnesty International USA, Association of University Presses, Authors Guild, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, Freedom to Read Foundation, Index on Censorship, National Book Foundation, National Coalition Against Censorship, National Council of Teachers of English, PEN America, People for the American Way Foundation, and Project Censored. It is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Banned Books Week also receives generous support from Penguin Random House.

Website: https://bannedbooksweek.org/

Twitter: @BannedBooksWeek

Instagram: @banned_books_week

Events Spotlight: September 26

Happy Banned Books Week Thursday! Today brings a look at the censorship of LGBTQ+ literature, lots of live readings, and more! Let’s take a look at the happenings…

Be sure to visit the Banned Books Week event page at https://bannedbooksweek.org/events/, where you can find events happening all over the world! If you’re hosting an event, let us know about it by completing this form — we’ll add it to the map!

Don’t forget to tag @BannedBooksWeek and #BannedBooksWeek on Twitter and Facebook when you share your Banned Books Week adventures!

Coalition Events

Webinar: Banned Books Week Library Livestream — LGBTQ Challenges

Webinar • 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm CDT

Michelle Perez (THE PERVERT) and Grace Ellis (MOONSTRUCK) in conversation with Moni Barrette (GNCRT Board, Chula Vista Public Library Principal Librarian) about the disproportionately high incidence of bans and challenges levied against LGBTQ+ books in libraries and schools. This discussion will also touch on the recent increase in challenges and cancellations of Drag Storytimes in libraries across the nation. Brought to you by ALA’s Graphic Novel Comics Round Table and Intellectual Freedom Round Table, and Image Comics. Find out more »

Books on the Chopping Block

Edgewater Branch, Chicago, IL • 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm CDT

Free dramatic readings by City Lit Theater from the Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books in America, as compiled by the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom.  The program lasts approximately 50 minutes. Find out more »

Books on the Chopping Block

Lincoln-Belmont Branch, Chicago, IL • 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm CDT

Free dramatic readings by City Lit Theater from the Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books in America, as compiled by the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom.  The program lasts approximately 50 minutes. Find out more »


NYU Cantor Film Center, New York, NY • 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm EDT

With the 2020 election season picking up steam, debates over free speech, truth, and the university are of increasing relevance to the health of American democracy. But in an era of deepening polarization, many see these issues through partisan eyes, shouting into fractured echo chambers. Campuses seem to be at a cross-roads—can they restore a common understanding of facts, and of the rules of engagement and disagreement? Or are they in danger of buckling under the weight of our current culture war? Find out more »

Truly Uncensored? LGBTQ+ Young Adult Literature

Knowledge Centre, The British Library, London, United Kingdom • 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm BST

The UK has no official censorship – but does that fact make us too complacent? As part of Banned Book Week 2019, we explore the challenges facing LGBTQ+ Young Adult literature with Dean Atta, Fen Coles and Robin Stevens, chaired by Erica Gillingham. What are the invisible barriers to expression and publication? And how do editors, publishers, teachers, librarians, parents or even authors contribute to unofficial censorship around LGBTQ+ issues? Find out more »

Other Events

Banned Books Week: “American Slavery / American Censorship”

Harvard Law School WCC B015, Cambridge, MA • 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm EDT

Professor Randall L. Kennedy of HLS weaves a story of the fight against slavery and the censoring of David Walker’s 1822 tract Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World. Co-sponsored by the Harvard Law School Library, the American Constitution Society, the ACLU at HLS, the Harvard Law School Rule of Law Society, and the Law and Philosophy Society. A non-pizza lunch will be served. Find out more »

San Diego Writers, Ink Presents a Very Special Banned Books Reading

Lestat’s West, San Diego, CA • 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm PDT

In honor of the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week, San Diego Writers, Ink is planning a very special Banned Books Reading on September 26, 2019, at Lestat’s West at 3343 Adams Avenue in San Diego’s Normal Heights. Find out more »

Banned Books Week Celebration at Hooray For Books!

Hooray For Books!, Alexandria, VA • 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm EDT

Every year, we’re excited to join book lovers from across Virginia to celebrate the freedom to read and call attention to the wealth of creativity that is stifled when books are forbidden from library shelves. This year’s Banned Books Week is from Sept. 22 – Sept. 28, but the fight for intellectual freedom takes place every day in every county in Virginia. That’s why we’re joining hands with independent bookstores across the Commonwealth to celebrate Banned Books Week. Find out more »

September Book Club Discussion: Brave New World

Fables Books, Goshen, IN • 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm EDT

Join us on Thursday, September 28th at 7 pm for our September Book Club Discussion Night. This event takes place during Banned Book Week an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. We will discuss Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. $5 for the event, snack provided. Banned in Ireland when it first appeared in 1932, and removed from shelves and objected to ever since, Brave New World is still making waves today. Find out more »

Teen Movie: To Kill a Mockingbird

Castroville Public Library, Castroville, TX • 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm CDT

In celebration of Banned Books Week, join us at the Castroville Library for a showing of To Kill a Mockingbird! Please bring blankets or lawn chairs to enjoy the show. Refreshments will be provided while supplies last. Find out more »

Celebrate Banned Books Week with Drag Queen Story Hour in San Francisco!

What better way to celebrate Banned Books Week than with Drag Queen Story Hour! The Banned Books Week Coalition presents this special event on September 28 at The Bindery (1727 Haight Street, San Francisco), The Booksmith’s multi-purpose events space.

Join some of San Francisco’s most glamorous drag queens as they read challenged and banned picture books to entertain children of all ages! Doors will open at 2:00 p.m., with the reading to start at 2:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, but priority will be given to parents with their children.

Drag Queen Story Hour, which presents readings and workshops to kids of all ages in public libraries, has faced repeated challenges to its programming across the country in the past two years. By partnering with the Banned Books Week Coalition, both organizations aim to highlight the real dangers of allowing stories — and the real lives they represent — to be erased. Telling kids and readers of all ages which stories are valuable and which are not can have lasting and devastating effects. The September 28 event is a celebration of expression, inclusion, and diversity.

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. It was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores, and libraries — challenges that still happen today! The 2019 celebration will be held September 22 – 28. The theme of this year’s event proclaims “Censorship Leaves Us in the Dark,” urging everyone to “Keep the Light On.”

LGBTQ-inclusive children’s books are among the most challenged and banned titles each year. In the last few years, acclaimed picture books like A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss and EG Keller; This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman and Kristyna Litten; And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell, Justin Richardson, and Henry Cole; and I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel, Jazz Jennings, and Shelagh McNicholas have appeared on the annual Top 10 Most Challenged Books List from American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom.

Join Banned Books Week and Drag Queen Story Hour at The Bindery in San Francisco for a fabulous celebration of reading, 2:30 – 4:00 p.m., September 28! The event also features facepainting for kids and a cash bar serving beer, wine, and cocktails for anyone 21+. RSVP on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/1093204637543051/

Find Banned Books Week events around the world at https://bannedbooksweek.org/events/

Learn more about the most challenged books at ala.org/bbooks/top


The Banned Books Week Coalition is an international alliance of diverse organizations joined by a commitment to increase awareness of the annual celebration of the freedom to read. The Coalition seeks to engage various communities and inspire participation in Banned Books Week through education, advocacy, and the creation of programming about the problem of book censorship.

The Banned Books Week Coalition includes American Booksellers Association; American Library Association; American Society of Journalists and Authors; Association of University Presses; Authors Guild; Comic Book Legal Defense Fund; Dramatists Legal Defense Fund; Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE); Freedom to Read Foundation; Index on Censorship; National Coalition Against Censorship; National Council of Teachers of English; PEN America; People For the American Way Foundation; and Project Censored. It is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Banned Books Week also receives generous support from DKT Liberty Project and Penguin Random House.



Twitter: @BannedBooksWeek


Drag Queen Story Hour/SF (DQSH/SF) contracts with professional drag queens who are experienced youth performers and educators. They capture the imagination and gender play of childhood and give kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models, all while promoting early childhood education and inclusive family programming. In spaces we create, kids are able to see beyond gender restrictions and imagine a world where everybody is safe and welcome and dress up is real. DQSH Queens are ambassadors for equity diversity and inclusion in family programming. Created by Michelle Tea and RADAR Productions in San Francisco, DQSH now happens regularly in L.A., New York, and San Francisco, and events are popping up all over the country and the world!





The Bindery is a multi-purpose events space and bookstore, a satellite project of independent bookstore and San Francisco legacy business The Booksmith. The events parlor has a beer, wine, and cocktail bar and hosts all manner of events, literary and otherwise, public and private. It’s home to the experimental keystone, The Arcana Project: a deep, highly inclusive array of books — fiction and nonfiction, from all over the world — presented in chronological order by the date they were written.




Local Pastors Attempt to Ban Books from Banned Books Display at Maine Public Library

Banned books display at Rumford Public Library (via Twitter user Katje Fae @katjefae)

A group of pastors in Rumford, Maine are attempting to have LGBTQ books banned from the Rumford Public Library’s display of banned books. The library is holding a board meeting today, where the controversy will be discussed. The National Coalition Against Censorship and Comic Book Legal Defense Fund support Rumford Public Library’s display and freedom to choose how best to serve their community. NCAC and CBLDF oppose efforts to limit a whole community’s access to books based on the personal viewpoints or religious beliefs of some groups or individuals in that community. As public institutions, libraries are obligated not to discriminate on the basis of viewpoint or sexual orientation.

The display coincides with Banned Books Week, an annual celebration of the freedom to read, highlighting books that often draw challenges in schools and libraries. Half of the books on this year’s American Library Association Top 10 Banned Books list tell stories of LGBTQ characters. Books representing a wide variety of experiences and voices allow readers, particularly children, to find connection, safely explore unfamiliar ideas, and broaden their understanding of the world.

This article was originally posted by the National Coalition Against Censorship. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has posted additional information and a statement from Executive Director Charles Brownstein here.

Banned Spotlight: Drama

One would think there wouldn’t be much controversy around a bestselling graphic novel about a middle school play — a graphic novel that includes no profanity, drug or alcohol use, or sexual content. But Raina Telgemeier’s acclaimed and immensely popular Drama has been on the hit lists of a number of would-be censors, who claim the book is offensive because it includes LGBTQ characters. Drama held the #3 spot on ALA’s top ten challenged books list in 2017, and it also had the dubious honor of appearing on the 2016 list for offensive political viewpoint and the 2014 list for being sexually explicit.

Callie, the protagonist of Drama, loves the theater, but she’s no singer, so she’s the set designer for her school’s production of Moon Over Mississippi. But she doesn’t know much about carpentry, and there’s no way she can afford Broadway production on a middle-school budget. Callie befriends two cute twin brothers: Justin, who is openly gay, and Jesse, who is still struggling with his sexual identity. In the course of the story, Jesse ends up assuming a female role in the play because the original actress cannot perform, and he shares a chaste kiss on stage with another male character.

Drama, which was published in 2012, won the Stonewall Honor and was nominated for a Harvey Award. It was listed as a Best Book of 2012 by School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, and The Washington Post. The New Times and Booklist included it on their Editor’s Choice lists, and NPR named it a great summer read for teens.

Drama has been banned on multiple occasions in Texas. The state ACLU releases an annual banned books report, usually in conjunction with Banned Books Week. In the 2016-17 school year, Drama was the only banned book in the Texas ACLU’s findings. It was removed from the Franklin Independent School District. It was also banned from Chapel Hill Elementary in Mount Pleasant in 2014-15, as well as Kirbyville Middle School in 2015-16.

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has also helped defuse a number of potential challenges to the book and provides resources in support of it:

Find more of ALA OIF’s top ten challenged and banned lists here.