Should Certain Books be Banned?


Following parent complaints, Orange County School authorities are investigating three current OCS books to see if they should be kept or removed; at least two of the novels feature LGBTQ characters.

When students in Orange County started school this fall, they found their library shelves stocked with new collections of books.

The “diverse library” program, which was implemented in elementary and high schools throughout the Northern Carolina school district, was designed to introduce kids to stories about young people from other cultures, races, and religions. Some of the books featured LGBTQ characters, including Heather Has Two Mommies for elementary school children and Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out for high school students.

The books meant that gay, queer, and transgender students could see themselves represented in the stories they read, according to LGBTQ organizations. But to some parents, the books amounted to “sexual propaganda.”

According to the American Library Association, “More than 273 titles were challenged or banned in 2020” nationwide. There are many reasons why books are banned or censored in schools, libraries, and bookstores. Reasons: about and/or encouraging racism towards one or more groups of people. Some books have also been deemed too negative or depressing and have been banned or censored. LGBTQ books shouldn’t be a reason why they should be banned. They help students learn more and find themselves. For some, those books are the only thing they feel close to and can relate/agree with. We can’t take that away from those students. 

LGBTQ books can help students because the stories and books educate and inform, they can also portray a path in life that LGBTQ readers may not have thought possible. The history of LGBTQ literature is not widely known or taught; therefore, we should change that and make sure people know what it’s like and learn more to help support it.

LGBTQ identities are becoming more accepted in schools around the country. Maryland is one of the first states to design a curriculum that incorporates lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender history. This year, some schools voted to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of classes protected by the system’s anti-discrimination policy. But attempts to make schools more LGBTQ+ friendly have prompted a wave of backlash in districts such as Orange County.

The collection of books was not required reading and was not part of the formal curriculum. Students in primary and high schools were simply given access to them in their own classrooms.

The majority of the books are about people of many races, cultures, languages, and religions. Only a small percentage of them deal with topics such as disabilities, sexual orientation, and gender identity.