In a video posted to Instagram, Juno Dawson, author of This Book is Gay, responded to the ongoing crusade against LGBTQ+ literature, including protests at libraries in Ireland.
Quickly becoming one of the most banned pieces of queer literature in the United States, Dawson’s book has taken centre stage in various anti-LGBTQ+ incidents, including being named in a bomb threat against New York schools and protests against a library in Cork.
Staff at The Grand Parade Library in Rebel County have been subject to intimidation, verbal abuse and slurs from members of an anti-LGBTQ+ group. There have also been multiple Gardaí reports of people entering the library and protesting LGBTQ+ books, including destroying a copy of This Book is Gay.
Addressing the ongoing protests and book ban attempts in America and Ireland, Juno Dawson says: “I felt as a former teacher that sex education for LGBTQ teenagers wasn’t very good…They weren’t learning anything they needed to keep them safe and healthy when in adult relationships so I wanted to address that with This Book is Gay.”
She goes on to preface that the book does have a warning on it that it is geared towards teenagers because it does discuss sex and is, at times, explicit. The goal of the book is “to give young LGBTQ people hope,” she explains.
Along with This Book is Gay, Dawson is also the author of What’s The T?, Margot & Me and The Gender Games, some of which also face backlash for their LGBTQ+ themes.
At the end of her video, Dawson thanks “all the librarians and educators who are defending freedom of speech and the right for young LGBTQ+ people to see themselves in books,” adding, “Stand strong in full solidarity.”
I read "This Book Is Gay" last night and, as an aul' one who left school in the 1970s, I wasn't terribly shocked by any of the content. I can't help feeling that much of the outrage is coming from people whose own sex education was sorely lacking.
Visit the library – and read! pic.twitter.com/pcwZqcQ7F3
— Bernie Linnane 🏳️⚧️ (@Berlinnaeus) April 7, 2023
Written in 2014, This Book is Gay discusses growing up LGBTQ+, love, dating, sex, safety and more. Chapter 1 of the book starts off with a welcome that reads, “There’s a long-running joke that, on ‘coming out,’ a young lesbian, gay guy, bisexual or trans person should receive a membership card and instruction manual. THIS IS THAT INSTRUCTION MANUAL.”
Despite being about the LGBTQ+ experience, the book also says it is meant for anyone, regardless of gender or sexual preference.
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