Books Banned for “Homosexual Content”

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An editorial in the reports that schools in Bedford County, VA have removed Totally Joe from elementary school libraries after a parent complained of inappropriate content.   The book is reportedly   not available in any county school or public library, and was removed after only one parent complained.

In 2006, Teaching Tolerance interviewed  author James Howe about Totally Joe and described the book this way:

As a sequel to 2001’s The Misfits, Howe’s newest, Totally   Joe, continues the tale of Joe Bunch, a charming, gay 7th-grader who faces a homophpbic bully and other challenges before coming out.

Howe says he noticed an increase in challenges to his books after  the 2004 Presidential election.   According to one report, the American Library Association’s list of  the top 10 banned books in 2005 included three books banned for  “homosexual content.”    That was the highest number  in a decade – until this year when four such books appeared in the top 10.

Without justifying the ugly homophobia underlying this censhorship, perhaps there is a silver lining if the backlash itself is responding to an actual increase in the number of  books – and children’s books in particular –  that portray homosexuality  in a natural and positive light.

-Kathleen  A.  Bergin      


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0 Responses to Books Banned for “Homosexual Content”

  1. Ralph M. Stein says:

    If these books are not available in libraries, school and public, about the only kids who will see them are those who have parents comfortable with gays and lesbians. That’s not where the problems are.