Conservative lawmakers around the USA are focusing much of their energy on restricting the rights of the LGBTQ+ and other marginalized communities. These politicians have been trying to subvert these communities with disruptions of the culture surrounding them. One of their primary takedown methods? Banning famous books.
There are many books new and old which discuss LGBTQ+ topics, and conservatives are making attempts to ban incredible literary classics, along with new educational commentary. But this is no new tactic. Conservative parents have long been complaining to schools about their children reading books with even a mention of sexuality, race or gender-based conflict.
This issue doesn’t just affect LGBTQ+ stories, but also those of other marginalized groups. Many of those often contested by parents are considered some of the best writings in literary history. These include:
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Perhaps one of the most iconic books on this list. The Color Purple raises eyebrows among conservatives for its central themes which include race, sexuality, and abuse. This book is often read and analyzed in schools and used as an educational tool.
Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
This 1976 narrative is about vampire Louis de Pointe du Lac, who tells the story of his life to a reporter. Themes in the novel are often considered pornographic and have been perceived by some as “homoerotic” according to Vox.
All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson
A young adult “memoir-manifesto” published in 2020, Johnson’s work is a collection of essays that detail his life as a queer Black man growing up in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The New York Times called it an “exuberant, unapologetic memoir infused with a deep but clear-eyed love for its subjects.”
Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
This banned book received a lot of media attention this year when it saw its debut on Amazon Prime. The main characters and love interests went viral for their steamy chemistry. This book follows a love story between two boys from high profile political families as they try to keep their romance a secret. Naturally, conservatives want it banned simply because the couple is gay.
Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe
Maia Kobabe’s graphic memoir “Gender Queer” became one of the most widely banned books in the country after it was published in 2019. After a few years, the book grew in popularity and began to face backlash from conservatives, leading it to become the “most challenged book in the United States,” according to the American Library Association.
Other famous novels banned for progressive themes include
Beloved by Toni Morrison
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee