GLSEN Washington State’s Statement Concerning Book Banning in Schools:
February 1, 2022
We have seen a number of reports from Washington State and across the country about books with LGBTQ+ themes being banned (or attempted to be banned) in schools. Censorship of books, just for containing LGBTQ+ content, silences LGBTQ+ students and is detrimental to all students. In response, we want to express how important it is for students to be able to see themselves reflected in books and curricular resources. LGBTQ+ representation in books (both fiction and nonfiction) benefits all students by:
Exposing them to more inclusive and accurate accounts of history.
Helping them have better understanding of LGBTQ+ people.
Encouraging them to question stereotypes about LGBTQ+ people.
And benefits LGBTQ+ students by:
Validating their existence and experiences
Reinforcing their value and self-worth.
Providing space for their voices.
Including LGBTQ+ books in libraries, especially school libraries, is a vital way to make such representation available to students.
Based on GLSEN’s National Climate Survey (https://www.glsen.org/research/2019-national-school-climate-survey), only 19.4% of LGBTQ+ students report being taught positive representation of LGBTQ+ people, history, or events in their schools. When students are not getting what they need in the classroom, libraries become an even more important resource. Yet, just under half of students (48.9%) reported that they could find information about LGBTQ-related issues in their school library. In addition, the survey found that students with LGBTQ-inclusive curriculums at their schools experienced lower levels of victimization and a greater sense of belonging. 66.9 % of students with an inclusive curriculum report that their classmates were somewhat or very accepting of LGBTQ+ people. In contrast, it was only 37.9% among students without one.
After decades of research, GLSEN has identified access to inclusive curriculum as one of the Four Core Supports that improves school climates for LGBTQ+ youth, along with comprehensive nondiscrimination and anti-bullying policies, supportive educators, and access to GSAs (Gender and Sexuality Alliances or Gay-Straight Alliances).
To help ensure LGBTQ+ representation in schools, GLSEN Washington participates in the Rainbow Library Project. The Rainbow Library Project is an initiative that sends free LGBTQ+ affirming books sets to k-12 schools and libraries across Washington State! These books are divided up by grade level and are written by a diverse range of authors. You can learn more and request a Rainbow Library through this link: https://www.rainbowlibrary.org/washington. Learn more information about Rainbow Library below and how to donate to GLSEN Washington State to ensure all schools who apply can receive a box of books.
School libraries are extremely important and having LGBTQ+ representation in books available in libraries is crucial.
Feel free to use the link below to Purchase some "Queer Books Save Lives" swag. The monies raised from this will be used toward purchasing books for our Rainbow Library program to ensure LGBTQ+ age-appropriate books go into school libraries.