Heather might have two mommies, but if conservatives have their say, children won’t be able to read about them.
A new survey from YouGov shows that Republicanswidely support banning books with LGBTQ themes: More than half of Republicans (55 percent) say that elementary school students should not be allowed access to texts with queer or transgender characters. Slightly smaller percentages say that these books shouldn’t be allowed in middle schools (47 percent) or high schools (38 percent).
Alarmingly, one in five GOP supporters (21 percent) say that LGBTQ texts shouldn’t be included in any library.
Conservatives were also more likely than other political groups to oppose books containing witchcraft, wizardry, or explicit racism. Forty-one percent of Republicans claimed that books likeHarry Pottershould be banned from elementary schools. Meanwhile, 57 percent of right-wing respondents were against young students checking outThe Adventures of Huckleberry FinnandTo Kill a Mockingbird, which contain explicit racial language.
In contrast to right-wing support for book bans, Democrats widely claimed that books with LGBTQ themes should be permitted for all ages. Forty-nine percent of liberal respondents opposed any such restrictions.
These findings support other recent surveys showing that the party which purports to champion “free speech” does not apply that ethic consistently.
While 70 percent of conservativesclaimed in a Cato Institute pollthat “people should be allowed to express unpopular opinions in public, even those that are deeply offensive to other people,” half of Republicans support limiting the freedom of the press. Fifty percent claimed that newspapers, magazines, and broadcast news media have “too much freedom.”
Given these myriad findings, it’s perhaps unsurprising that LGBTQ books are some of the most likely to be censored by conservative forces.
Titles with queer and trans characters regularly top the lists of most-banned books in public schools. I Am Jazz, a memoir from transgender teen Jazz Jennings, placed at number three on the 2016 list. Other frequently banned paperbacks include Susan Kuklin’s Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, and David Levithan’s Two Boys Kissing.
In 2014, South Carolina Republicanseven attempted to yank fundingfrom the University of South Carolina Upstate and the College of Charleston for teaching LGBTQ texts in the classroom.