Reviews | Banning LGBTQ books isn’t just stupid and ineffective, it’s cruel beyond measure

Across the country, an ongoing education controversy has erupted around homosexuality.

Conservatives and fascists have baselessly accused homosexuals of pedophilia, obscenity and pornography for over a century.

Republicans in Florida and other states moved to eliminate any mention of homosexual people public schools. Drag Queen Story Hours were embraced by libraries but opposed by conservatives, some deploying vicious slogans like “kill your local pedophile.”

It’s horrifying but not surprising in a country where more than a third of adults now say they support banning books with stories about transgender youth. That’s exactly what school districts across the country are doing, with far-right activists even close the libraries at do the same.

If you feel like you’ve been seen before, you’re not alone. Conservatives and fascists baselessly accused homosexuals of pedophilia, obscenity and pornography for After one century. But what is everyone afraid of?

One possibility is that they fear their children will choose to live as a trans person. According to the thinking, if gay people and stories are censored, children will not grow up gay. It is a predictable logic, but also ineffective and cruel.

I know because that’s the kind of system I grew up in.

I grew up on military bases in a Southern Baptist family. I didn’t know any trans people. Adults around me would refer to trans people with words like “shim” or say “he’s not male or female, he’s a that”. Mainstream movies and shows like Ace Ventura, Little NickyReno 911 and a million others taught me that “men in women’s clothes” were objects of contempt and disgust.

I tried looking for information about trans people, but couldn’t find anything in my school library or other community libraries — and the online tools at those institutions filtered out queer content. I told the therapists I felt uncomfortable with my gender, but they said it was a temporary phase because my dad was deployed overseas.

My natal puberty progressed, giving me facial hair, a height of six and a half feet and a deep voice. I hated every inch of my huge hairy body. When my desperation drove me to self-harm, another therapist insisted it was a phase.

I still remember the first time I read an article about a trans person who wasn’t made fun of in the famous “Transgender tipping point2014 issue of Time magazine. I was 22. I started my transition almost exactly 8 months later.

It’s a tough life. The size of my body and the height of my voice take me away from the “passibility” of trans celebrities with infinite money. Nothing can shrink my height, voice surgeries are ridiculously expensive, and my (very good) health insurance doesn’t cover facial hair removal.

Since I cannot hide my transsexuality, I am constantly exposed to transphobia whenever I am in public or applying for a job. And I always face the constant dysphoria.

My body and my pain are a consequence of censorship. It shouldn’t be like this.

If I had access to books like Imogen Binnie NevadaT Cooper’s Real Man Adventuresor Jazz Jenning’s Be Jazz, I might have known enough to demand treatment sooner, or at least understand my needs better. My life would be safer and less painful in so many ways today.

Your own child, or that of your neighbour, could be in the same situation as me. They deserve a chance to learn more about trans people so they can save themselves from a life of consequences. They deserve your help to make sure no one takes away their opportunity to learn that they might be trans.

So speak up for public access to queer literature in your community at library boards, school boards, and town halls. Don’t let the book engravers erase queer history from under our noses Again.

About Marcia G. Hussain

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