(Daily Caller News Foundation) – The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), a nationally known LGBTQ activist organization, encourages teachers and librarians to defy state laws banning sexually explicit books in school libraries, according to an organization document.
GLSEN’s “Rainbow Library” program provides “LGBTQ+ affirming K-12 text sets” and is established in 5,800 schools and libraries across 31 states, according to a 2022-2023 school year request form. For teachers that are concerned about “laws banning LGBTQ+ affirming books from public schools” or similar policies within their district, GLSEN advises educators that they should still bring the Rainbow Library to their school.
“I work in a state with laws banning LGBTQ+ affirming books from public schools (or a district with similar anti-LGBTQ policies). Should I still apply for a Rainbow Library?,” the request form states.
“Yes, you should still request a Rainbow Library!” the response on the request form states. “U.S. public school students have a constitutional right to access books that affirm BIPOC [black, indigenous, people of color] and LGBTQ+ people. We have sent hundreds of Rainbow Library sets to schools in states and districts with unconstitutional, discriminatory anti-LGBTQ book censorship policies, and have heard countless stories of the positive impacts these books have for students. A public school that denies its students access to a book because it contains LGBTQ+ affirming content violates that student’s constitutional rights, and puts itself at risk for federal investigations and civil rights lawsuits.”
GLSEN offers tips on how to respond to censorship to its “Rainbow Library” participants, noting that the educator should gather members of the community to speak at school board meetings in support of the initiative, according to the organization website.
“If a member of school or district leadership attempts to ban a Rainbow Library book, explain that the First Amendment protects every student’s right to read books with LGBTQ+ characters and history,” GLSEN’s website states.
GLSEN does not list on its website what books are included in its Rainbow Library program for the 2022-2023 school year, though several sexually explicit books were previously included, according a GLSEN 2021 workshop on the initiative.
A few books that were once included in the Rainbow Library, according a GLSEN 2021 workshop on the initiative, appear to be “When Aidan Became A Brother,” a children’s book about a young girl who decides she is actually a boy, “I Am Jazz,” a picture book about a boy who knew he was transgender when he was 2-years-old, and “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” a memoir about the experience of a black queer boy growing up which does not contain graphic images but describes graphic sexual encounters.
“He reached his hand down and pulled out my dick,” “All Boys Aren’t Blue” states. “He quickly went to giving me head. I just sat back and enjoyed it as I could tell he was, too.”
Another book once included in the Rainbow Library, according to a GLSEN 2021 workshop on the initiative, was “Felix Ever After” a story about a transgender teen falling in love which contains sexually explicit and nude scenes, once mentioning a “hard-on.”
Lawmakers throughout the country are pushing for laws that prohibit sexually explicit content and inappropriate lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity in the classroom; in Florida, schools removed more than 100 books during the 2022-2023 school year that contain sexually explicit material in an effort to comply with state law. Republican Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a piece of legislation in May prohibiting lessons on gender identity and sexual orientation from K-6 public and charter school classrooms.
GLSEN came under scrutiny in May after its 10-year partnership with Target resurfaced following the retail corporation’s release of LGBTQ pride merchandise that includes “tuck-friendly” swimsuits. The retail corporation has donated more than $2.1 million to GLSEN.
“Because federal constitutional protections supersede any local policies or state laws that undermine these rights, when laws conflict, it is the responsibility of school district staff to uphold students’ federal constitutional rights,” the registration form states..
GLSEN did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.