For Pride month, Chalkbeat wants to celebrate diverse LGBTQ+ identities and experiences by exploring the power of representation in literature, especially at a time when educators face new limits on the types of stories they can share in the classroom.
Efforts to ban books considered obscene or divisive are censoring the narratives of racial and LGBTQ+ identities, according to Pen America, an organization that advocates for freedom of expression. The discussion of critical race theory, an academic framework that examines how policies and the law perpetuate systemic racism, has led to 36 states enacting legislation that restricts the teaching of race and racism. And restrictions like Florida’s recent “Don’t Say Gay” law prohibit lessons about gender and sexual identity in kindergarten through third grade. Florida’s law inspired other states to enact legislation that threatens to marginalize LGBTQ+ kids by restricting the teaching of LGBTQ+ issues in history and removing books with themes of sexuality and gender from school libraries.
But stories with diverse characters and themes help adolescents feel seen. Diverse literature is vital for kids’ personal development and identity formation, according to the Urban Libraries Council, as stories are mirrors in which people see reflections of themselves.
Chalkbeat wants to hear from students, teachers, and members of the LGBTQ+ community about what Pride means to you, how you think of your identity, and how diverse storytelling affects you.
Tell us: What is your favorite novel or short story featuring an LGBTQ+ narrative or character? We might include your suggestion in a book list.
We look forward to receiving your submissions on the form below; the deadline is Sunday, June 26, at the end of the day. Questions? We’re always listening at email@example.com.
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