TL;DR: There have been widespread reports of countries and school districts around the world ‘cracking down’ on LGBTQIA+ books, films and other works. Here’s why the idea of LGBTQIA+ propaganda is nonsense.
There has been a disconcerting slew of bans against queer art over the holiday season.
Moscow libraries pulled books by Stephen Fry and Haruki Murakami, fearing repercussions from Russia’s LGBTQIA+ ‘propaganda’ laws - iNews
Turkey’s Culture Ministry demanded its funding be returned after thriller film Kurak Günler (“Burning Days”) was dubbed “LGBT propaganda” - HyperAllergic
An investigation has been launched into a Texas school district, after its superintendent told libraries to remove all LGBTQIA+ literature from shelves - Washington Examiner
US journalist Judd Legum has published records which report Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law being used to remove books with LGBTQIA+ characters from school libraries - Judd Legum
A Texas lawmaker has introduced a version of Florida’s homophobic law in his state, which would restrict schools teaching or discussing LGBTQIA+ issues - Advocate
Why is this happening?
The idea of ‘LGBTQIA+ propaganda’ is based on the dangerous notion that people can be taught or influenced into being queer.
Common arguments include children not being ‘old enough’ to read about LGBTQIA+ identities, or those identities being explicitly sexual in all depictions.
One report found that between July 2021 and March 2022, 1,648 titles were banned across the United States.
Russia’s ‘gay propaganda’ law effectively bans all art depicting LGBTQIA+ people.Unfortunately, the campaigns to stop queer people being depicted in literature and other media don’t appear to be slowing down - Forbes
Like many homophobic lines of thought, the concept of LGBTQIA+ propaganda is rooted in the same homophobic arguments that are rolled out decade after decade.
The only reasons for banning queer books are:
- The belief that being LGBTQIA+ a bad thing, and is also contagious
- The belief that LGBTQIA+ identities are inherently sexual or explicit
- The belief that queer people are “groomers” or predatory
The only reason to be afraid of queer art is if you think queerness is inherently bad in some way.
These arguments all also forget that queer kids exist. For straight children, LGBTQIA+ characters offer lessons in difference and acceptance. For queer children, they’re a lifeline to show them that they’re not alone and that there’s nothing wrong with them.
Queer lives and queer art are not propaganda. They’re reflections of the world we all live in - and people need to learn to accept that.
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