130 books with LGBTQ topics removed from Texas school libraries

Empty bookcase – Photo: Matthew Hurst.

In early January 2022, a school district superintendent in Texas became truly dedicated to the anti-LGBTQ movement that swept through US state legislatures, ordering district librarians to permanently remove approximately 130 books from their shelves – more than 75% of them contained LGBTQ characters or themes.

Granbury Independent School District Superintendent Jeremy Glenn gave the order during a confidential meeting with district librarians on January 10.

A recording of the meeting obtained by NBC News, ProPublica and The Texas Grandstand revealed the content of the meeting and the reasoning behind his directive. Glenn, following the arguments of many Texas officials when the books were banned, told librarians he didn’t want kids “reading how to sexually connect in our libraries,” whether the book was about “homosexuality or of heterosexuality”.

His comments at the reunion went much further — and were much more explicitly hateful — than that argument. He pointed out to the librarians that the community, the school board members and the district were all “very, very conservative” and that if the librarians had different political views, they “better hide it.”

Glenn continued, “And I’m going to go deeper with you. Specifically, what we’re getting at, let’s call it what it is, and I’ll cut to the chase on a lot of things. It’s transgender, LGBTQ, and sex—sexuality—in the books. That’s why the governor said he would sue people, and that’s what we’re taking back.

With the support of the school board behind Glenn, the librarians, regardless of their opinions, had no choice but to comply with the order and removed approximately 130 books for “revision”.

Currently, a “volunteer review board” has voted to ban three of the books and return the others. But since it is only a committee made up of volunteers, the vote has no real weight. Ultimately, the decision to return the books rests with Glenn or the school board.

It seems like this is just the start of Glenn’s crusade against LGBTQ books. Under this policy, there is no public review process to review the removal of a book. Glenn and “other admins” will be given carte blanche to remove all books related to LGBTQ issues.

This isn’t Glenn’s first foray into speaking out publicly against LGBTQ people. While serving as the superintendent of another Texas school district in 2014, Glenn was a contributing author — along with other “education professors” — to a book that outright condemned LGBTQ issues forcing their way into schools. schools.

This latest action to ban the books as a way to prevent students from being exposed to LGBTQ topics has not gone unopposed. Students at the Granbury Independent School District have launched a petition, which has so far garnered over 600 signatures, calling for the returned books to be removed.

The purge also appears to have extended to books dealing with racism or race-related topics, under the auspices of banning material related to so-called “critical race theory” or espousing views critical of race. regard to the United States or its history, as well as topics such as sex education, abortion, and women’s rights.

The ACLU Texas published a letter in February, declaring Glenn’s actions unconstitutional, demanding that they be reversed.

“Mass book deletions from Granbury ISD have already harmed students in the district, both by directly suppressing speech and access to ideas and by sending the message to Black, Brown and LGBTQ+ students that Granbury ISD rejects their history and their belonging to the community,” the letter reads. “All removed books should be returned to Granbury ISD shelves as quickly as possible, and the district should revert to its previous policy for challenging library books and disbanding its newly created Library Review Board.”

Colin L. Johnson