The following is a list of some of the many books that have been banned and challenged because of their LGBTQ content and themes.

To read more about book challenges and bans check out the Kids’ Right to Read Project Report and the NCAC’s Book Challenges Report

For tips on how to respond to bans and challenges see NCAC’s Book Censorship Toolkit

And Tango Makes Three
By Justin Richardson and Henry Cole (Simon and Schuster)
And Tango Makes Three is based on the true story of two male penguins raising a chick in the Central Park Zoo. According the American Library Association it was the most challenged book of 2006, 2007 and 2008. One incident at a Loudoun County, Virginia elementary school involved the book’s removal from shelves in a decision by the local superintendent. There was an immediate backlash and many called for a reconsideration. Opponents of the book claimed that it promoted a ‘homosexual agenda.’ In another incident at a Southwick, Massachusetts elementary school, a librarian claimed she feared losing her job after introducing a class of second graders to the story. The librarian subsequently received a letter from her principal requesting that she ‘take [the] matter seriously and refrain from disseminating information that supports alternative styles of living,’ and that, ‘further infractions [could] result in discipline up to and including suspension and/or termination of employment.’ In a third incident, the book was ordered off bookshelves in one of North Carolina’s largest school districts in Charlotte in 2006.

Angels in America
By Tony Kushner (Broadway Play Publishing, Inc.)
Angels in America was challenged at Deerfield High School in Deerfield, Massachusetts after protests from a community member who objected to its sexual, religious and racial content, and public attacks made by a local organization that called the play ‘pornography.’ However, after a major outcry from students and other community members, including a student who wrote an op-ed, it was decided that the book would still be taught in the Deerfield AP English class.

Am I Blue? Coming Out of the Silence
By Marion Diane Bauer (Tricycle Press)
Am I Blue? Coming Out of the Silence was one of 55 books that parents in Fayetteville, Arkansas petitioned to have removed from school libraries. The parents formed Parents Protecting the Minds of Children and objected to the profane language and depictions of sexuality in the book. They also accused librarians and other opponents of their efforts of promoting a homosexual agenda. PPMC objected specifically to the book because of its gay content, as well as the fact that proceeds from the sale of the book went to Parents and Friends of Gays and Lesbians.

Annie on My Mind
By Nancy Garden (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Annie on My Mind was published first in 1982 amidst controversy because of its positive portrayal of the story’s gay protagonists. There have been several attacks on the book because it centers on two 17 year old girls exploring their sexual orientation, though there are no explicit sexual encounters in the novel. The book was also reportedly banned in some Kansas City schools.
The book was at the center of a high-profile 1995 case in which US District Court Justice Thomas Van Bebber ruled that the novel must be returned to high school libraries where it had been removed because it was educationally suitable.

Athletic Shorts
By Christopher Crutcher (HarperCollins)
Click here for the Kids’ Right to Read Project interview with Chris Crutcher.
Athletic Shorts was one of several books attacked in Vero Beach, Florida. Part-time librarian and graduate student Meagan Albright decided to focus on gay, lesbian, and transgendered themes as part of a University of South Florida course called Multicultural and Special Population Materials for Children and Young Adults and created a display honoring LGBTQ books and authors. Subsequent protest from three visitors to the library prompted attacks on the books, as well as a town ordinance prohibiting county government from acknowledging or promoting gay pride and events. Crutcher, a child therapist who brings the gritty realities of his patients to the page, is an often-banned and -challenged author and later claimed that it was, ‘An honor to be banned.’

Baby Be Bop
By Francesca Lia Block (HarperCollins)
Click here to view Kids’ Right to Read Project interview with Francesca Lia Block.
Baby Be Bop was one of 55 books that parents in Fayetteville, Arkansas petitioned to have removed from school libraries. The parents formed Parents Protecting the Minds of Children and objected to the profane language and depictions of sexuality in the book. They also accused librarians and other opponents of their efforts of promoting a homosexual agenda. PPMC objected specifically to Baby Be Bop because of its written style, saying ‘There are just plain too many teenager-aimed books nowadays that have this sort of choppy, half-conscious, half-delirious, not quite stream of consciousness style of writing.’
Baby Be Bop is also on a list of titles that a local group in West Bend, Wisconsin called West Bend Citizens for Safe Libraries objects to seeing in the local public library. In February, the group requested that the library board remove a page of recommended titles about LGBTQ issues for young people (including Baby Be Bop). They also demanded that the books be moved from the youth section of the library and placed with the adult collection, ‘to protect children from accessing them without their parents’ knowledge and supervision.’ The Christian Civil Liberities Union – Milwaukee branch filed legal suit against the city of West Bend claiming its elderly plantiffs were damaged mentally and emotionally by the book’s presence at the local public library. The claim seeks financial damages and the right to publically burn the library’s copy of Baby Be Bop.

Between Lovers
By Eric Jerome Dickey (Penguin)
Between Lovers was one of 55 books that parents in Fayetteville, Arkansas petitioned to have removed from school libraries. The parents formed Parents Protecting the Minds of Children and objected to the profane language and depictions of sexuality in the book. They also accused librarians and other opponents of their efforts of promoting a homosexual agenda. PPMC objects to this novel because of its depictions of infidelity.

The Bermudez Triangle
By Maureen Johnson (Penguin)
On March 4th, 2007, in Oklahoma, a book challenge against The Bermudez Triangle was submitted to the school board of Bartlesville Public Schools in Oklahoma. Someone felt that a book had “no moral fiber” and asked for it to be removed “at once.” The book chronicles the relationship between 3 female best friends and the trouble they run in to when 2 start to secretly date. The Bermudez Triangle was also challenged in the local Leesburg Public Library. Click here for the Kids’ Right to Read Project interview with Maureen Johnson.

Cheaters
By Eric Jerome Dickey (Dutton)
Cheaters was one of 55 books that parents in Fayetteville, Arkansas petitioned to have removed from school libraries. The parents formed Parents Protecting the Minds of Children and objected to the profane language and depictions of sexuality in the book. They also accused librarians and other opponents of their efforts of promoting a homosexual agenda. PPMC objected to this novel specifically because of its depictions of sex, particularly homosexual sex.

Coming Out in College: The Struggle for a Queer Identity
By Robert A. Rhoades (Bergin & Garvey)
Coming Out in College: The Struggle for a Queer Identity was one of 55 books that parents in Fayetteville, Arkansas petitioned to have removed from school libraries. The parents formed Parents Protecting the Minds of Children and objected to the profane language and depictions of sexuality in the book. They also accused librarians and other opponents of their efforts of promoting a homosexual agenda. PPMC objects to this book because it promotes gay pride and a rejection of heterosexism.

Daddy’s Roommate
By Michael Willhoite (Alyson Publications)
Daddy’s Roommate was on of several books that was challenged during the period of Sarah Palin’s inquiries into school libraries in the Wasilla region of Alaska. Palin complained that Daddy’s Roommate— a book that helps children understand homosexuality–did not belong in the Wasilla Public Library. When Laura Chase, Palin’s first mayoral campaign manager, asked if she had read the book, the mayor responded, “she didn’t need to read that stuff.” Chase told the New York Times that she found it ‘disturbing that someone would be willing to remove a book from the library and she didn’t even read it.’ The book has been banned in other circumstances for being age inappropriate and ‘promoting homosexuality.’

Dance on My Grave
By Alan Chambers (Doubleday)
Library Patrons of Texas, a conservative community group, attacked Dance on My Grave and 15 other LGBTQ or sex-themed books in the Montgomery, Texas library. Ultimately, none of the books were removed or restricted. The book tells the story of a 14 year old gay boy and his first gay relationships.

Doing It
By Melvin Burgess (Holt Henry & Co.)
Doing It was one of 55 books that parents in Fayetteville, Arkansas petitioned to have removed from school libraries. The parents formed Parents Protecting the Minds of Children and objected to the profane language and depictions of sexuality in the book. They also accused librarians and other opponents of their efforts of promoting a homosexual agenda. PPMC specifically objected to the novel because of its depictions of casual sex.

The Drowning of Stephan Jones
By Bette Greene (Laurel Leaf)
The Drowning of Stephan Jones was one of 4 books that drew complaints from a parent based on their LGBTQ content. The parent formally complained to Barron High School and despite recommendations from a specially convened committee, the District Administrator decided to ban two of the books immediately.  At its September 21, 1998 meeting the Board banned The Drowning of Stephan Jones indefinitely.

The Education of Harriet Hatfield
By May Sarton (WW Norton & Co)
The Education of Harriet Hatfield was removed from Mascenic Regional High School classrooms in New Ipswich, New Hampshire because of its lesbian protagonist. An English teacher was subsequently fired for refusing to remove the book. The book tells the story of a woman who opens a bookstore for women in a blue-collar neighborhood in Boston where she is viciously attacked for being a lesbian.

Eight Seconds
By Jean Ferris (Harcourt)
Eight Seconds is a story about how two high school friends realize that they are gay after a summer rodeo school. The characters are totally aware of the social challenges that they face but are determined to live with tolerance and compassion. Library Patrons of Texas was critical of the book’s depiction of homosexuality, objecting to passages like ‘Poor little yellow-assed cowbaby, can’t even fight your own battles. Need a pretty boyfriend to watch out for you.’ The group tried to have the book removed from Montgomery libraries.

Family Values
By Phyllis Burke (Vintage)
Family Values was one of 55 books that parents in Fayetteville, Arkansas petitioned to have removed from school libraries. The parents formed Parents Protecting the Minds of Children and objected to the profane language and depictions of sexuality in the book. They also accused librarians and other opponents of their efforts of promoting a homosexual agenda. PPMC specifically objected to the book’s discussion of gay parents.

Fun Home
By Alison Bechdel (Mariner, Houghton Mifflin)
Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home is a graphic novel memoir of the author’s childhood, particularly focused on her relationship with her closeted gay father Bruce. As Alison grows older and realizes that she is a lesbian, she and Bruce are both forced to confront how his repression may have affected her own self-image and the way that she dealt with her sexuality. Time magazine named it the best book of 2006, describing it as “a masterpiece about two people who live in the same house but different worlds, and their mysterious debts to each other.” The musical adaptation of Fun Home won the 2015 Tony Award for Best Musical. In 2018, two New Jersey parents requested that it be removed from the 12th grade honors curriculum because of its “sexually explicit nature.”

Gays/Justice: A Study of Ethics, Society and Law
By Richard D. Mohr (Colombia University Press)
Gays/Justice was one of 55 books that parents in Fayetteville, Arkansas petitioned to have removed from school libraries. The parents formed Parents Protecting the Minds of Children and objected to the profane language and depictions of sexuality in the book. They also accused librarians and other opponents of their efforts of promoting a homosexual agenda. PPMC objects to this book because it endorses stronger civil rights for gay people and opposes organized religion.

Geography Club
By Brent Hartinger (HarperCollins)
Geography Club has recently become one of the most banned and challenged books in the United States. It was banned in the author’s hometown of Tacoma, Washington. More recently, the book has come under fire in West Bend, Wisconsin, where community members object to its presence in the local library because of its ‘immoral’ gay content. Click here for the Kids’ Right to Read Project interview with Brent Hartinger.

George
By Alex Gino (Scholastic)
George tells the story a child who is born male and known to all as George, but identifies as female and prefers the name Melissa. The book details how Melissa comes out to her best friend, and eventually to others, through the help of a school play. Five elementary schools in eastern Oregon withdrew from an annual statewide ‘Battle of the Books’ competition because of the inclusion of George in the reading list. The book carries an age recommendation of grades 3-7 and the schools’ principals argued it was not appropriate for their third-to-fifth grade students who would be participating in the competition.

GLBTQ: The Survival Guide for Queer and Questioning Teens
By Kelly Huegel (Free Spirit)
GLBTQ: The Survival Guide for Queer and Questioning Teens was one of 55 books that parents in Fayetteville, Arkansas petitioned to have removed from school libraries. The parents formed Parents Protecting the Minds of Children and objected to the profane language and depictions of sexuality in the book. They also accused librarians and other opponents of their efforts of promoting a homosexual agenda. PPMC specifically objected to this book because it discusses transgender teens and provides online resources about being gay.

Good Moon Rising
By Nancy Garden (Farrar Straus & Giroux)
Library Patrons of Texas targeted author Nancy Garden’s books, including Good Moon Rising. The book is considered objectionable by the group because it presents homosexuality in a non-judgmental context.

Growing Up Gay in America
By Jason R. Rich (Franklin Street Books)
Local residents reported that there had been several challenges to books in the St. Louis Public library, including Growing Up Gay in America, by a community member who deemed the book and others to be ‘obscene’ and spoke against the books at a city council meeting.

Hey Dollface
By Deborah Hautzig (Bantam)
Library Patrons of Texas attempted to remove this book from Montgomery libraries because it tells the story of two girls’ friendship and blossoming sexuality. The book was reviewed along with several other titles, none of which were ultimately removed.

Holly’s Secret
By Nancy Garden (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Holly’s Secret was one of a few of Nancy Garden’s books to be challenged by the Library Patrons of Texas after the author became a target for the group. The book was considered objectionable because it presented homosexuality in a non-judgmental context and included phrases like ‘so what’s the big deal…who cares if your parents are both women’ and ‘I don’t care about your moms. At least you’ve got two parents. I wish I did.’

The Homo Handbook: Getting in Touch with Your Inner Homo
By Judy Carter (Simon & Schuster)
The Homo Handbook was one of 55 books that parents in Fayetteville, Arkansas petitioned to have removed from school libraries. The parents formed Parents Protecting the Minds of Children and objected to the profane language and depictions of sexuality in the book. They also accused librarians and other opponents of their efforts of promoting a homosexual agenda. PPMC specifically objected to the book because of its exploration of being gay and coming out of the closet.

Homosexuality: What Does it Mean?
By Julie K. Endersbe (Capstone)
Homosexuality: What Does it Mean? was one of several books contested in the St. Louis Public Library system because of objections to content. Community members who opposed the books tried to have the books put at restricted access. Click here to read Kids’ Right to Read Project letter opposing this challenge.

Iron Man
By Chris Crutcher (HarperCollins)
Iron Man was attacked in Vero Beach, Florida. Part-time librarian and graduate student Meagan Albright decided to focus on gay, lesbian, and transgendered themes as part of a University of South Florida course called Multicultural and Special Population Materials for Children and Young Adults and created a display honoring LGBTQ books and authors. Subsequent protest from three visitors to the library prompted attacks on the books, as well as a town ordinance prohibiting county government from acknowledging or promoting gay pride and events. The story includes an unexpected queer plot twist. Crutcher, a child therapist who brings the gritty realities of his patients to the page, is an often-banned and challenged author and later claimed that it was ‘An honor to be banned.’

It’s Perfectly Normal
Robie H. Harris (Random House)
It’s Perfectly Normal was restricted but later returned to general circulation in Holt Middle School library in Fayetteville, Arkansas due to complaints that it was sexually explicit, moved from the young adult to the adult section in Ford Bend County Library in Richmond, Texas, challenged but retained in the Montgomery County, Texas library system after the Republican Leadership Council characterized the book as ‘vulgar’ and trying to ‘minimize or even negate that homosexuality is a problem,’ challenged in a Holland, Massachusetts public library and challenged in a Marion County, Florida public library for sexually explicit content. It’s Perfectly Normal is a sex education book.

King and King
By Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland (Tricycle Press)
In 2004, King and King ignited controversy after first-grader Olivia Hartsell brought the book home on March 1 and her parents Michael and Tonya Hartsell complained to administrators at Rachel Freeman Elementary School in Wilmington, North Carolina. The Hartsells objected to the book’s acknowledgement of homosexuality and also of divorce (“When I was your age, I’d been married twice already,” the prince’s mother tells him, in encouraging him to find a mate). The Hartsells threatened to enroll their daughter in a different school and refused to return the book to the Freeman school library, for fear some other child might check it out. It was also challenged in a public library in Lower Macungie, Pennsylvania in 2007 by parents Eileen and Jeff Issa who requested the book’s removal due to its homosexual content. Their request was denied, prompting the Issas to appeal to the township supervisors who upheld the library’s decision in a 2-1 vote.

The Last of the Wine
By Mary Renault (Random House)
The Last of the Wine was attacked by a campaign accusing it of ‘encouraging a homosexual lifestyle.’ Objecting community members in Charlotte County, Florida and their supporters revile the book, which was used in an honors history class, but they also attempted to humiliate the teacher by calling him a “sexual predator” and accusing him of trying to “recruit” children to homosexuality. The school board supported the teacher and the novel.

Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin
By John D’Emilio (University of Chicago Press)
In May 2005, the Oklahoma House of Representatives passed a resolution calling on public libraries to remove children’s books with references to gay characters or families. In response, gay and lesbian civil rights groups in Oklahoma donated copies of Lost Prophet: The Life of Bayard Rustin and Stonewall: The Riot that Sparked the Gay Revolution to local high schools. The donation was met with conservative outcry but the Oklahoma City school board voted to permit the donation.

Making Sexual Decisions: The Ultimate Teen Guide
By L. Kris Gowen (Scarecrow Press)
A community member challenged Making Sexual Decisions: The Ultimate Teen Guide along with several other sex education books at the Daniel Boone branch of the St. Louis public library. The individual called the books ‘obscene’ and spoke against them at a city council meeting.

Maurice and The Education of Harriet Hatfield
By E. M. Forster (Penguin)
Maurice was among several books removed from a regional high school. The novels’ purchase was financed by a grant that teacher Penny Culliton received and was approved by the school superintendent and principal. However, shortly after a local newspaper reported that Culliton was involved with a lesbian and gay support group for young people, the books were found unsuitable and were banned. Maurice and The Education of Harriet Hatfield were seized from the students while they were reading the novels in class. Personal attacks on the teacher and demands for her dismissal were so vehement that her job was jeopardized.

My Father’s Scar
By Michael Cart (MacMillan)
Library Patrons of Texas, a conservative community group, attacked My Father’s Scar and 15 other gay or sexually-themed books in the Montgomery, Texas library. None of the books were removed or restricted. The book tells the story of a college student’s first gay relationship and his struggle with an alcoholic father and a prejudiced community. My Father’s Scar was also one of 55 books that parents in Fayetteville, Arkansas petitioned to have removed from school libraries. The parents formed Parents Protecting the Minds of Children and objected to the profane language and depictions of sexuality in the book. They also accused librarians and other opponents of their efforts of promoting a homosexual agenda. PPMC specifically objected to My Father’s Scar because of its depictions of homosexuality and sexual abuse.

My Heartbeat
By Garret Freymann-Weyr (Puffin)
My Heartbeat was attacked by Library Patrons of Texas who tried to have the book removed from their local libraries. The book is the story of a Manhattan teenager’s struggle with her sexual awakening and includes characters’ questioning sexuality and a queer secondary character.

The New Joy of Gay Sex
By Charles Silverstein
The New Joy of Gay Sex met various challenges including its being challenged at a Clifton, New Jersey library where the board voted to limit access to the book, keeping it hidden behind the circulation desk and requiring that patrons ask for it specifically by name. Additionally, a York Township woman in Medina County, Ohio quit her job as a librarian in protest over children being able to check out adult-oriented materials like The New Joy of Gay Sex. The library took no action maintaining that its policy was a parental responsibility to monitor which books children checked out.

Peter
By Kate Walker (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Peter is the story of Peter and David, two Australian teens who begin to explore their sexual identities. Library Patrons of Texas, a conservative community group, fought for the removal of the book from local libraries. “Not every troubled adolescent will have the good fortune of meeting a friend like David, but, with luck, many of them will find self-understanding and self-respect through reading wise and compassionate novels like this one,” said the School Library Journal.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
By Stephen Chbosky (Simon & Schuster)
The Perks of Being a Wallflower was one of 55 books that parents in Fayetteville, Arkansas petitioned to have removed from school libraries. The parents formed Parents Protecting the Minds of Children and objected to the profane language and depictions of sexuality in the book. They also accused librarians and other opponents of their efforts of promoting a homosexual agenda. PPMC objects to this book because of its depictions of gay sex.

Postcards from Noman’s Land
By Aiden Chambers (Dutton Books)
Postcards from Noman’s Land was attacked in Vero Beach, Florida. Part-time librarian and graduate student Meagan Albright decided to focus on gay, lesbian, and transgendered themes as part of a University of South Florida course called Multicultural and Special Population Materials for Children and Young Adults and created a display honoring LGBTQ books and authors. Subsequent protest from three visitors to the library prompted attacks on the books, as well as a town ordinance prohibiting county government from acknowledging or promoting gay pride and events. The story includes a character struggling with sexual identity.

Rainbow High and Rainbow Boys
By Alex Sanchez (Simon & Schuster)
Rainbow Boys was challenged by local community members at the Owen-Withee Junior and Senior High School in Wisconsin who described the book as pervasively vulgar and decried the book’s gay content. After a school board review, the book remained in the schools. Both Rainbow Boys and Rainbow High were on the list of 55 books that parents in Fayetteville, Arkansas petitioned to have removed from school libraries. The parents formed Parents Protecting the Minds of Children and objected to the profane language and depictions of sexuality in the book. They also accused librarians and other opponents of their efforts of promoting a homosexual agenda. PPMC specifically objects to these novels because of their depictions of gay teens and the use of profane language. Both novels have gay, male, teen protagonists and multiple queer characters.

Stonewall: The Riots that Sparked the Gay Revolution
By David Carter (St. Martin’s Press)
In May 2005, the Oklahoma House of Representatives passed a resolution calling on public libraries to remove children’s books with references to gay characters or families. In response, gay and lesbian civil rights groups in Oklahoma donated copies of Stonewall: The Riot that Sparked the Gay Revolution to local high schools. The donation was met with conservative outcry but the Oklahoma City school board voted to permit the donation.

Stuck Rubber Baby
By Howard Cruse (DC Comics)
Stuck Rubber Baby is a graphic novel about a young man coming to terms with his homosexuality in the Civil Rights era American south. Themes include homophobia, racism and gay identity. The novel was attacked by the Library Patrons of Texas, who objected to its inclusion in local libraries. They forced the reclassification of the book from Young Adult to Adult, but the book was not removed.

The Trouble With Babies
By Martha Freeman (Holiday House)
The Trouble With Babies was removed from the shelves of several public libraries because of a brief mention of an adopted child’s gay fathers. In one incident, a Pittsburgh-area mother demanded the book be removed from a public library because of its ‘homosexual agenda.’ Her protests ultimately succeeded. When he was asked to reissue the book without the homosexual references, author Freeman said, ‘I should be able to write what I want, without fear of censorship. That’s my version of America, for me and other writers.’