Schools and Learning

Bowing To Christian Nationalists, An Ark. School District Has Banned Two LGBTQ-Themed Books

  Rob Boston

LGBTQ-Themed Books Banned

A recent meeting of the Conway, Ark., Board of Education captured national attention because of some appalling statements put forth by an attendee.

Cal Paulson, identified in news accounts as a preacher in the area, attacked LGBTQ people, telling the board, “God gave them over to a depraved mind so that they do what they should not be doing. They invent ways of doing evil, but let me remind you that those who do such things deserve death.”

The board disavowed the comments – but then went on to implement several policies that are harmful to LGBTQ youth and banned two books with LGBTQ themes. The books are “Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out,” which profiles six transgender or non-binary young adults, and “Felix Ever After,” a young adult novel about a transgender teen grappling with identity issues.

In voting to ban the books, the board ignored a district committee, which recommended keeping the tomes on the shelf.

As we noted Monday on this blog, public schools serve a diverse population of students. Policies that decimate the rights of certain young people or that remove literature and art that contain representations of them are in stark conflict with that goal.

The Conway board, like all school boards, needs to stop elevating the concerns of Christian nationalists and embrace the idea that it must represent the range of very real, very lived experiences that exist in its community. Returning those books would be an excellent way to start.

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