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Censorship

Two Kansas City School Districts are Removing Books By Queer Authors

Modern classics of queer literature are being deliberately removed from libraries within two Kansas City school districts in an alarming attack on free speech and access. In both the North Kansas City School District libraries as well as Liberty Public School libraries, two books by queer authors were deemed “inappropriate” after the filing of an anonymous complaint. The books in question? Alison Bechdel’s award-winning 2008 graphic novel “Fun Home,” and George M. Johnson’s 2020 personal essay collection “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” currently in development at Gabrielle Union’s I’ll Have Another productions. 

Unfortunately, it’s not just Kansas City that’s taken up the habit: Johnson’s book, along with other queer-authored selections like Jonathan Evison’s “Lawn Boy,” are being deliberately targeted and review-bombed on sites like Barnes & Noble and Amazon:

That’s not all: in the Northland Parent Association Facebook group, a post shared by the similarly-conservative group Clay County Missouri Conservative reveals an Excel sheet list of all the books being deemed “pornogpraphy” by concerned parents. These include Toni Morrisson’s 1996 National Book Foundation Medal-winning novel “The Bluest Eye”, Echo Brown’s “Black Girl Unlimited,” August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Fences,” and Kiese Laymon’s Carnegie Medal-winning debut, “Heavy.” Are we sensing a pattern?

Olympic medalist and track star Carl Lewis called it like it is:

“Despite having procedures in place to address complaints against questionable literature and other material,” the Kansas City Star reports, “North Kansas City school officials immediately pulled the books and began a review process to determine if the works were suitable for high school students. The district’s book selection and check-out processes are also under review.”

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