LGBTQ-themed book removed from New Jersey high school library

The Rancocas Valley School Board in Mt. Holly, New Jersey, chose to remove one of the three challenged books at its meeting on May 4. Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology and two other books were challenged because they appear on a list of books on GLBTQ themes created by the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN).

The objectors say they’re not hostile to gay-themed material, only to books that “sexualize” children. But that’s hard to square with other statements that they oppose all books on the GLSEN list. In a joint letter with the National Council of Teachers of English, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, and others, NCAC addressed the widespread misunderstanding about the grounds for removing materials from public school libraries, saying

There is no question that these books are not obscene. Whatever members of the community may think about them, the books have socially redeeming value because they inform the reader about the experience of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and questioning (GLBTQ) youth. Indeed, two of these books are collections of contributions by teens and young adults reflecting on their own real life experiences.

Lambda Legal also joined the effort with their own letter specifically addressing public schools’ interests and obligations to protect LGBTQ students’ safety and wellbeing. Removing those titles not only puts openly LGBTQ students at risk for social disapproval, but also threatens their access to information relevant to their lives. The library is there so that students can explore books based on their own interests, experiences, and family values, and is the place where many different view-points should be able to co-exist.

This victory may embolden these folks and others to try to remove books on the GLSEN list from other schools and libraries. NCAC is keeping a close watch on the situation and will keep you updated on any future developments.

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5 Responses to LGBTQ-themed book removed from New Jersey high school library

  1. JustSayin' says:

    Forum Magazine is also a collection of contributions by individuals…..don’t see that in the library. Hustler Magazine is…after all, how many young men explored their sexuality. You good with that?

    Face it, your promoting an agenda, and this time you went too far with a book that clearly crosses the line. You got caught.

    You see, you folks are missing the point. Your organization, or any other for that matter, is not the arbitrator of what is appropriate for our kids and what is not. The community is. Problem is, you’re just not used to being challenged by the rest of the sheep in America. Times are changing.

    When you make statements like “There is no question that these books are not obscene”, you show a contempt for the local community. The people who wanted this book out of school petitioned their elected officials and, with the advice of an attorney I’m sure, made a decision to remove it. Therefore, it is now obscene at RV High. School which makes your statement inaccurate if not irrelevent.

    You want to haul this into court….that is your right. It would also be the right of the parents who wanted the child porn removed from the school. See that’s the way the system works. Not by you pouting that “CENSORSHIP is upon us and we a WATCHING”.

    That’s right. “There is no question that the revolutionary voices book is child porn”. That’s my opinion. If you want to share kiddie porn with your kids, knock yourself out.

    Nice to know that my community still has some decency left in it despite your best efforts to the contrary.

    • katie says:

      No kidding, they’re “showing contempt for the local community.” Why should that come as a surprise? The local community is contemptible. Perhaps the people who wanted the book removed did petition their local officials, but no one gave any consideration to the people who wanted to read the book, to learn from the book, to grow from the book. That sort of close-mindedness is contemptible, no matter how you slice it. I don’t see why you’re so shocked. I also don’t see why having an agenda surprises you. It’s the National Coalition Against Censorship. Their agenda is anti-censorship. Duh.

      The fact of the matter is, people’s voices are being suppressed. The LGBTQ children in that particular community now have access to fewer books dealing with their own set of identity interests, issues, and experiences. Not only that, but the well-adjusted, straight kids that you’re so dead-set on protecting are also being suppressed by a restriction of access to learn about a different set of experiences than their own. That mindset is only hurting children by limiting them, restricting them, stifling their growth and exploration. A world, a town, a library with one less book is a place with fewer ideas. We need books to learn and grow. And frankly, if anyone should read one, particularly a pornographic one, it’s you.

  2. Maryann Lange says:

    I can tell you haven’t read the book just the rhetoric. Well I have read the book and the objections lie within the stories mostlt written by adults not kids. Yes kids wrote stories too. It’s the adult submitter and their contents that were the problems.

  3. George DeCarlo says:

    The bigotry and hate just never stops in New Jersey no matter how many lawsuits and laws are passed and all the lives damaged. The religious right has taken control of politics and placed itself firmly in the conservative movement which would have rejected such a sickening diversion many years ago. BUT do not think that the various religions of hate have not influenced more liberal sectors, too.

    My civil union spouse, Ryan Reyes, has a writing in it now been banned in the State of Hate. I wonder if he could file a complaint with the Division on Civil Rights. Perhaps not since free speech is dead in the United States. Glenn Beck is just one of many lieutenants in the rise of fascism in America.

    George DeCarlo

    Ryan Reyes can be contacted at 908-405-2157 (c) rize081476@yahoo.com
    Ryan’s picture is among the others on the cover.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolutionary_Voices

  4. Pingback: It’s not about the children: “Revolutionary Voices” pulled from public library « Blogging Censorship

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